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Neocons run the World (Bank)

What happens when you put a chief architect of the Iraq war in charge of the world’s most important international development institution? Well, the NYT has a good article about that today, profiling Paul Wolfowitz’s first 15 months at the helm of the World Bank. If you haven’t heard, Wolfowitz has launched a massive anti-corruption ...

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What happens when you put a chief architect of the Iraq war in charge of the world’s most important international development institution? Well, the NYT has a good article about that today, profiling Paul Wolfowitz’s first 15 months at the helm of the World Bank.

If you haven’t heard, Wolfowitz has launched a massive anti-corruption campaign at the World Bank that’s highly unpopular among the institution’s 10,000 employees. Why would anyone, let alone a group of well-respected economists and development experts, object to something as praiseworthy as fighting corruption? Well, it’s the way he’s doing it: by withholding loans and bullying poor countries into political reform. Wolfowitz is taking the same approach to cracking down on corruption at the WB as he did to spreading democracy from the Pentagon – through sheer (albeit this time economic) force:

In his first 15 months as president of the World Bank, Paul D. Wolfowitz has made the fight against corruption in poor countries a hallmark issue, waging an aggressive campaign that has led to the suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and contracts to nations including India, Chad, Kenya, Congo, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

Who has Wolfowitz hired to carry out his anti-corruption program? Ironically, he tapped his political friend Suzanne Rich Folsom to become director of Institutional Integrity, the bank’s anti-corruption unit, and brought a raft of assistants and advisors he knew from the Pentagon and White House to join him at the WB. This story has been covered here and there in the press for a while now, but I’m still amazed that it doesn’t get more attention. Check out openDemocracy, the Huffington Post, and the Economist for past commentary on the subject. 

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