About Paul Wolfowitz and the World Bank
By Jerome Grossman
Paul Wolfowitz was Deputy Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld and a primary architect of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As a reward for the Iraq failure, President Bush appointed him President of the World Bank, an international institution founded 62 years ago primarily help poor countries to develop their economies. The Bank has 13,000 employees from 140 countries, most of them highly trained professionals accustomed to a consultative style of management. Many felt that Wolfowitz, with no banking or management experience, brought a top down military culture to the Bank, exercised by aides he hired from the U.S. Department of Defense. While the U.S. is the largest contributor to the Bank, 18 percent of working capital, an unwritten agreement gives the U.S. President the right to appoint the head of the Bank. U.S. policies have usually dominated the allocation of funds and the policies supported. While the revolt against Wolfowitz was triggered by his handling of the position and salary of his female companion who also worked at the Bank, the situation is not primarily a sexual scandal. It is another negative fallout from the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the worldwide unpopularity of the U.S. because of its heavy-handed unilateral policies. While the U.S. is too powerful to be challenged militarily or economically, the attack on Wolfowitz is fundamentally a criticism of American policies, a small rebellion but sure to be applauded in the 140 countries by those who believe that the power of the American colossus should be reduced.