Outvoting the US at the World Bank

It is traditional for the Managing Director of the IMF to be a European; and for the President of the World Bank to be an American (the current World Bank President, an Australian called Jim Wolfensohn, took US citizenship to get the job). Of course, the job should be advertised, and chosen through an open selection process. As The Guardian argued on February 1st, the job is too important to give to a political crony of the US Administration. Furthermore, World Bank staff travel round the world – apparently with a straight face – encouraging other countries to dismantle systems of political patronage and corruption in favour of open, transparent competitions. How much more convincing that would be if their own institution met the same standards. But the US administration is so-far unmoved by the idea of an appointment on merit: they show every sign of making a selection and deciding the new President entirely behind closed doors. I find it hard to believe today’s FT story (subscription only website) that Paul Wolfowitz – a neocon hawk who was one of the architects of the occupation of Iraq – is on the shortlist. Tthe US voting share in IDA is 14%, and in IBRD it is 16%. Which means that well over three quarters of the votes on the board is in the hands of Directors other than the US. In theory, then, the US could be outvoted by the other nations on the Bank board. In practice, everyone behaves as if the US has a veto. If the US were to propose someone unacceptable – and I think Paul Wolfowitz falls squarely into that category – there is a chance that the other countries would realize that they not only the power but also the duty to overrule the US nomination. And just possibly, they might get the taste for it, and start standing up to the US on other issues at the Bank and Fund boards. My personal prediction is that the US will nominate Randall Tobias, the US global aids coordinator, and former CEO of Eli Lilly, and that he will duly become the next President of the World Bank. You heard it here first.

4 thoughts on “Outvoting the US at the World Bank”

  1. Owen, you really need to do some research into the character and beliefs of Paul Wolfowitz. You’ve totally and blindly bought into a particular conventional wisdom here.

  2. “President Bush will nominate Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz to be the next president of the World Bank, an administration official said, tapping one of his administration’s most controversial figures as the U.S. choice to head the 184-nation institution.”


    Well so much for that prediction. And in response to Ron B. Paul Woflowitz a proven LIAR. He sat around with Chalabi and Perle for years making up horror stories about Iraq to instigate a war. Passing along rehashed bullshit as legitimate intel to the White House. Now that we are on the ground all of which have turned out to be untrue.

    Does anyone remember the administrations claims that we had a source on the ground who could corroborate everything but divulging too much intel would reveal his identity. Where is that guy now? Thats striaght for the mouth of Paul Wolfowitz.

    If nothing else, he and Rumsfeld’s original war plan called for 25k troops. There are 120k now and more needed. What was he thinking he and Rummy should have been fired for that suggestion alone, if not laughed out of their respective posts. Thank God Collin Powell was there to talk sense, since they dont listen to any uniformed Generals. It demostrated complete incompetence and ignorance in an area which they are supposedly subject matter experts.

    The man promotes his and the neocon agenda above all else including common sense. The President instead of repremanding incompitence, rewards it. Perhaps because he sympathizes with idiots. This is as bad if not worse than some of the heinous judges he is nominating to the Federal courts.

  3. Pingback: Owen’s musings » Blog Archive » Paul Wolfowitz nominated

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