World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz announced his resignation yesterday, effective June 30. Not only was his tenure plagued by ethical improprieties, but Wolfowitz, one of the original architects of the Iraq war, also installed ineffective administration allies who were proponents of invading Iraq. He also attempted to undermine the bank’s work on family planning and climate change.
The bank “needs to rebuild its credibility immediately, regain its focus and devote its full attention to its clients,” said the bank’s staff association. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that President Bush “will have a candidate to announce soon, allowing for an orderly transition that will have the World Bank refocused on its mission.”
But a couple of the names being floated indicate that the administration has not learned its lessons from the Wolfowitz scandal, and plans to install a loyalist who will promote the administration’s agenda over sound bank policies:
Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair: Bush yesterday called Blair a “courageous man” and said that he “enjoyed working with Tony Blair more than I could have possibly imagined.” Nobel prize-winner Joe Stiglitz, a former senior vice president at the World Bank, said, “He is one of the people that is clearly being discussed.’” Blair has been Bush’s strongest international ally and pushed the invasion of Iraq.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN): Frist presided over one of the most ineffective Senate sessions in history, part of the Do-Nothing 109th Congress. In December, USA Today blasted his Senate of “lowering the achievement bar” and failing at “its most basic job: approving all 11 annual spending bills that keep the government’s lights on.” Frist also falsely claimed in 2004 that HIV can be spread through tears and sweat.
AP also has a few other names that are under consideration, including Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.