Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bye Bye, Paul

Paul Wolfowitz is about to finally quit as head of the World Bank. It's because of a long-running scandal involving his abuse of his position to get a better job and higher salary for his lover. That's pretty bad in itself, and it's right that he should go, but the real reason that knives have been sharpened for him is because of his past. As an academic and then as US Deputy Defence Secretary, he was a cheerleader and then key architect of America's policies after 9/11. Including Iraq. It's not stretching a point to say he's got a lot of blood on his hands.

Once his somewhat extreme views finally became surplus to requirements in the Bush administration, it seems strange to think he ended up running an international organisation like the World Bank. But then that job's always been in the gift of the US, just as Europe's always decided who gets to run the International Monetary Fund. Both are grubby backroom stitch-ups, and both Mr Wolfowitz and the Spanish head of the IMF, Rodrigo Rato, only got their posts because they were out of work and needed something to do. These bodies are only as strong as the countries that constitute them - and it's up to them to make this jobs for the boys nonsense a thing of the past.

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