Hawk with a Hearth

The nomination of Paul Wolfowitz – presently US Deputy Secretary of Defense – to be the new head of the World Bank has not been met with universal acclaim.

That’s understandable. The public image of him across the world is the image of a man driving the invasion of Iraq and belligerent US rhetoric in other cases as well.

Invading other countries is not seen as a core business for the World Bank, and his qualifications are accordingly questioned.

But I’m convinced that Paul will be an excellent head of the World Bank. He is far more of an open-minded intellectual than most people are aware of, has dealt extensively with issues of development not the least in Southeast Asia, and would bring both new political gravitas and renewed intellectual strengths to the World Bank.

That he is deeply committed to the values of freedom and democracy, and the transformation of authoritarian and ossified regimes in that direction, can hardly be seen as anything but a plus.

5 Responses to Hawk with a Hearth

  1. Anonymous skriver:

    Public image is delivered by media, and thus almost all Swedes hailed, I forgot his name, Castro, yes but no… that fat palestinian.

  2. AndersJ skriver:

    Dear Carl et. al.,

    The Wolfowitz nomination should come as no surprise. After all, the other two candidates in the running, Bono and Carly Fiorina, could not be taken seriously, although the former might have done wonders to boost the Bank’s flagging popularity.

    In fact, the nomination is another example of the gauche, if not downright incompetent, diplomacy to which the Bush administration often lends itself. The absurdity of it is reminiscent of 1986, when the Reagan administration, exasperated at having to devote itself to something as inconsequential as nominating a president for the Socialist World Bank, dragged a former senator out of retirement, only to have him mismanage the Bank for years and squander billions of dollars (I guess they regarded anyone who actually KNEW anything about the World Bank as a potential subversive force). Barber Conable.

    Admittedly, Wolfowitz is very intelligent and knowledgeable. He is a good speaker and even served as ambassador to Indonesia. In fact, given the benefit of the doubt, he may even do a good job. But the problems with his nomination are serious.

    – His strong association with the war in Iraq and the concomitant scandals are undeniably anathema to most WB shareholders.
    – He was one of the prominent figures in arguing the false claim that Saddam hat WMD, thus duping the US and the world.
    – He is under intense attack internally for his ludicrously ”rosy” assessments of the war.
    – He has no expertise in development economics – the task of the Bank, and
    – His nomination will, clearly, exacerbate the alienation that much of the world feels against the US.

    Leaving aside the consideration that the Bank’s manager carries the responsibility for hundreds of millions of people in the third world and should, as Annan concurred, have considerable experience in development – this is a highly sensitive diplomatic position. If the Bush administration is keen to repair relations with the rest of the world, this is certainly not the way to do it.

  3. Per Stromsjo skriver:

    Hardly any US initiative is met with universal acclaim. That’s what leadership is all about: not waiting for universal acclaim.

  4. AndersJ skriver:

    Sorry, but alienating the rest of the world with firebrand appointments for UN ambassadorship and the head of the WB, both fora depending heavily on consensus, is closer to bullying than leadership. And the likely outcome is more likely stalemate than something productive. Basic diplomacy.

  5. Måns skriver:

    But you Carl, has had good conections with the Neo conservatives i the USA since long, right?


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