Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bush Takes World Bank in Exciting New Direction

As Pope Paul Wolfowitz sails off to what ever golden parachute awaits our erstwhile lover-boy George Bush in the last years of his photogenic career as “Mr. President” has nominated a successor to Wolfowitz, one Robert Zoellick to head the World Bank. Now some say Zoellick is not a neocon but evidently Zoellick is not far from it. Here is a quote from a January 2000 essay he wrote for Foreign Affairs according to Wickipedia

"[T]here is still evil in the world — people who hate America and the ideas for which it stands. Today, we face enemies who are hard at work to develop nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, along with the missiles to deliver them. The United States must remain vigilant and have the strength to defeat its enemies. People driven by enmity or by a need to dominate will not respond to reason or goodwill. They will manipulate civilized rules for uncivilized ends."

And here is what Wolfowitz, the arch neo-con said in 2003:

And yet as great as the impact of September 11th was, it would pale in comparison to a major bio or even chemical attack. And we know that it is no longer a question of whether such an attack might conceivably be attempted, but more likely a matter of when. Enemies -- both outlaw states and terrorist groups -- are aggressively pursuing chemical, biological, even radiological and nuclear weapons. And they may have few of the traditional inhibitions that previously deterred people from using those horrible weapons.

Well we can certainly see how this changes everything for the World Bank and what an exciting new direction this will be.

A column by Tom Barry of counterpunch gives an idea of how Zoellick might perform his duties as head of the World Bank.

When it comes to global economic policy, Zoellick is not a free trade ideologue or a committed advocate of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Instead, he regards free trade philosophy and free trade agreements as instruments of U.S. national interests. When the principles of free trade affect U.S. short-term interests or even the interests of political constituencies, Zoellick is more a mercantilist and unilateralist than free trader or multilateralist.

A unilateralist rather than a multilaterlalist is an interesting description for a nominee to head the World Bank whose mission statement is the Following:

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the common sense. We are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 185 member countries—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).

Each institution plays a different but supportive role in our mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. The IBRD focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world. Together we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes.

Of course as the World Bank is supportive of free trade which has had adverse affects on poorer nations I guess a unilateralist heading the World Bank is no big conflict of interest after all, just another exciting new direction.