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April 13, 2007

Comments

You are just noticing when they get caught, but if 95% of the time they don't get caught then why would they worry? Not to mention that the penaly is usually less than a slap on the wrist.

Her previous salary was practically a starvation ration. An unbureaucratic help was obviously needed immediately [/snark]

"But I never expected this"

There has been a lot of coverage in recent months, building all the way. The culmination came last Monday with John Cassidy's major profile of Wolfowitz at the World Bank, and this issue and how it was flying. That ginned up a fresh flurry of stories this past week.

"First, he seems to have lost the confidence of a considerable part of the Bank's staff."

Mm, so far as I've followed, he never gained the confidence of more than a small part of the Bank's staff, at best, in the first place.

I'm struggling to see it as doomed and romantic and audacious, rather than as dirty grey nepotism....Isn't it romantic? What he did for love?

...Nah, I just can't make it work.

What an absolute disgrace this man is.

arranged for Riza's salary to be raised from $132,660 to $193,590, tax-free.

My God, give that woman 10 times that for satisfying Mr. Wolfowitz and keeping him away from the Defense Department.

Sounds like quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work place to me. Sleep with the boss, get a raise. Anyone who does that should be fired.

With the Bush cronies, it seems they honestly believe that nothing they do is ever wrong. I'm sure Wolfowitz didn't even stop to consider the possibility that he was doing something unethical, nevermind that anybody would call him on it.

Well, this sure gives us the moral high ground to clean up all that corruption at the UN.

...the UN

speaking of... Rudy's got John Bolton advising him now. i wonder if Rudy thinks, as Bolton does, that he's elected to serve those who voted for him, or if he's expected to serve the whole constituency... ?

Yet another reason to fear a Rudy presidency.

she really fell for him when she saw him licking his comb in F911

cleek,

"i wonder if Rudy thinks, as Bolton does, that he's elected to serve those who voted for him, or if he's expected to serve the whole constituency... ?"

I think his reputation from his term as mayor of NYC (especially his relations with the black community) strongly suggests the former.

i think the new yorker article is the key here. while wolfie's conduct is really bad, i suspect world bank people don't really care. what they're mad about is wolfie's attempt to turn the world bank into a crusader for justice (with lingering anger about wolfie's war).

it's just really bad luck -- bad things just seem to follow these guys around. it's as if they're incompetent.

Rudy's got John Bolton advising him now

Gawd, birds of a feather.

"First, he seems to have lost the confidence of a considerable part of the Bank's staff."

Mm, so far as I've followed, he never gained the confidence of more than a small part of the Bank's staff, at best, in the first place.

I agree. Reading between the lines it seems the staff had a grudge against Wolfie from the get go. If they liked him or were even ambivalent, I don't think they would have booed and hissed. They would at the very least have heard him out, I would think.

It's interesting to watch this whole crew self-destruct while GWB is still in office. I'm actually beginning to think it turn the tide and lead toward impeaching the boy king before 2008 after all.

Question: why do people do this stuff?

From Global Class War by Jeff Faux:

The examples of personal corruption at the top that are occasionally exposed are usually small-time—tickets to a Super Bowl game, a job for a mistress, a paid-for trip worth a few thousand dollars. Why, asks the citizen, would someone jeopardize their career for such small amounts? The answer of course is that if they thought about, they would not. People of power and influence live in a world of class perquisites. They have been taking tickets, jobs for mistresses, and free trips for decades. This last one, where they got caught, is usually just a piece of bad luck. They drift over the line so often that they don't really think about it.

Wolfowitz has lived in an accountability-free world for so long, I doubt it ever crossed his mind this could be a problem.

I have to admit, I have a tiny tiny tiny soft spot for Wolfie, in that there is a slight chance that Wolfowitz was one of those who helped convince Reagan to not support Marcos but instead back the nascent Aquino government. (this is one of the reasons why Hitchens was sweet on Wolfie, because, according to Hitchens, he acted in opposition to Kissinger) Some links here and here, though the first one suggests that he supported the elections for the wrong reasons and then took credit for the beneficial results, which says a lot about Iraq. The second one (and the blog of the author, I include for the last line which is

The test is this: Does Paul Wolfowitz understand that part of his new job is cleaning the sewers for poor people in countries with unpopular governments?

Apparently not.

I would welcome anyone (*cough*dr ngo*cough*) with more solid info on about Wolfowitz's role in the success of the People Power revolution.

Mr. Wolfowitz claims, in his defense, that he consulted with the ethics personnel on this issue. He does not claim that he got a green light from these people, nor can I imagine how any ethics advisor could suggest anything other than giving the entire matter a wide berth. It would be interesting to get the story from the side of the ethics people Mr. Wolfowitz consulted.

I agree with the earlier comments that suggest that this is all part and parcel of the arrogance of power. This is a beautiful example of the corporate culture that Mr. Bush has established in his administration. It is a culture of unthinking arrogance, made even worse by the twin factors of 1) a compliant Congress and 2) a war that made any questioning of the Administration appear unpatriotic.

