A Yank At The Bank

The Wolfowitz saga continues. WaPo runs a piece this morning asking, Must A Yank Lead The Bank? suggesting the time has come for no more American World Bank presidents. Since we've already established that this is about a Bank coup, I'm going to ignore that for a moment, because he says something which sounds very sensible:
To make good on our rhetoric about fighting world poverty, we should start by finding a World Bank president who has produced real economic success in a poor country.
You mean like Juan Jose Daboub, who led El Salvador's recovery efforts after 2 earthquakes -- housing 250,000 displaced families within 90 days? And whose economic policies made El Salvador a bright spot in Latin America? Wolfowitz brought him in to be Managing Director at the Bank, along with half a dozen other true reformers --not Americans, by the way. Yet Daboub just happens to be the same guy the Euroelites denounce as "a Christian," as if that were his sole qualification for office.

The WaPo piece suggests a handful of names, two of whom are boilerplate socialists, which doesn't give me confidence in the names I don't know. Nor does this suggestion:
Want an even bigger revolution? Don't just appoint the first foreigner to lead the World Bank; also pick the first woman. One fine candidate would be Rebeca Grynspan. She is a former vice president of Costa Rica, where she led major programs in social development and coordinated the activities of the social and economic ministries.
I don't know anything about her record, but it is typical of the Euroelites to dicker about Western concerns like gender and ethnicity of bureaucrats rather than lifting up the poor. No matter if people are starving in Africa, as long as the Bank president is a minority, I guess.

One of the charges being levvied against Wolfowitz is that he's autocratic --yanking loans arbitrarily, without consulting anyone. One's left with the impression that he just wakes up some mornings and decides not to feed the hungry in Africa. What the accusers don't mention is that loans are usually reinstated eventually --after the Bank can be sure its money will actually get to the people it was meant to help. The New Yorker reports he halted debt forgiveness for Congo-Brazaville, for example, after its president spent $300,000 on hotel fees attending a UN conference in NY.
In the first half of last year, Wolfowitz stepped up his anti-corruption campaign, suspending aid projects in India, Kenya, and Cambodia until allegations of corruption were resolved. (In these and other cases, the bank and the governments involved eventually settled their differences, and lending was resumed.) “What Paul is doing,” Karl Jackson, the bank consultant, told me, “is moving toward a system that says to poor governments, ‘If you want to steal from a project, we all’—the whole development community—‘will say that we are not going to lend you any more money until you demonstrate improved governance.’” Expressed this way, Wolfowitz’s actions seem eminently reasonable.
Ya think? This is why the African delegates love Wolfowitz --he stands with them in their efforts to bring their country ahead, instead of colluding in corruption.
“Transferring large amounts of money to corrupt governments isn’t just a waste of money; it is counter-productive,” Roger Bate, an expert on development policy at the American Enterprise Institute, said. “I’ve seen that in Nigeria, Uganda, and Ethiopia. But it takes a lot of courage to say we are going to withhold funds. There is a lot of pressure to continue business as usual.”
Another accusation is that Wolfowitz is carrying on US foreign policy by other means --because he's been trying to step up the Bank's presence in Iraq. I'm sorry, I was under the impression that while we differed on the wisdom of war, all the allies wanted a stable Iraq, and were willing to work for that by peaceful means. Not so much, as it turns out. The World Bank's preferred policy is to offer no economic support to Iraq and let the Iraqis twist in the wind so that the American Cowboy will fail. So Wolfowitz must go, all those brown people who love him --and need him-- be damned.

The Financial Times reports on the political maneuvering heading into the week. The Europeans want Wolfie gone by Friday's G8 meeting. The Administration think Wolfie may be able to weather the storm --which would have financial consequences for the Bank. The administration seems to be willing to force a crisis at the Bank, which I believe would be salutary, to say the least.