It’s tough being a Republican multilateralist, but in my view, World Bank President Robert Zoellick is pulling it off. Bob Davis at the Wall Street Journal seems to agree.
Today, is Zoellick’s 100th day since succeeding his embattled predecessor and now AEI Visiting Scholar Paul Wolfowitz. Zoellick will be giving his sense of what has been accomplished and what challenges lie ahead in a major speech today at noon EST at the National Press Club. I’ll be there.
Some of his critics — particularly the economic purists who have zero sense of the benefits of an effective multilateral system — fail to get that an effective World Bank and international financial architecture can not only span the interests of the rising developing powers like China and India — as well as the developed nations — and the poorest nations — but also build economic structures that are mutually supportive and help move struggling countries up the development ladder.
As Bush’s former US Trade Representative, Zoellick knows that the political-economic challenge of the World Bank is to deploy a strategy that incorporates developed, middle income, and the poorest nations. From an interview I did with him recently at the Clinton Global Initiative — and which I will soon post — I know that Zoellick believes this is the case for the World Trade Organization as well.
As one senior international finance official said to me:
Developing an economic strategy that ties together the common interests of developed, developing and the poorest nations is what Zoellick is trying to do — but the Meltzers of the world never took the course on creating a multilateral system after World War II and the Stiglitz’s are too preoccupied with their self-appointed status as tribunes of the plebes.
I’ll report back more after the Zoellick speech.
— Steve Clemons