Now that 1) Congress is no longer compliant and 2) that war is now an obvious disaster, the skeletons will come tumbling out of the closet. As they do, a lot of rats will leave the sinking ship and reveal even more dirt. In the end, the entire Bush presidency will dissolve into a morass of finger-pointing and ugliness. Conservatism and the Republican party will be tainted for years. I fear that in the resulting easy years, the Democrats will grow fat and lazy and create their own morass. We need a viable two-party system to keep the bastards honest. But the extremity of the Bush excursion will serve to knock the pendulum far to the left.

They should have gone for Bono.

Lest we forget: Perle is tied up in the Hollinger debacle as well.

Corruption is a feature not a bug, etc.

"I fear that in the resulting easy years, the Democrats will grow fat and lazy and create their own morass. We need a viable two-party system to keep the bastards honest. But the extremity of the Bush excursion will serve to knock the pendulum far to the left."

Unfortunately, history has shown that your fears are very justified.

But the extremity of the Bush excursion will serve to knock the pendulum far to the left.

well, i hope so. but the elections are still a long time away. all kinds of things can happen in a year and a half.

I wouldn't worry about the pendulum swinging "far to the left." To the Democrats, maybe, but the Democrats haven't been far to the left since LBJ resigned. At least.

"since LBJ resigned"

WTF? LBJ chose not to run for re-election in 1968. That isn't a resignation in any way, shape or form.

They should have gone for Bono.

Yeah baby! Actually, this farce, and the widespread loathing of the administration, just might be enough to break with the gentleman's agreement that has made the World Bank an American's job.

The Wolfowitz is a microcosm of a broader phenomenon: in its first term the administration gave the world the finger, and there are a whole lot of constituencies waiting out there, waiting to pounce on the least slip-up from these guys. It's also why US diplomacy is a bust until 2009.

An update today from Financial Times.

Democrats haven't been far to the left since LBJ resigned.

And when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

Someone tell me whether I should feel good that comeuppance for this crew is, finally, a possiblity. Or bad that the shining of even a little light has revealed the sheer scale of wrongdoing is....well...sheer

I have the same cynical thought as Frank: maybe "I would have thought it would also be beyond obvious that in view of that fact, if a public figure tries to pull this kind of thing, he or she is very, very likely to end up regretting it" is just false. Maybe the important fact about coverups is that they usually work, and that the vast majority of the time people who pull this sort of corrupt stunt never do get caught. If that were the case, how would we know?

His fine work at the Pentagon has left the United States staggering and Iraq in flames. Destroying the World Bank's reputation would be, by way of contrast, rather small potatoes.

the gentleman's agreement that has made the World Bank an American's job

Which, really, is a bit ridiculous as an institutional principle. The position shouldn't just be a place to stick out-of-favor Defense Secretaries.

spartikus -

Feel good. The alternative is to know that these smug fools have inflicted much evil and incompetence on the world and that nothing can be done.

Luckily, in a sad way, we are finally seeing that the establishment newspapers and other media are recovering their spines. They are actually bothering to take a look at what the Bush Administration has done and it is depressing. Unfortunately, their years of silence enabled a great deal evil to be done by our government that would not have been done if the media hadn't given Bush a pass, and it will take many years, decades, to try to undo the harm of the Bush Administration and those who enabled their actions.

"Which, really, is a bit ridiculous as an institutional principle."

The U.S. picks the head of the World Bank because the U.S. contributes the largest portion of money.

When someone else wants to donate more money, they'll get to pick the head. No one is stopping any other country from exercising their option to do this, so far as I know.

IIRC Europe gives more money than the USA, but they effectively get to control the board.

While trying to get the kid out the door this morning, I heard bits of the Wolfowitz coverage on NPR, including a bit about one of his deputies(?) being against contraception. Therefore the guy refused to include funds for family planning in a loan package to Madagascar.

Couldn't get the details - but WTF?

While trying to get the kid out the door this morning, I heard bits of the Wolfowitz coverage on NPR, including a bit about one of his deputies(?) being against contraception. Therefore the guy refused to include funds for family planning in a loan package to Madagascar.

Couldn't get the details - but WTF?

Why are you surprised? That's SOP to these fools. Ideology trumps function, pragmatism and experience in the field.

The good news for us pragmatists is that very few ideologues are highly competent and none have managed to overcome all of the problems that they bring on themselves with their ideology. That tends to allow them to self-destruct. Unfortunately, before that happens, ideologues manage to destroy a lot in their unturning Path to Perfection.

I do find it interesting that the current crop is self-destructing over petty corruption after they have been setting themselves up as a beacon of morality.

Couldn't get the details - but WTF?

There's something on Thinkprogress

"Why are you surprised? That's SOP to these fools. Ideology trumps function, pragmatism and experience in the field."

I find it's wise to actually have facts, rather than reach conclusions based on having heard that someone heard something somewhere, myself.

YMMV. Anyone have an actual cite about this, rather than a completely unsubstantiated rumor? (I'd say that if anyone, I'm more inclined to be extra skeptical about rumors that support my political views, but the fact is that I'm always absolutely and utterly and completely and wholly baffled beyond belief whenever I see someone act as if a story, any story, about anything, is worth passing on when there's absolutely no substance, and no cite, presented; I never get that; it's just another of the multiple-daily experiences that convinces me I'm an alien.)

"IIRC Europe gives more money than the USA, but they effectively get to control the board."

