Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wolfowitz Nominated To Head World Bank ... Why?

Even President Bush struggled to provide a reason for nominating U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank.

"I've said he's a man of good experiences. He helped manage a large organization. The World Bank is a large organization; the Pentagon is a large organization -- he's been involved in the management of that organization," Bush said in a March 16 press conference.

Using that logic, Bush could have nominated George Steinbrenner. After all, he is a "man of good experiences" who "helped managed a large organization."

And Steinbrenner actually has some experience with managing money. Wolfowitz, with all his "good experiences" has no background in economics or economic development.


Although Bush didn't say it, critics of the Wolfowitz nomination say that given Wolfowitz's lack of economic development experience, they can only assume that Bush's gameplan is to tie economic development with politics development.

“As well as lacking any relevant experience, he is a deeply divisive figure who is unlikely to move the bank toward a more pro-poor agenda,” Patrick Watt, policy officer at British charity Action Aid, was quoted by the Associated Press.

American economist Jeffrey Sachs, who serves as an adviser on poverty issues to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told Radio Free Europe. "We need key positions in the world [to be] held by qualified people, like the World Bank. Millions of people depend on this position. So one candidate was nominated [with] no experience in development that I know of. It's time for other candidates to come forward that have experience in development."

Although Britain backed Wolfowitz's arguments for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, its endorsement of Wolfowitz was seen as weak. An official from the British government's Department for International Development responded to the news by saying that it is for the World Bank's board to decide on the appointment.


Of course, none of that criticism -- or a "no comment" from the United Nations -- matters much to the Bush administration or its conservative following. Bush has always employed a "my way or the highway" philosophy with Europe -- friendly with those that support his politics, cool to those who don't. There is no room for debate.

And that takes us back to all those "good experiences":

-- Wolfowitz was a leading advocate that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

-- Wolfowitz predicted Americans would be welcomed as liberators rather than occupiers once they toppled Saddam’s government.

-- Wolfowitz predicted that Iraq's oil revenues would pay for most or all of the costs of war.

-- Wolfowitz predicted that U.S. troop needs would be dramatically reduced after major combat ended.

Let's hope his track record for accurate predictions improves with the World Bank.


Wolfowitz's nomination must be approved by the World Bank's 24-member board. As the bank's largest shareholder, the United States has a major voice in that vote. Traditionally, Washington chooses the World Bank chief, while Europe selects the head of the International Monetary Fund.

If approved by the bank's board, Wolfowitz would replace James Wolfensohn, who is stepping down on June 1 when his second five-year term ends.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Wolfowitz was a member of any Democratic administration, instead of being promoted to head the World Bank, he would be ousted.
As the matter of fact, if Wolfowitz was an executive or board member of any legitimate corporation, he would also be shown the door for his demonstrated poor judgment and decision-making skills.
In fact, I don't think this guy has the competence to run a hot dog stand, much less a critical global institution.
Just another day of insanity with the Bush administration. Why, Bush himself had an absolutely despicable record as a businessman and is now sitting in the top political post in the country.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I believe that David's post is interesting and people can certainly disagree with GWBs choice here (and he will be appointed, no doubt as he should be), and I hope Wolfowitz does a good job (however that is defined)...but i seriously disagree with the blogger response that a dem administration would never have....etc. This is just angry noise and just points out the problem among many liberals and democrats out there right now.

Please give me a break. This is politics. Politics existed before GWB, before the current insanity gripping the american public.

Seems to me there are just too many people belonging to the "Politics of No/I hate all things GWB" Club that exists within the democratic party (the demodingbats). It scares me that a party that has inspired so many over the years and done so many good things has been reduced to the appearance of a bunch of petulant children. It's almost as if they have forgotten what politics are all about and instead are about knee jerk reactions to everything Bush does. I pray (sorry to use the word-this isnt a publicly funded blog is it?) that the democrats wake up and put a centrist, well-liked candidate (can Bill Clinton be cloned? I said Bill, not Hillary) in place for 2008 so we dont end up with more years of some bible pushing administration.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above blogger I think has confused the message.
The issue is whether Wolfowitz has any demonstrated competence or experience to run the World Bank. Democrats or Republicans aside, if politics leads to the appointment of an official of questionable merit, then someone MUST raise a flag. To think otherwise is utter nonsense.
This is the overridding issue.
I seem to recall in New Jersey the downfall of a certain governor because he had appointed his alleged gay lover with no security background to head the state's department of homeland security. Oh, I must shut up. To take on any side of this issue might show my political stripes! Heaven help me!

