The Guardian 23 March, 2005

Bush lines up Wolfowitz
for World Bank President

US President George W Bush's nomination of Deputy Defence Secretary Paul D Wolfowitz as the next president of the World Bank has sent shivers around the world and provoked mixed reactions. The nomination follows on the heels of Bush's selection of an equally reactionary and dangerous John R Bolton as the US's Ambassador to the United Nations.

There is no joy for the peace-loving and poor of the world if he is appointed. The 24 directors of the Bank's Board representing 184 members will vote, in a system where Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Japan combined can outvote the remaining members.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw hailed the nomination: "Paul Wolfowitz is very distinguished and experienced internationally, and if his appointment is confirmed, we look forward to working with him". Not all EU states are so enthusiastic, particularly those that did not send forces to Iraq.

So what experience has this "very distinguished" aspirant to the presidency to offer the World Bank?

  • Under-Secretary of Defence for policy under Bush Senior, developing policy for the 1990 Gulf War

  • Assistant-Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs from 1982 to 1986 and then Ambassador to Indonesia under Reagan. Primary architect of US policy toward Indonesia under Suharto's bloody dictatorship in the 1980s

  • Strong supporter of Indonesian military's (and its chief Wiranto's) illegal occupation of East Timor, which resulted in the deaths of over 200,000 people, and for the US training of TNI (Indonesian military)

  • Leading supporter of US occupation of Afghanistan in 2001

  • A "free market" fundamentalist, hell bent on pushing privatisation and US corporate interests

  • Former Professor of National Security Strategy at the National War College

  • Four years experience as deputy defence secretary under Donald Rumsfeld where he is credited as "architect" of the war on Iraq in 2003 and subsequent occupation

  • In the Pentagon gained considerable insight into the handing out billions of dollars to private contractors without tenders or due accountability corruption unsurpassed in its magnitude

    At the World Bank he would be in charge of the spending of billions and billions of dollars creating new profit-generating opportunities for US corporations.

    Who better to continue the World Bank tradition of privatising education, water, fuel, energy, health and putting them out of reach of millions and millions of people? Who better to oversee the killing of millions more poverty stricken in Africa and elsewhere as preventable diseases, starvation, and all the other plagues that afflict third world countries take their toll.

    Who better able to fill Wolfensohn's shoes?

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