I'm not totally sure I'm reading the Wiki entry properly, but it appears to me that the EU countries involved give about 13% while the US gives about 16%. Japan does almost 8%, so if the EU and Japan really wanted to act together they probably could.

"There's something on Thinkprogress"

Good; that's a cite, and some substance. Nothing there "about one of his deputies(?) being against contraception," to be sure, but it's a start; an explanation/investigation of why the deletions mentioned were made is clearly in order.

The U.S. picks the head of the World Bank because the U.S. contributes the largest portion of money.

Actually, I think it's more of an informal agreement under which a European heads the IMF and an American the World Bank.

Nothing there "about one of his deputies(?) being against contraception," to be sure

One of the links has: "Daboub, who directed his staff to delete family planning from the draft HNP Strategy, is the former Finance Minister of El Salvador and a member of that country’s ARENA party. ARENA is closely identified with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, which, in contrast to the more progressive pastoral clergy in Central America, opposes contraception and equal rights for women. Daboub is scheduled to speak at the Vatican on May 2, according to the Acton Institute, as shown here: Daboub was hired by Wolfowitz in April 2006.

"Actually, I think it's more of an informal agreement under which a European heads the IMF and an American the World Bank."

There's absolutely that policy, which I didn't bother mentioning, since we weren't discussing the IMF. I'm not sure where "more of" comes into it, though, since it's simply a tangential fact.

I could go into a whole history of Bretton Woods, but what would be the point?

Interesting, Spartikus. I semi-idly wonder if John Negroponte knew Daboub during his El Salvador days. Or if Elliot Abrams did. It's such a small world!

Actually, I think it's more of an informal agreement under which a European heads the IMF and an American the World Bank.

You're completely right. The budget ratios argument is just the diplomatic justification.

but the fact is that I'm always absolutely and utterly and completely and wholly baffled beyond belief whenever I see someone act as if a story, any story, about anything, is worth passing on when there's absolutely no substance, and no cite, presented...

Many times the person doing so is hoping that someone else with more information will recognize the story and educate them.

"The budget ratios argument is just the diplomatic justification."

Well, no. If we want to start getting into the nitty-gritty, it's because it's the U.S. that started both the World Bank and IMF at Bretton Woods, and an American was put in charge of the World Bank (which originally was the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is now just part of the Bank) because the U.S. contributed most of the money. Honest. Really.

Inertia, and residual/continued power of America and Europe have kept these arrangments in place ever since, to give the short version.

There's no shortage of accounts of the founding of these institutions, or the rest of the modern world governmental structure as the foundations were laid late in WWII (chiefly 1944-5) by the "United Nations," which in reality is to say, Roosevelt and Churchill's minions, before the actual, formal, UN was brought into existence, along with the rest of the structures, so it's easy enough to read about this if you didn't some decades ago.

Cassidy's New Yorker piece last week laid it out again, since most folks didn't soak this stuff up in their early years:

[...] he World Bank was established in 1944, at a conference on postwar reconstruction in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, where representatives of more than forty nations agreed to create two new institutions: the International Monetary Fund, which was charged with guaranteeing stability in global currency markets, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which was charged with raising money for the rebuilding of Europe. In December of 1945, twenty-nine countries signed the articles of agreement that formally incorporated the I.M.F. and the World Bank (as the I.B.R.D. came to be called) in Washington. A year and a half later, the World Bank made its first loan, to France. The United States government quickly became the main financer of European reconstruction, and the bank shifted its focus to developing countries. In 1948, it lent money to Chile. Two years later, it lent to Ethiopia. Before long, it was financing the construction of roads and dams throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

[...]

The U.S. government, as the World Bank’s biggest shareholder, has always asserted the right to appoint its president, and for twenty years it chose mostly financial executives.

"The budget ratios argument is just the diplomatic justification."

I don't even understand what this means; it sounds as if you're saying that it's cover for some hidden reason, but you don't offer a clue as to what that might be. A European heads the IMF and an American the World Bank as cover for the fact that in reality a European heads the IMF and an American the World Bank? What?

Anyway, the history isn't obscure; feel free to check any account.

Here is a brief summary:

Savannah Meeting, March 1-18, 1946

Inaugural meeting of the Boards of Governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) opened at Savannah, Georgia.

* The roles of the Executive Directors and their alternates were defined, and salaries were set for the primary officials.
* The first meeting of executive directors in May 1946, at which time a President would be chosen. The US Executive Director, representing the country with the largest quota, would serve as acting President in the interim period.

This is neither hidden, nor cover for some more covert reason.

"Many times the person doing so is hoping that someone else with more information will recognize the story and educate them."

Asking questions is always in order. It's the a) presenting an "I heard that..." as a reasonable point of information; or b) responding to an "I heard that..." as credible, that always astonishes me.

Never "I heard that X: does anyone know if there's any truth to it?" That's, instead, what people should do, and that never astonishes me.

Anyway. It's only because one sees people doing A and B multiple times a day online that makes me react to it.

That must be why every General Secretary of the UN has been an American...

Dude, it's smokey-room diplomacy, horse-trading, gentleman's agreements yadda yadda. At the end of the day, you do need a reasonable justification for it.

"Anyway. It's only because one sees people doing A and B multiple times a day online"

Cite?

"That must be why every General Secretary of the UN has been an American..."

