[Signed] Chicago Dan
Yes, this has been a bad month for the Mercantile School of foreign policy. But if what you're implying is true, think what that means. The World Bank and the United Nations were supposed to be US foreign policy instruments. While Americans were sound asleep, the Franco-German alliance in the European Union walked off with them. If Bush felt the need to agree to back the EU's offer of concessions to Tehran in exchange for muted resistance to the Bolton and Wolfowitz nominations, that would show how much ground the US lost during the past 15 years.
However, there shouldn't be too much resistance to Wolfowitz, if European and Japanese big-ticket contractors stop and think it through. Iraq needs a lot of reconstruction and development--and not penny-ante projects. They need to rebuild the entire country. With Wolfowitz at the Bank's helm, it's guaranteed that big-ticket Bank loans for infrastructure projects will flow in great number to Iraq.
That's the kind of work the World Bank loan model was created for. And because Iraq will soon be filthy rich from oil revenues, they can be expected not to default on the loan payments. So the Half a Bridge rule would not apply to Iraq. The Bank would lend enough money so that the projects would be top-quality.
Once the Iranians see what's going on in Iraq with Bank construction and development, they will be green with envy. In that event, all they have to do is get rid of their Taliban-syle government and give up the nuke program, and they can get in on the bonanza.
As for the hundreds of millions of the poorest in African countries--as Pundita has observed many times, the Bank was not set up to be an aid organization. Clean up the Bank and let it do what it was designed to do. The Bank can help, but rely primarily on other organizations, including USAID, to rescue the poorest.
As for Annan, that buzzard is lucky he's still got his job. He should chalk up the win to Bush over the matter of Wolfowitz.
As for the Merchantile School, Shaheen Fatemi of the American University in Paris has some choice words for the Brussels crowd in his essay Whose Side is Europe On?
Let's hope Secretary Rice sees Dr. Fatemi's essay and takes special note of the subtext in his observation:
In the collective memory of the Iranian people the images of European leaders happily and proudly posing in pictures with the criminal leaders of the Islamic Republic are bitter souvenirs for the future.With an eye to the future, there should be fewer concessions to Brussels. It's not only the eyes of Iranians that are upon us. The whole world is watching to see if we will stand behind our fine words about democracy.