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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March 2005, 11:32 GMT
How will Wolfowitz run the World Bank?
Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz
The United States has nominated Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to be the next president of the World Bank.

The bank has traditionally has had a US chief while its sister body, the International Monetary Fund, is usually headed by a European.

Mr Wolfowitz is a controversial choice, with a reputation as a leading hawk and a leading architect of US policy in Iraq.

He sought to reassure his critics in an interview with the Financial Times saying, "before I have my own vision, I need to do a lot of listening".

What did you think of Washington's choice? Will Mr Wolfowitz make a good head of an organisation concerned with development?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Nicholas Britton, Cardiff, UK:
Is Paul Wolfowitz the right man to lead the World Bank?

First of all, why should the US be allowed to appoint each and every World Bank president? They fail to run their own economy. Secondly, the president of the World Bank, and therefore the World Bank itself, must enjoy the respect of people all over the world. Wolfowitz is considered a bad guy even in countries that are US allies.
Maja, Oslo, Norway

It is interesting that the majority of the 'positive' quotes on his appointment come from 'world leaders' whose interest it is to be in Wolfowitz's good books. Now the Bush government has everyone kowtowing to them.
Ian Clark, New Delhi, India

Experienced administrator with vision, obviously smart, clearly well connected politically both in the US and abroad, What's not to like?
Gene Davis, Bangkok, Thailand

Is nowhere safe from the neo conservative war machine? Whilst not exactly a beacon for liberalism, the World Bank will be shifted dangerously to the right under Wolfowitz's leadership. The warped worldview of one of Bush's inner circle should not be dictating global financial policy - especially while America is engaged in a process of stealth empire building
Adam Corner, Cardiff

Without the USA, there is no World Bank
Forest Seagull, Washington, USA

The USA runs the world and there is nothing wrong with that. Wolfowitz is the right choice in the war against poverty. Besides, without the USA, there is no World Bank.
Forest Seagull, Washington - USA

I think it's both good and bad. Good in that the World Bank and developing countries do need discipline and less corruption. Bad in that this man will most likely make many enemies in places where World Bank policies have utterly failed and been left behind, such as Argentina, which is coping admirably without such lofty institutions. I also see him trying to bind anti-abortion dogma to aid packages, which will surely kick up a merry storm.
Theo Stauffer, Switzerland

Why him? Will he make social world economics as smooth, efficient and just as he made the Iraq war? Or will he be the man who likes to see a job finished and not just walk from one mess to make another.
Marko, Serbia

Paul Wolfowitz would become the President of the World Bank with the same level of aptitude for the job as George Bush has exhibited for the position he holds. Why would Bush believe that a person should have integrity and wisdom to hold a critical position of power?
Ann, Sudbury, USA

This appointment shows that Bush is taking the UN seriously
Wijnand, Amsterdam, NL
Quite amusing to see the hissy-fits in these comments. The World Bank needs reform. Wolfowitz' appointment might bring just that. As always, the Bush-haters draw exactly the wrong conclusion: this appointment shows that Bush is taking the UN seriously and is trying to get it back into fighting shape. Good for him.
Wijnand, Amsterdam, NL

Beware of any Werewolfowitz promising to transform itself into a rational and reasonable human. The transformation will be in appearance only and will not last beyond the next full moon. Europe has a duty to use its "silver bullet" to veto this nomination.
Clyde, Missouri, USA

Bush is again showing how little he cares about the long-term interests of the US. His appointment of Wolfowitz is another example of his limited perspective.
J Franklin, Woodlands, Texas

Wolfowitz for President of the World Bank completes the destructive cycle the Bush Administration is on. One more nail in the coffin. Wolfowitz is an intellectual disaster for the world.
Leon Fainstadt, Los Angeles, United States

First he's an expert on Iraq and the need for war, now he's an expert on banking. Let him direct the WB's efforts at rebuilding Iraq.
Jeremy, Atlanta, USA

There is already so much division in the world community. I just simply wonder what was going through Bush's mind when he selected Wolfowitz for this job. A person to head the world bank should at least be a man of peace.
Qaiser Bakhtiari, Minneapolis/Karachi

Does Europe get it yet? What will it take? The Bush administration could not make it more clear its total disregard for the views of the Europeans. With Bolton at the UN, and Wolfowitz at the World Bank, the world community is being told with one loud voice: buzz off.
James, Baltimore, USA

