Towards A Good Samaritan World

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Wolfowitz for the World Bank? Wow!

Here's David Brooks' take on Wolfowitz. I think it's a great idea. The World Bank's development mission and the neocon's vision of spreading liberty really have a lot in common. But there will be a serious culture clash. The international bureaucrats at the World Bank, by and large, despise the Bush administration and all its works.

In my "Guelfs and Ghibellines" essay last fall, I argued that our world is, and is likely to be increasingly, characterized by a "papal-imperial struggle" between the US and UN.

The World Bank is on the "papal" side of the lines, preferring institutions, procedures and international law to events and personalities, pious, high-principled, bookish and ecumenical, dedicated to the poor, but lethargic, well-paid, constrained by political correctness. Europeans are said to be

nervous that Wolfowitz would prove similar to former World Bank head and Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Radelet said McNamara was accused of channeling aid to nations based not on need but on their support of U.S. policy.

I think it's more likely that Wolfowitz will absorb the World Bank's ethos and outlook, but mingle it with his own commitment to global democratization. This could lead to a fascinating synergy, by which the Bank would acquire a double mission of promoting both development and democracy-- whether future US administrations like it or not.

This promises to be a major setback for the cynical (a.k.a. "realist") school of foreign policy.


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