A while back, Washington Post columnist Sebastian Mallaby wrote a good piece on the qualities he thought the next World Bank president ought to have — and he disqualified a number of candidates who were in the news then. Here is my link to that discussion.
Mallaby is also given some credit, by James Wolfensohn anyway, for writing a book that may have preempted the current incumbent from getting another term. I’m pretty sure that Wolfensohn’s own efforts did himself in — but Mallaby’s touch may be needed to knock out another apparent contendor, Paul Wolfowitz.
Two days ago, the Financial Times reported that one of the high lords of neoconservatism, Paul Wolfowitz himself, was being considered to head the World Bank.
I wish I could report that this was a joke. But it’s serious. Wolfowitz will most likely be vetoed by the Europeans who would never easily accept tethering their aid money and financial commitments to Wolfowitzian ideology.
With Wolfowitz at the helm of “the Bank,” project and funding decisions would become corrupted by crass calculations of rewarding America’s friends in the developing worlds and kicking down those nations not in favor. His arrogance would be blind to the strengths the Japanese and Europeans have shown in recent years in development strategies and economics.
And his presence and management style might very well deepen frictions in the Bank’s executive committee so that multilateral institution ceases to operate in any effective sense as well.
But maybe that is the goal of the Bush crowd — undermine all of the multilateral institutions that matter; and reward neocons for taking America into a war that has punctured the mystique, and reality, of American power.
Let’s hope that Wolfowitz finds his way back to a teaching job — with very small classes.
— Steve Clemons
(ed. note: Thanks to LF for sending this.)