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

talk about confused message. i seem to recall the NJ governor being accused of sexual harrassment. that was the true issue there. If you think that in local politics, people with no competence in a given specialty, are not given jobs, you better do some research. Local politicians give friends positions and they learn on the job. Not saying it is right; saying it is fact.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

let's try to compare apples to apples. Yes, both Democrats and Republicans make appointments for political reasons, vs. picking the best person available.

the question is, where does Wolfowitz fall on this scale?

Gov. Rowland of Connecticut appointed his limo driver to a post, which caught the eyes of some critics and was part of what ultimately led to Rowland's resignation.

In NJ, Gov. McGreevey -- long before the claims of sexual harrassment -- appointment his lover as a homeland security chief, even though the man had no experience. That appointment was criticized, and indirectly led to McGreevey's toppling.

Wolfowitz probably isn't as bad a choice as either of those men. But he's still a bad choice because a) while he has government experience, he has no economics experience, and b) he was a failure on several major measures in his role in the defense department.

The Bush administration has a nasty habit of promoting, rather than dismissing, those who fail miserably. Condi Rice failed in her role as National Security Advisor -- her testimony to the 9/11 Commission about the Aug. 6 memo was embarrassing -- but she was promoted. CIA chief George Tenet (a Clinton holdover) failed in his role, but Bush gave him a medal of honor at the White House.

That's probably the bigger issue, because, as pointed out above, Wolfowitz's nomination will almost certainly be approved.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont disagree with questioning the Wolfowitz choice. All i said was the blogger that said dems would just wrong. You can debate forever whether Rice was good or bad, whether Bush makes terrible appointments etc. I wont disagree with you on that.

All I am saying is that the system allows for this and both dems and republicans have been doing it for years. Doesnt make it right and it is certainly not a bad thing to question it. But lets not make it a Bush republican only concept.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am likely showing political bias to some degree here. But I seem to recall the Clinton appointments during his term had solid backgrounds and experience within their selected posts.
Clinton knew better, and to this day his approval ratings have blown those of Bush out of the sky, even while he was facing a Republican-promulgated impeachment.
If some one can think of an example where Clinton appointed an officer of questionable background or competence, I would love to hear about it. Please inform me.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is George Tenet really the best you can do? And Hillary Clinton?
Keep trying.
Yes Tenet went out in a hailstorm of controversy over 9-11 and Iraq. In this regard, others in the Bush Administration should have followed his footsteps.

But clearly prior to being named director of security under Clinton in 1997, Tenet had much experience justifying his appointment to the post. Below is his biography. It is night and day situation compared to Wolfowitz.

Here is Tenet's bio:
Born and raised in Queens, NY, Tenet is one of the youngest men to serve as DCI. He has worked in both the congressional and executive branches of the government, for Democrats as well as Republicans. From 1982-1985, Tenet worked on the staff of Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz as a legislative assistant covering national security and energy issues, and as legislative director. In August of 1985, he was appointed to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, as designee to the Vice Chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy. He worked there for four years, and became Staff Director, after directing the Committee's oversight of all arms control negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States.

As a member of President Clinton's national security transition team, Tenet coordinated the evaluation of the US Intelligence Community. From there, he went on to serve as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council. While at the NSC, he coordinated Presidential Decision Directives on ''Intelligence Priorities,'' ''Security Policy Coordination,'' ''US Counterintelligence Effectiveness,'' and ''US Policy on Remote Sensing Space Capabilities.'' He also was responsible for coordinating all interagency activities concerning covert action.

Let's not even talk about Hillary Clinton. She has an accomplished legal background and was appointed by her husband in a newly-created post to seek out a national healthcare plan.
Not a fair comparison to people appointed in Bush's administration to prominent military, global and financial posts.

7:34 PM  

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