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March 31, 2005

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Shut Up or We'll Kill Your Development Bank! Department)

The Washington Post "argues" that critics of Paul Wolfowitz as World Bank President should be quiet. Why? Because "the World Bank is necessary.... People who care about this institution and its mission -- as many of Mr. Wolfowitz's detractors do -- should think carefully before they damage it by attacking its new boss."

No argument that Paul Wolfowitz is the best candidate for World Bank President. No argument that he is even a good candidate. No argument that he is either minimally qualified--in his understanding of development, in his understanding of international finance, or in his ability to manage a large bureaucracy.

Pathetic. Contemptible.

washingtonpost.com: Mr. Wolfowitz and the Bank: THE WORLD Bank's board will meet today and will almost certainly confirm the nomination of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz as its new president. The initial expressions of shock from Europe have proved unserious and, in some cases, even hypocritical.... Imposing a particular deputy on Mr. Wolfowitz is not going to help. It will push the World Bank toward the nationality-driven hiring that is the bane of United Nations agencies.... It's true that the No. 2 at the International Monetary Fund, who is always an American, does boost U.S. clout within the World Bank's sister institution....

Mr. Wolfowitz's critics, domestic as well as international, should now get beyond their dislike of his role in the Iraq war.... [T]he institution will have a hard time facing down the inevitable attacks on its decision if it is simultaneously having to defend itself against critics who dislike its new president.

Most people agree that the World Bank is necessary. There are few competent organizations that can help manage the challenges of globalization.... The World Bank brings big financial and intellectual resources to all of these challenges; it provides around $20 billion a year to developing countries and houses the largest concentration of development thinkers anywhere. People who care about this institution and its mission -- as many of Mr. Wolfowitz's detractors do -- should think carefully before they damage it by attacking its new boss...

Posted by DeLong at March 31, 2005 01:07 PM