Kemal Dervis would have been an excellent choice. Bono was already out of the running. Angelina Jolie's recommendation of Colin Powell apparently didn't carry much weight at the White House. The White House had already decided to quash current World Bank President James Wolfensohn's desire to be reappointed to head the IGO for another 5-year term, so it's no surprise they didn't support Wolfensohn's recommendation of US Senator Chuck Hagel. Hey, Hagel even had public support from Western Europe, so you knew he wouldn't get the backing of this anti-"Old Europe" administration. Instead, the president has chosen to name Deputy Scretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to the job. Given that Wolfowitz is one of the administration officials most closely associated with the war in Iraq, the response from "Old Europe" should be interesting.
While I opposed going to war in March of 2003, and though I think the war has been run disastrously, I am actually not completely opposed to this choice. For one thing, there are worse things than getting Paul Wolfowitz out of the Pentagon. But beyond that, he has been committed to improving the lot of poor and backward countries and peoples for decades. Say what you will about him (and I'll say a lot) he is one of the true-believers in the administration that the US has an important moral role to fill in making the world a better place. And firmly believing in those sentiments is probably a good thing to have in a World Bank head. Now that, on its own, doesn't mean he has the management skills or the diplomatic strengths that will enable him to run the organization effectively. My sense is that he doesn't. And there were certainly many stronger candidates the president could have chosen. But I'll be interested to see how this nomination is considered, and the debates over it that arise.Posted by armand at March 16, 2005 11:19 AM | TrackBack | Posted to International Affairs