The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, March 18, 2005  

Asylum, Lunatics in Control of

It appears failed Hewlett-Packard Co. executive Carleton S. Fiorina will remain on the unemployment line, that after President Screws Loose passed over her six of one and named half dozen of the other, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, as the U.S. nominee to head the World Bank.

Paul Blustein and Peter Baker report in the Washington Post (“Wolfowitz Picked for World Bank,” March 17):

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.

Meanwhile, we’re now supposed to believe Wolfowitz has a heart (see “Tsunami Tour Said to Spur Wolfowitz Move,” by Bradley Graham, the Washington Post, March 17):

[C]lose associates revealed yesterday [that Wolfowitz] started thinking seriously about leaving [the Pentagon] two months ago, spurred by a January tour of the devastation in Southeast Asia caused by the tsunami. The scenes of death and destruction that he viewed in Indonesia and Sri Lanka played on Wolfowitz’s long interest in Third World issues of poverty and peace, according to this account, and got him looking at what new career move he could make to help in this area.

In a prepared statement Wolfowitz said: “Nothing is more gratifying than being able to help people in need -- as I experienced once again when I witnessed the tsunami relief operations in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. It is also a critical part of making the world a better place for all of us.”

Amazing. The man goes about Washington with his own violins.

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