Hmm? What are you talking about?

"Dude, it's smokey-room diplomacy, horse-trading, gentleman's agreements yadda yadda. At the end of the day, you do need a reasonable justification for it."

I'm not following you at all. What are you trying to say? What's a reasonable justification for what?

The U.S. got to pick the head of the World Bank because they contributed the most money; there's nothing hidden here. This is incredibly documented history.

I have no idea what additional notion or fact or theory you are trying to suggest by saying "Dude, it's smokey-room diplomacy, horse-trading, gentleman's agreements yadda yadda."

Diplomacy is diplomacy? What's your point? I'm baffled.

I'm baffled.

Evidently. Please ratchet back the hostility and (misplaced) condescension, I'll do this quickly:

You will not find written anywhere in the statutes or articles of the World Bank that its president must be an American, because America puts in the most money. This is because it is an unwritten agreement, otherwise known as a gentleman's agreement, a tradition, a convention, [insert synonym that helps you here]. It's not a secret at all.

Donation ratios is the justification, or position, or [insert synonym that works for you here]. The other board members could presumably challenge it if they wanted to. Apparently, they don't.

k?

God, I really am procrastinating.

"Please ratchet back the hostility and (misplaced) condescension"

But I don't feel any hostility at all: just puzzlement. Why would I feel hostile because I don't understand what you're saying?

"You will not find written anywhere in the statutes or articles of the World Bank that its president must be an American, because America puts in the most money."

I have no idea if this is or isn't true; never cared to look into it.

If you want to tell me you're familiar with all the legal documentation, and that it's not referred to it, I'll tentatively take your word for it (I'd idly wonder and ask why it is you read all the material), but I still don't understand what point you're making about this. What's it matter if it's formal or not?

"Donation ratios is the justification, or position, or [insert synonym that works for you here]."

Reason? Like I said?

"The other board members could presumably challenge it if they wanted to."

I presume that the mechanisms of the Bank allow for rewriting of their procedures, but that seems sort of obvious.

I'm still at a loss in that you seemed to be issuing some sort of correction, and I'm not following what it is. You're saying that there's no formal mechanism that guarantees that the largest donor country gets to pick the President, and that's the correction, even though I said nothing whatever about how formal or not this was? Or is it something else?

Just pure trying to understand what your point is, here: no hostility whatever. Nor any intended condescension.

Gary - he was agreeing with you, you misunderstood him, then you guessed at what he meant, and then told him at length what he agreed with beforehand.

If at step 2 above ("I don't even understand what this means") you had asked him what he meant the conversation would have been easier.

That's not an accurate summary, rilkefan (it goes back to Bernard's comment), but recapitulating all this trivia would be ridiculous.

Bottom line is that the Presidency of the World Bank goes to an American, by tradition, due to the history of the bank, and the fact that the U.S. has always been the largest contributor to the bank.

Apparently it's a really important matter to some folks to mention that it's by tradition, rather than in the organizing Articles, and that this mustn't be unstated. I guess. I have no idea why it's important to mention this, but fine by me.

"Apparently it's a really important matter to some folks to mention that it's by tradition"

Continued complete misunderstanding, but whatever.

Some people like information to be very detailed and accurate. Some people go to exhaustive lengths in detailing what they're talking about, and then nit-pick what others say if they disagree with one aspect of it.

Sometimes that can wear on one's patience.

"Apparently it's a really important matter to some folks to mention that it's by tradition"

Actually, this came off sounding obnoxious, I see, whereas I was merely blurting distinctly more than I should have been; apologies to all for phrasing that was unintentionally kinda snotty.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

LJ wrote--

" have to admit, I have a tiny tiny tiny soft spot for Wolfie, in that there is a slight chance that Wolfowitz was one of those who helped convince Reagan to not support Marcos but instead back the nascent Aquino government. "

I don't know the story there, other than what you've heard, but to balance whatever good Wolfowitz may or may not have done there (and he was also famously sympathetic to the Palestinians in front of an unsympathetic audience), there's his role with Indonesia and East Timor. I've read Joseph Nevins's book "A Not So Distant Horror" and there are a couple of anecdotes in it about Wolfie. He was the ambassador to Indonesia under Reagan for a few years and even out of office, he praised Suharto a lot and opposed independence for East Timor.

There's also a quote from Richard Holbrooke in the book, one of my least favorite Democrats. (He was the architect of Carter's Indonesia/East Timor policy, which makes him a monster.) Holbrooke said on May 13, 2000 that Wolfowitz's "activities illustrate something that's very important about American foreign policy in an election year and that is the degree to which there are still common themes between the two parties. East Timor is a good example. Paul and I have been in frequent touch to make sure that we keep it out of the presidential campaign, where it would do no good to American or Indonesian interests."

That's a fascinating glimpse into the world of "bipartisan" foreign policy as seen by people like Holbrooke and Wolfowitz--the last thing you want is to have the unwashed masses hearing anything about our Timorese policy over the preceding decades. Given that it involved arming Indonesia while they caused the death of around 200,000 Timorese (the bulk of that under Holbrooke's watch), one can certainly understand that point of view.

