Saturday, April 14, 2007

Wolfowitz's future at the World Bank

While I was busy reading for my exam, there was a case brewing that I would normally have written something about. I'm talking about the trouble that Paul Wolfowitz is facing.

It's not something I mention often, but my father was a financial journalist for 25 years, and among the things he covered was the yearly World Bank summit. As he described it, it was more relationship management than anything political that went on at those summits. In other words, the World Bank and the people connected to it, put a great deal of value on personal relationships and trust.

It seems like Wolfowitz, and the Bush administration, has not understod this, and while his current case is about a specific case, it is really about a much larger issue - the relationship between the Bush administration, with Wolfowitz as a senior representative, and the rest of the world.

The New York Times has a good news analysis about this.

Wolfowitz Fight Has Subplot

As the news analysis makes clear, Wolfowitz hasn't been very good at working with others from the World Bank, instead relying on personal assistants that he brought along. He has also given the impression of putting US policy before the World Bank - not something you want in the head of the World Bank.

My guess is that Wolfowitz is not the president of the World Bank for long, since neither him nor the Bush administration has the goodwill capital needed to survive this. I wonder if the fiasco of Wolfowitz, and the earlier fiasco of Bolton, will teach the Bush adminsitration not to politisize the appointments to international positions? It's doubtful, I guess.

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