| Paul Wolfowitz, close confidant of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, finds himself in deep trouble yet again. Mr. Wolfowitz is under fire in his current position as President of the World Bank by its Board of Directors for violating ethics rules when he put his girlfriend into a high-paying senior level job at the Bank.
Like the proverbial cat that has nine lives, it appears that Mr. Wolfowitz, who has used up more than a dozen of them, is rapidly approaching the end of the line! Wolfowitz was one of the chief Neo-cons who came up with the scheme to attack Iraq. He was a cornerstone of the team that came up with all of the related lies and half-truths designed to hoodwink the American people into thinking that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, access to "yellow-cake" for making nuclear bombs, that Iraq was linked to Al Qaeda and the 911 attacks; and that because of this, Iraq was an imminent threat to American security and must be attacked. Much of the false reasoning and chicanery associated with this nefarious scheme has come to light in the recent book by former CIA head, George Tenet, "In the Center of the Storm." As a reward for coming up with the scheme to invade Iraq, President Bush appointed Wolfowitz to be the United States' first ambassador to post-Saddam Iraq. Wolfowitz celebrated the "end of hostilities" when President Bush donned a jumpsuit and flew onto the aircraft carrier four years ago to claim victory in Iraq. When, shortly thereafter, Wolfowitz came to realize that American soldiers and the "coalition of the willing" were not being treated like liberators and soon to be caught up in the middle of a civil war, Mr. Wolfowitz went back to his good friend George Bush who bailed him out with the cushy position as Head of the prestigious World Bank.
The politics of Mr. Wolfowitz' potential dismissal are interesting and instructive. Anyone who has studied colonialism and neo-colonialism knows that the World Bank and its erstwhile partner, The International Monetary Fund, have long been dominated by the U.S. and its Western European partners who have used the funds to "leverage" certain types of political and economic policies in the Third World and developing nations. This "leveraging" includes telling them what type of governments they must have, whether the economy should be capitalist or socialist, which types of crops they must grow and how they should vote in the United Nations, to name a few.
The Board of Directors of the World Bank, which is scheduled to recommend the actions to be taken against Mr. Wolfolwitz, is hoping that he will resign before they have to take draconian measures that could include his termination. The Board is moving carefully because they are aware that Uncle Sam is the biggest player in the World Bank supplying the larger share of the funds and they do not wish to send the wrong message and alienate President Bush. The European members have been frustrated by the fact that the U.S., by longstanding tradition, has had unilateral authority to pick the president of the Bank. They were on the cusp of demanding a shared role in the making of this appointment when the Wolfowitz situation emerged to derail things. According to a recent article in the New York Times by Steven Weisman, the Board has extended an olive branch to President Bush asking that he quietly take actions to get Mr. Wolfowitz to resign, promising to allow Bush exclusive authority to appoint his replacement. The situation has caused the usual "east vs west" politics that has divided the member nations. The European nations -- considered the "donor" nations -- are strongly in favor of ousting Mr. Wolfowitz. Many of the African and Third World "recipient" nations quietly support his ouster but they are being "leveraged" by the State Department to either remain neutral or offer their support for the embattled President out of fear of losing funding for major development projects. It is sad that the leadership in these nations cannot stand firm on principle to do what they know must be done.
Speculation is that President Bush will no doubt allow Wolfowitz to remain as President of the World Bank. Doing so, as is the case with his support for Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, will continue to send the message to the nation and indeed the entire world, that Bush's blind and arrogant "loyalty" to friends is more important than doing what is right and just. Small wonder why his polling numbers nationally and internationally continue to set records for the lowest of the low!
| The Literary Divide/Dr. Paul Barrows
Paul Wolfowitz, the man who always lands on his feet,