Below is the link to the Holbrooke speech praising Wolfowitz in the first paragraph. It's interesting to read the rest of it. Holbrooke talks about the successful intervention in East Timor in 1999. I wonder what goes through the mind of someone who supported the Indonesians as they committed genocide against the Timorese in the late 70's and then talks about saving them in 1999?


< a href="http://www.un.int./usa/00hol0513.htm">Speech

Darn. I could have sworn I typed in the whole thing.

The address is there anyway.

"I could have sworn I typed in the whole thing."

It looks as if you did, but accidentally put a space before the "a." Browsers won't imaginatively parse that, nor forgive it.

hilzoy: "Question: why do people do this stuff? When you're a public figure, your conduct will be scrutinized. This is beyond obvious. I would have thought it would also be beyond obvious that in view of that fact, if a public figure tries to pull this kind of thing, he or she is very, very likely to end up regretting it."

hilzoy, I've heard that you're a professor, or work on some university campus. Imagine every single person on that campus dead, or maimed, or tortured. Think of some large grassy areas on your campus, and imagine that they are mass graves, that you saw them bulldoze large pits fifteen feet deep, and layer the bodies three deep, by the acre.

That's a very small fraction of what Wolfowitz did, and (from any outward appearance) he cares less about that than I do about whether I was rude to somebody today.

The only reason that he's not Secretary of Defense right now, planning and carrying out a few hundred thousand more killings, is not the hellhole that he helped make Iraq into. It's not that he helped break the US Army, and put the US in a position from which recovery might take a decade or two.

It's because this all was a domestic political problem.

*That's* the world Wolfowitz lives and moves in. Compared to what he's done, rewarding his girlfriend is so petty that God Himself wouldn't have time to mention it on Judgement Day.

Barry: I have no (zero) interest in defending Wolfowitz on Iraq. I did not want to say, and thus did not say, that this was the worst thing Wolfowitz had ever done, etc.

I do think that the stupidity of it is more obvious than the stupidity of invading Iraq, though of course less horrible in its effects. Similarly, the stupidity of pulling your plugged-in toaster into the bathtub with you is more obvious than the stupidity of invading Iraq, and it would produce the same question from me.

I always like to share the latest outrage with some of my conservative friends at work, just to try and bring them closer to the light. One thing that never fails to amuse me is that while they often agree that a story is outrageous, they react to an entirely different aspect of the story than I might.

What part of this particular saga do you think outraged them the most?

If you guessed "her State Dept. income was tax-free," you win the gold star. :)

I'm wary of returning to a question that got a little weird up there, but the question as to whether the President of the world bank is selected by the White House "by tradition", or by rule ("the USA donates the most") is extremely important. It is just possible we might see how important as part of the fallout from all this.

Is the President of the World Bank American because the USA donates the most money, or does the USA donate the most money because the President is American? This is an important, influential position after all.

I have a suspicion (sorry, not looking for evidence this late at night), that the US share has dropped steadily since the World Bank's establishment. What happened if, say, Japan decided it was feeling charitable and decided to double its share, taking it past the USA? Do you think Washington would applaud Tokyo, slap them on the back, get up out of the president's chair and fetch them a coffee?

Interesting details, the NYTimes has picked up on the fact that this is payback, and that Wolfowitz is widely perceived to have turned the World Bank too blatantly into an instrument of US policy (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/13/AR2007041302172.html).
It always was, just not so blatantly.

Propriety matters, that's what keep gentleman's agreements and traditions functional. When a party abuses those traditions, as many clearly feel this administration has, they get broken.

And just a minor matter, but rather amusing. I'm sure we all figured this, but I find it funny, if not a little irritating, just how pointless and expensive are the sinecures that people like Wolfowitz's squeeze and Cheney's daughters get at the State Department:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/13/AR2007041302172.html

[According the State staff I know, Cheney's real job was spying on the dept.]

Is there anyone in Washington more humiliated than Shaha Riza right now? Publicly exposed to be sitting in an empty room for 2 years, at $200k a year?

"I have a suspicion (sorry, not looking for evidence this late at night), that the US share has dropped steadily since the World Bank's establishment."

Given the trend of world economics since 1945, it would be incomprehensible if it were otherwise.

Here is a handy guide to HTML tags.

You can use "find" to go to "link something."

Here's how you link (you can copy this and paste it as necessary, if you can't remember): <A HREF="URL"> </A>

Put words as necessary between > <

LJ asked my views on Wolfowitz in the Philippines, and I was embarrassed to realize that I had no recollection. (As partial excuse, serious SEAsianists are supposed to focuse on actual Southeast Asians, not on outsiders who exercise influence or make their bones in the region.)

But then I thought, "Why else have I been accumulating books on the country for thirty-odd years? Maybe one of them has something germane!" Three minutes at my bookcase - conveniently adjacent to this computer - and I found the Raymond Bonner, Waltzing with a Dictator: The Marcoses and the Making of American Policy (1987), from which we learn:

1) Yes, Wolfowitz was among those advocating the holding of Philippine elections (in 1986), but as a ploy for Marcos to re-legitimize his regime, which was suffering a giant crisis of credibility ever since the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in 1983. Neither he nor Marcos ever considered the possibility that FM might lose the "snap election." (Marcos was an astute politician, who would scarcely have been convinced by Wolfowitz or anyone else to do something he was not already convinced was in his own interest.)

