With the reputation of the United States at stake, President Bush readies himself to pick a successor to Paul Wolfowitz. Traditionally, the US has chosen the President of the World Bank while Europeans have chosen the head of the International Monetary Fund. Now, given the scandal at the World Bank, Europeans are suggesting that this practice cease and that Wolfowitz’ successor be chosen on merit and not nationality (a code for crony of Mr. Bush).Given the falling reputation of the United States across Europe due in part to the mishandled war in Iraq and the bungling choices made at the World Bank, perhaps the White House should listen for a change. Consultation is not, however, the strong suit of the Bush White House as an administration that has grown used to having its own way on just about everything until recently.
Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie /World Bank
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has said he would help Bush identify a nominee after consulting with other countries. But he made clear it would be an American.
“I see no reason why this should change and I see every reason why it’s important that the World Bank should continue to be run by an American,” Paulson said.
Dutch Development Minister Bert Koenders said the stature of the candidate was more important than nationality.
“The quality of a new candidate is the most important thing. Whatever nationality, American or from another continent, the bank needs a president of the highest quality,” he said.
Henry Paulson makes it absolutely clear that the Bush Administration is not listening to the rest of the world. The fact that he sees no reason to change past policy is an arrogant response in the light of the need for the last Bush choice to resign in disgrace.
I wish I had confidence that Bush will do the right thing in this matter. The fact is that I do not.