Mr Wolfowitz is going to be very unpopular in the Middle East
Fazl Rab, Anaheim, CA USA
Mr Wolfowitz is going to be very unpopular in the Middle East, Far East and Latin America. These are all the countries that need the help and guidance of the bank towards progress. His arrogance, his take-it-or-leave-it attitude and "if you are not with us then you are against us" traits do not auger well for the objectives of the World Bank.
Fazl Rab, Anaheim, CA USA

This and the appointment of Bolton to the UN are transparent attempts to destroy all worldwide institutions and make the US the only internationally relevant power. The neo-cons have not hidden their contempt for these institutions and it seems that if these appointments are not challenged then the institutions will be destroyed. Is there not something which can be done to stop this? Come on Europe, show some mettle and veto this appointment.
Kym, Leicester, UK

What a terrible week for US political appointees. The Bush administration was tentatively given the benefit of the doubt after its re-election to see if it would try and build bridges to other governments and show it was aware of the danger of its continuing, reckless approach to unilateral foreign policy. With this week's nominations of Bolton and Wolfowitz, given their public positions on the institutions they will potentially be working in, what doubt can we have that the US administration is only really concerned with enforcing its narrow view of 'democracy' and what can be accomplished by steamrolling opposition views that are seen as weak and ineffectual?
Arjun, Berkeley, CA, USA

Funny that. If anyone committed that kind of blunder at work, one would be shown the door with little ceremony. Is there any surprise that people are getting more and more disillusioned about the way our world is run by these money-grabbing and hypocritical ideologues? The real question is: We might not be able to stop his nomination, but does it mean we have to remain silent so that it can be taken as acquiescence?
RS, Toronto, Canada

The architect of our Iraq debacle as head of the World Bank - instead of being consigned to the dust heap of failed American policy??? Outrageous, dangerous, and against the world tide of progress for humanity. I am ashamed and chagrined. Europe, flip the deck - challenge this appointment, don't accept it. Flex your muscles and reject this nomination.
Bruce Macdonald, San Diego, California, USA

The bank is not a charity, but a lending institution
Steve Mac, Boston, MA, USA
With African nations lobbying to have their debts completely written off, Argentina defaulting, and who knows how many other nations behind in their payments, it's clear that something has gone seriously wrong at the World Bank. I think it needs a leader who is just as schooled in world politics as economics. The bank needs someone who can sort the truly destitute from those who are just looking for free money. Paul Wolfowitz may initially be a PR nightmare but in the long run he could have just what it takes to be the strong, knowledgeable, no nonsense leader the bank needs to sort this all out. The bank is not a charity, but a lending institution, and it's time for someone to run it like one before all the money is gone, "given away," and there is nothing left for those who truly want and need it in the future.
Steve Mac, Boston, MA, USA

The vast majority of Americans here are shocked and obviously worried by Bush. Can anybody tell me they re-elected him? The only people who could stop Bush were the Americans. They didn't and now they're waking up. Too late!
Martin Myall, Granada Spain

Forget about any ideological differences and look at his track record. Confirming Wolfowitz would be rewarding failure.
Nathan Teegarden, USA

An unbelievable nomination, and trust Jack Straw to welcome it. Yet another blow to the British Government's integrity and credibility.
Alexander Webb, Saint-Mandé, France

Perhaps now the World Bank will be controlled to direct aid towards the vested interests of Bush & Co. Will we see large amounts of WB aid for the development of Iraq (i.e. the US multinationals profiting from the war and paying kickbacks to Bush)?
Vivek, Corvallis, USA

Coupled with Under-Secretary of State John Bolton's recent appointment as UN Ambassador, the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz as the next president of the World Bank represents the latest assault by the Bush administration on the efficacy of the core institutions of the international system. As an American citizen I am appalled by the Bush administration's blatant contempt for international law and disregard for the sanctity of human life.
Emile Durette, Oakland, CA, USA

It makes no difference whether Jesus or Mahatma Gandhi were the president for nothing would change
John Sagala, Flagstaff, AZ

At the World Bank, it makes no difference whether Jesus or Mahatma Gandhi were the president for nothing would change. I think President's Bush selection of Paul Wolfowitz is the worst we could have hoped for. It is most infertile and repugnant as it can ever be.
John Sagala, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