2) When, however, FM DID lose the election (though not the official count), and the people took to the streets, US policy hung in the balance. State Department professionals, led by George Shultz and Philip Habib, were convinced Marcos was finished, and the US should give him the final shove. Reagan and his hard-core followers(such as Donald Regan) wanted to hang on, out of loyalty if nothing else.

Wolfowitz was, according to Bonner, NOT on the side of the angels in this dispute. He had previously pushed a "tougher line toward Marcos" than Shultz had, but in the event he urged caution, fearful that Reagan and (thus the GOP) would be blamed for a foreign policy disaster if FM fell.

When Leslie Gelb publicly mentioned PW as part of the State Department consensus favoring abandoning FM, PW was incensed, and attempted "to preserve his standing with conservative Republicans, who were still very much with Marcos." He got Evans & Novak to name him as someone who "viewed with disdain" the efforts to "tilt" US policy away from FM; they praised him as one of the "moderate conservatives" [sic] who were "determined not to be the architects of destabilization."

Of course, over the next four days the wheels came off for FM (and US policy), so the State Dept pros finally got Reagan to reverse himself, at a meeting attended by PW (among many others). Ultimately, thus, he was part of the processs by which the US belatedly - but fortunately, almost all now agree - convinced FM to leave Malacanan Palace and avoid civil war. But if Bonner is to be believed (and he's generally pretty reliable) Wolfowitz was far from a hero of that process. He should get no extra bonus points from the Philippines if we are deciding today just how much of a ratbag he is in general.

I hope this helps.

Here's Britannica Online's take on the US participation in the World Bank:

The World Bank is related to the UN, though it is not accountable either to the General Assembly or to the Security Council. Each of the bank's more than 180 member states are represented on the board of governors, which meets once a year. The governors are usually their countries' finance ministers or central bank governors. Although the board of governors has some influence on IBRD policies, actual decision-making power is wielded largely by the bank's 24 executive directors. Five major countries—the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France—appoint their own executive directors. The other countries are grouped into regions, each of which elects one executive director. Throughout the World Bank's history, the bank president, who serves as chairman of the Executive Board, has been an American citizen.

Voting power is based on a country's capital subscription, which is based in turn on its economic resources. The wealthier and more developed countries constitute the bank's major shareholders and thus exercise greater power and influence. For example, at the beginning of the 21st century the United States exercised more than one-sixth of the votes, more than double that of Japan, the second largest contributor. Because developing countries hold only a small number of votes—e.g., in the late 1990s approximately 2 percent of the votes were held by 25 African countries combined—the system does not provide a significant voice for these countries, which are the primary recipients of World Bank loans and policy advice...

What part of this particular saga do you think outraged them the most?

If you guessed "her State Dept. income was tax-free," you win the gold star. :)

Ha ha. For people who have trouble seeing a difference between conservatives and libertarians -- or, at least, the kind of "libertarians" who are actually single-issue obsessors over "economic freedom" -- the libertarians would have applauded her for it.

Given the trend of world economics since 1945, it would be incomprehensible if it were otherwise.

Incomprehensible Gary? Incomprehensible? Does the World Bank consume 75% of the US budget?

I tried to explain why these subtle issues are not "trivial", I don't really think I can make the explanation any plainer. I suspect they are only "trivial" because the point escapes you.

It's ok though, because I strongly suspect this will become a pressing issues in the coming weeks and months, maybe the TV news will be able to help you more than I could.

Bottom line is that the Presidency of the World Bank goes to an American, by tradition, due to the history of the bank, and the fact that the U.S. has always been the largest contributor to the bank.

Well that is a valiant effort at overdetermination, but it's actually still quite wrong.

maybe this is clearer

The simplest explanation for all of this is perhaps Wolfowitz's girlfriend just has him whipped. Maybe she's the best lay he's ever had and he'll cross any barrier no matter how painful to get to that sweet love he needs so desperately?

I can't decide whether the comment above by plane is a sarcastic play on the notion that the simplest way for men to avoid having to take responsibility is always to blame women for being sexual, or if plane is actually being serious.

Why hasn't someone invented an HTML sarcasm tag? (A friend uses Fe inside HTML tags...)


"If you guessed "her State Dept. income was tax-free," you win the gold star. :)"

I think her salary is still paid by the World Bank, though she's seconded to the State Dept. So it "only" comes out of money that would otherwise be used to help the desperately poor. Ha ha ha.

I don't know if this has already been linked to (sorry) but it does explain why the Bank staff were so outraged:

The bank staff was especially infuriated by Wolfowitz's decision to create a powerful internal integrity unit to oversee employees' conduct. It cracked down on such things as travel, closely checking whether employees spent extra days on overseas trips at bank expense. It also increased efforts to assure compliance with a rule against staffers accepting gifts worth more than $50.
Hint to Wolfie: if you're going to crack down on financial corruption, it's a really good idea not to be corrupt yourself.

Then again, it looks like Wolfwowitz, accepting the job at the World Bank, ruined his partner's career:

The [ethics] committee noted that [Riza] was a top contender for a promotion and that "the potential disruption of the staff member's career prospect will be recognized by an in situ promotion on the basis of her qualifying record." The promotion came with a salary increase of $50,000, according to the documents.

