Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hacking the World Bank

Just in case you've been wondering about what that ol' neocon genius Paul Wolfowitz -- the Iraq war would pay for itself -- has been up to at the World Bank, Sic Semper Tyrannis points to an interesting blurb from a few weeks back. And yes, he is up to those usual neocon ways of driving out knowledgeable, experienced experts a replacing them with ideologically like-minded Republican hacks who are "short on expertise and long on political connections."
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz faces mounting criticism from directors of the international lending organization who say he relies on a coterie of political advisers with little expertise in development while driving away seasoned managers.

Half of the bank's 29 highest-level executives have departed since Wolfowitz, the former U.S. deputy Defense secretary and an architect of President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, took office in June 2005. Among them is Christiaan Poortman, vice president for the Middle East and a 30-year World Bank veteran, who left in September after resisting pressure to speed up the pace of lending and adding staff in Iraq. ...

Three directors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they are concerned governments might be less willing to contribute because of unhappiness with Wolfowitz.
Furthermore, and perfectly in keeping with the standard operating procedure of the White House, Wolfowitz has "placed considerably more trust in a small group of outsiders from the Republican Party than in the seasoned experts in the bank." In fact, Wolfowitz appears to be trying to model the World Bank on the shining example given us by L. Paul Bremmer at the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq:
inexperienced or ideological replacements are being placed in senior positions.
Naturally, Wolfowitz has been pushing World Bank loans on Iraq and strapping that country with a debt that will make them beholden to international interests. This is not unusual behaviour for the World Bank. In fact, this is very usual behaviour for the World Bank. The difference now is that Wolfowitz's hackery will probably backfire and wind up screwing everyone, not just the Iraqis.


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