On the one hand Wolfowitz' Afghanistan strategy was quite brilliant, however, since then his judgment in international affairs has been suspect, notably in Iraq and Turkey. It's an odd choice, hopefully he's learned from his recent experiences.
Rob, NY, USA

A horrible choice, but typical. I hope the Europeans can block this bit of stupidity.
JC, USA

The right man, the right time, at the right job. God bless this man.
Donald Boone, Ahoskie, USA

The nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to a position which has global power and influence seems to be another attempt of the United States to extend its power to rubber stamp any move it makes.
Hans Lukiman, Melbourne

Still can't believe it! The World Bank already has a bad image in the eyes of many; this will certainly not help it.
Asante, Sydney, Australia

He will lead it for the USA's interest as they all do.
Al, Essex

Please, Europeans, stop the Bush machine and veto this misguided choice. We need to turn the tide on the hawks in power in the US, who are spreading their tunnel vision to the rest of the world.
Ellen, Mill Valley, USA

He will bring to the World Bank the same sort of myopic world vision that has created the Iraq war disaster
Jim A, Phoenix

Wolfowitz is a bad choice. The World Bank needs the obvious - a respected international banker - not a narrow minded ideologue who will manipulate the World Bank's capital to promote a neo-con political agenda. He will bring to the World Bank the same sort of myopic world vision that has created the Iraq war disaster.
Jim A, Phoenix, USA

This only reinforces the twisted ideals of the Bush administration. Did anyone really believe the trumped up nonsense of "reaching out" to the international community? Wolfowitz was a colossal failure with his pronouncements on the status of post-war Iraq. One can only imagine the tragic incompetence he will impose at the World Bank.
Peter, Chicago, USA

Is this a joke? Surely the goals of the World Bank are serious enough to have someone with real development or financial experience to make a contribution in the field?
Nigel, Mauritania

You have got to be kidding me? The whole purpose of the World Bank is to help poorer nations improve the quality of life of their citizens by helping to bring water, electricity and transport to the poor... Since Paul Wolfowitz was one of the primary architects of virtually destroying the infrastructure of Iraq, while supposedly ridding the world of the threat of Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction, I hardly think it is appropriate for the US administration to nominate him to lead such an organisation.
James, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Wolfowitz will, unfortunately, take his hawkish ideals and try to force them on the rest of the world. Unabashed consumerism and woeful overspending by America is not the right economic model for the rest of the world. I can imagine him saying to economically developing nations: "If you're not spending like us, you're against us!"
Ryan D, Winston Salem, USA

Ridiculous! What's next? Rumsfeld in charge of the Peace Corps?
Samantha, Missouri, USA

I think this is a tragedy for the developing world. The World Bank has failed these countries for several decades and looks set to further impede actual development with this unworthy choice to head the organisation. I can't think of a better signal for developing countries to question the presumed benefit of their relationships with organisations, like the World Bank and the IMF.
Deborah, Washington, DC, USA

A bad choice for this symbolic job
Masood, Seattle, USA

Luckily, the World Bank is a pretty ineffectual organisation. No rapid developer has ever prospered as a result of World Bank assistance. There's really a limited amount of damage Wolfowitz can do; maybe he can even shake up the bureaucracy. But in terms of perception, Wolfowitz does not seem to possess the kind of compassion one would hope for in the person championing world development and poverty alleviation. A bad choice for this symbolic job.
Masood, Seattle, USA

At least he will be out of the Department of Defence.
Jim, US

We hope and expect that Paul Wolfowitz will not give away the store... That he will also assure that only those whose actions as well as words are aligned with American ideals and goals of democracy and freedom, not tyrannical dictatorships trying to strengthen and perpetuate their own rule, will be the beneficiaries.
Mark, USA

Strong and Bold is the type of leadership needed at the World Bank.
Sam, Ferndale, Michigan, USA

Wolfowitz will need to change the World Bank's view that man induced climate change is real and its repercussions are serious. Certainly this Bush camper cannot believe as the World Bank does on this issue.
Ken Rutledge, Norfolk, USA

Oh my God! This is really the end, if such a hawkish and pro-American man like this is allowed to have the job. He will do whatever the US wish, not what the world needs. I think it's a real provocation of the US administration. I hope there will be a veto from France or somebody else.
Luc, France

The "Wolf" has been shown the path to the henhouse. It's hard to imagine peaceful development under his leadership.
Kelly, Washington, DC USA




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