Riza eventually accepted reassignment to the State Dept. but made clear that she was not happy. "I have now been victimized for agreeing to an arrangement that I have objected to and that I did not believe from the outset was in my best interest," she wrote last April.

From the wikipedia entry on Shaha Riza:

Riza studied at the London School of Economics before taking a master's degree in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where she studied at St Antony's College. She speaks the Arabic, English, French, Italian and Turkish languages. She specializes in the Middle East and has carried out field research in a number of Arab countries. Immediately before joining the World Bank, she worked at the National Endowment for Democracy, where she set up and led the endowment’s Middle East programs. Since joining the World Bank in 1997, she has worked with the Middle East and North Africa Social and Economic Development Group as the Senior Gender Specialist and then Senior Communications Officer in the Middle East and North Africa Regional Office ( MENA ). In July 2002, she became the acting manager for external affairs and outreach for the World Bank’s MENA region and after serving for three years was on the "short list" for permanent promotion to fill that position.

So in July 2005, when Wolfowitz was offered the job of President of the World Bank, Shaha Riza was shortlisted for promotion. I think it's fair to say that Wolfowitz took the job because he's a Bush administration flunky, not because it's something that he's always wanted to do. And in doing so, he's effectively wrecked Riza's career: she certainly won't get back into the World Bank after Wolfowitz resigns, and even if she did, she is not likely to get back into the job she had, and has lost the seniority she gained. Wolfowitz did this to her.

I have no idea, of course, how far she tried to dissauade him (or if she did) when he joined the World Bank: apparently Wolfowitz assumed that if he formally recused himself from any personnel decisions to be made about her, this would be enough. But it seems clear that she had no wish to be transferred out of the World Bank, and I think it's a measure of Wolfowitz's lack of respect or love for her that he didn't resign from the job himself once it was clear they couldn't both work there.

I've been disgusted by the lack of outrage or even comment about this scandal in the right blogosphere. It is a seamy dereliction of moral responsibility and organizational ethics of the highest order.

Wolfie's lame explanation that he wasn't aware of the bureaucratic conflict rules of the new organization he was heading is beyond ridiculous. It's screamingly obvious that this sweet heart deal was wrong under any protocol for review. Who the f*ck does he think he's kidding?!

Even more sickening, the Bush White House has now issued a "full confidence" statement for Wolfowitz. I guess we are simply to assume that when nepotism benefits YOUR cronies, it perfectly OK, as in, "If it's in my interest, there's no conflict."

Wolfowitz can's exit from public life fast enough in my opinion. The man is an absolute disgrace.

Spartikus - a very belated but fervent thank you for the links.

Gary - In my post, I was just asking for help tracing this, not trying to spread unsubstantiated rumors. There was "no cite" because I was ASKING for a cite. If that wasn't clear, I apologize. Also, I am not convinced that a piece of news broadcast on "Morning Edition" automatically constitutes an unsubstantiated rumor, whatever one wants to say about the mainstream media.

Gwangung - Why am I surprised? Well, not surprised - I agree this kind of thing is SOP - but definitely indignant. When I lose my capacity to be indignant, I will have given up, and that would be bad.

hilzoy: "Barry: I have no (zero) interest in defending Wolfowitz on Iraq. I did not want to say, and thus did not say, that this was the worst thing Wolfowitz had ever done, etc."

I'm puzzled, hilzoy. I didn't think that I was so unclear. I never intended what I wrote to imply in the slightest that you were defending Wolfowitz's actions.

What I was trying to point out was that Wolfowitz moves in an extremely corrupt world, corrupt far beyond our wildest imaginations. Perhaps the analogy of a mafia chief, who's killed a dozen men personally (and hundreds by order), getting in trouble for a misdemeanor, would be more illustrative

Well, bouncing off of Tim F. at Balloon Juice, I'm just gratified that the Wolfy scandal marks a return to traditional values (the ones that made this country great) for the Republican Party:

Paying for a heterosexual relationship with a person over the age of majority.

Poor Rick Santorum should find some comfort in that.

So it "only" comes out of money that would otherwise be used to help the desperately poor.

That is probably not true.

Paying for a heterosexual relationship with a person over the age of majority.

See! There are some morals left in the burned out shell of the Republican party.

Anytime a woman gets a promotion while having an affair in the office with the boss, they should both be fired.

Gwangung - Why am I surprised? Well, not surprised - I agree this kind of thing is SOP - but definitely indignant. When I lose my capacity to be indignant, I will have given up, and that would be bad.

Ah, my misunderstanding.

Yes, this current adminisration has been doing its best to kill the indignantion capacity of the American public...

And I think killing the career of Shaha Riza has been also underreported. I guess we know who wears the pants in that household.

jrudkis: Anytime a woman gets a promotion while having an affair in the office with the boss, they should both be fired.

But it's okay if a man gets a promotion while having an affair in the office with the boss?

Kidding.

The situation here is quite different, of course: Shaha Riza did not get a promotion she was in line for explicitly because she was involved with Paul Wolfowitz and he became her boss. Instead she got moved over into some position at the State department, which - she made clear in the news story I linked to - was not the position she wanted and had earned.

