Wolfie's Selection Not Exactly Popular Overseas
"The enthusiasm in 'old Europe' is not exactly overwhelming."
--German development minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, today
As you might imagine, Bush’s selection today of Paul Wolfowitz to be our nominee to head the World Bank isn’t going over well in Europe.
The announcement was an aggressive move to put the administration's stamp on the World Bank, the largest source of aid to developing countries, by installing at the bank's helm a leading advocate of the U.S. campaign to spur democracy in the Middle East. But it risked a new rift with countries critical of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, especially since it came so soon after Bush's nomination of John R. Bolton, another prominent hawk, as ambassador to the United Nations.
The nomination shocked many among the bank's 10,000-member staff and in many capitals abroad, especially in Europe. When Wolfowitz's name surfaced a couple of weeks ago as a possible nominee, many diplomats and bank insiders dismissed his prospects as remote. Although the United States traditionally gets to choose the World Bank chief, there was speculation that a Wolfowitz candidacy could be torpedoed by the board of the bank, a 184-nation institution that has always operated by consensus.
In fact, Europeans are feeling now that Bush’s recent trip there and his and Condi’s fence-mending were all an act given the subsequent nominations of John Bolton as UN ambassador and now Wolfie to head the World Bank. Suffice it to say that the Europeans are feeling like they were misled once again by Bush rhetoric, and any goodwill that Bush gained from his recent trip has now been squandered.
And ironically, his overseas supporters say that one of his strengths are his administrative abilities, yet the Washington insiders say that the one part of the job that Wolfie hated at the Pentagon were the day-to-day administrative duties, as evidenced by everything that went wrong underneath him.