Zoellick to be the World Bank chief, Wolfowitz quits following an alleged scandal
May 30: The appointment of Robert B Zoellick as the new chief of World Bank has been envisaged by the people who prophesized US intention of maintaining their clout within the organisation.
Zoellick, 53, will replace Paul D.Wolfowitz, who resigned from the post after being accused of his involvement in a scandal. Wolfowitz resigned before the culmination of the term as he was accused of showing undue favour for his girl friend. Zoellick will lead the world‚??s leading lending institution and try to put forth the agenda delayed or affected by the ouster of his predecessor. US authorities and corporate sector enjoys clout and has vast interest in the lending institution.
While going through his profile, Robert B. Zoellick seems to be a suitable choice for the post. He is the right person to safeguard the US interests by taking forward the set agenda of the organization.
Zoellick stepped down as deputy secretary of state last year and right now is Goldman Sachs managing director. As deputy secretary, he was the primary architect of the administration's policy towards Sudan. He has served in high-ranking foreign policy and economic policy posts under three Republican presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan. His experience as trade representative of U.S. from February 2001 to February 2005 is a definite qualification for the coveted post.
While confirming the ‚??candidature‚??, US Treasury Secretary Henry M.Paulson Jr. claimed that Zoellick had emerged as the first choice of economic ministers around the world, who have been calling for someone to overcome the bank‚??s credibility problems among donor and recipient countries alike.
US president will formally announce the selection today. After that Zoellick will visit the bank and meet its staff and the bank‚??s 24-member board of directors is to vote on the nomination soon afterward.
Zoellick‚??s new job might be more hectic than his predecessor because of the major disagreements among donor nations over the bank‚??s mission and due to the expected pressure by his country to carry out the laid plans, initiated by disgraced Wolfowitz.
From the very beginning US administration has used the organization as a tool to strengthen its hegemony in the world as was evident during Wolfowitz tenure. He sought to shift the bank to a policy tied more directly to US foreign policy, although this was concealed by rhetoric condemning corruption and pledging a greater concern for Africa and other areas hit by the worst poverty and social misery. Loans were cut off to countries that clashed with Washington, as in the case of Uzbekistan after it terminated US basing rights for warplanes in the fighting in Afghanistan. Loans were directed to governments like the US stooge regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and to other US client states on friendly terms with the Bush administration. The bank lends about $23 billion a year to poor countries and is the principal vehicle for grants and loans to the poorest among them.
Now the fate of Shaha Ali Riza, Wolfowitz‚??s selected one, whose transfer, pay raise and promotion sparked the rebellion in the bank that led to his downfall is at stake and this would be among the priorities.
Meanwhile Zoellick‚??s selection has caught the bank board by surprise. The board, which under bank bylaws elects the president, met in the day and in the evening issued criteria for the new president; it said nominations would be accepted before June 15, with a choice made by June 30. There won‚??t be considerable opposition to Bush‚??s choice but the process has brought lingering unease over the way the United States treated the board a kind of an afterthought.
Whatever might be the case, whosoever will head the world‚??s leading lending institution, the rift between poor and rich countries will be there. As in one of his rarest interviews, renowned personality and harsh critic of US capitalism, Noam Chomsky, said: Through the 1970s, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were pressuring countries to take loans, borrow, and create huge debt.
‚??In the early 1980s, with the Volcker regime in Washington, the whole system collapsed and the countries that had taken the debts were hung out to dry. Then the World Bank and the IMF pressured them strongly to introduce structural adjustment programs -- which means that the poor have to pay off the debts incurred by the rich. And of course there was economic disaster all over the world.‚??
Venezuela along with Ecuador have forced the WB representatives out of the country because of, what they say, anti poor policy.
Now at a time when the authority of WB is declining, Zoellick has too much to do while protecting capitalistic interests of his masters.
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