In fact, I suspect that even if she'd broken off the relationship with Wolfowitz the moment he definitely accepted the PoWB job, the promotion she wanted and had worked for wasn't going to happen as soon as Wolfowitz told the World Bank human resources that he was about to become the PoWB and he was involved with her. One reason for a woman to avoid having an affair with the boss is that if it goes badly or things get messed up, it will usually be her career that goes down the tubes, as happened in this case. But in this case, she was initially having an affair with a man who worked for the US government, whom she could not possibly have expected would become her boss: and then he did, and cost her her promotion.

If Wolfowitz had cared for her and respected her and her career, he'd never have taken the WB job.

One reason for a womanperson to avoid having an affair with the boss is that if it goes badly or things get messed up, it will usually be hertheir career that goes down the tubes, as happened in this case.

Fixed.

Anarch, if you can cite occasions when a man has an affair with the boss and then his career goes down the tubes... but in fact, on occasions when I've seen that happen, the man's career has in fact not been negatively affected - and his boss's often has.

It is very specifically true that it's a bad idea for a woman to have an affair with her boss. When we live in a non-patriarchal society, it may be equally true that it's a bad idea for a man to have an affair with his boss.

Looks like the Ethics committee always investigated this before, and didn't find any wrongdoing. (PDF letter from the ethics comitteee to Wolfwowitz)

http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/WolfowitzDoc3.pdf

So why is it a scandal now?

Read the entire article. (Yea it's Fox, but I doubt the actual PDF letters are forgeries.).

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266052,00.html

Also, read this article from The New Yorker on Wolfowitz and his role at the World Bank.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/04/09/070409fa_fact_cassidy/?printable=true

I'd be interested to hear the reforms that Wolfowitz was proposing, and whether they would have been beneficial. But I doubt we'll see those reforms now, for good or ill.

Been away for a freshman camp (I guess it should be freshperson camp) so let me give a belated thanks to Donald and dr ngo for the info. Perhaps one day, I will discover that the members of this admin did something for which I would feel human gratitude, so I continue to wait and wonder.

JeffL: the Fox story doesn't seem to me to touch certain aspects of the story, which are among the most problematic ones. For starters, the Staff Committee alleges that the raise Riza got violated Bank rules. For another, this bit in the Fox story is one of the crucial points (about how Riza's compensation was determined):

"That paved the way for Riza herself to meet with Coll, and that’s where the tale gets murky as to whether Wolfowitz stumbled and overstepped his reach. Rather than allowing Coll to work out a deal with Riza, the records seem to show that Wolfowitz directed it."

No one (to my knowledge) is alleging that the fact that RIza was W's girlfriend, that this presented a problem when W. was named head of the bank, or that this was why she was seconded to the State Dept. were secrets. The problems are rather why she got a salary increase that seems to violate Bank rules, whether W. dictated the terms of that increase, and whether he misrepresented his role.

Now, this wouldn't have been a problem if she got a job in the private sector, right? It's the fact that this seemed to violate Bank rules that's the problem. (That this seemed to have trashed Riza's career for a voluntary appointment, making Wolfowitz pretty much a sexist male pig is secondary....)

"I'd be interested to hear the reforms that Wolfowitz was proposing, and whether they would have been beneficial. But I doubt we'll see those reforms now, for good or ill."

Posted by: JeffL

By this you mean the alleged anti-corruption program of a guy who got his lover a job and a raise?

I really don't care about those 'reforms'; they're probably in Cheney's undisclosed location, between Saddam's WMD's and the Saddam-Bin Laden Liason Office.

There's no open post nearby to slip this in, so I'll just put this off-topic link here om what appears to be a dying thread.

It's about the massacre of Korean civilians in the Korean War (No Gun Ri and others and nothing new about this so far as I can tell, if you've followed the story, except that maybe the Koreans are going to push the US government harder for an acknowledgment of what it did.)

link

Barry: By this you mean the alleged anti-corruption program of a guy who got his lover a job and a raise?

You mean a guy who destroyed his lover's career? She had a job - and was in line for an earned promotion - when Wolfowitz became PoWB. It's explicit she did not want to be transferred over to the State Department away from her job. It's true that destroying a person's career is penny-ante stuff compared to the other things Wolfowitz has done... but this was the career of someone whom he (in principle) ought to have cared for and respected, rather than shattering her professional life and holding her up to ridicule.

Wolfowitz, desperate crook that he is, has requested and has been granted the release of 109 pages of documents covering his latest nefarious deed, what else would a corrupt schemer do? The story line has shifted and the apple cart perhaps turned over.

Unfortunately they are reported by the WSJ and so can be quickly and painlessly discounted, it being very discomforting to have to think and possibly recast our dearly held anger.

But still there may be a passing and troubling moment or two of brief and half hearted reconsideration.

johnt.:

Well, if it's reported on the WSJ news pages, then bring it on. If it's "reported" on the WSJ editorial pages, then it hasn't been reported yet.

By the way, your allergy to monolithic thinking and piling on, not to mention "dearly held anger", seems to go into remission over at "Dearly Held Redstate Anger".

Erratic meds? Or do they only work under threat of instant banning if you tweak the wrong monolith?

Sorry we can't help in that area. Carry on.

Love, JOHNT.

Erratic meds? Or do they only work under threat of instant banning if you tweak the wrong monolith?

Hah.

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