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March 17, 2005
Two Clueless Editorials On Wolfowitz, And NYT Tears Down That Wall!

The New York Times and the Washington Post both editorialize on the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. The Times, following its reporting that trumpets the controversial nature of both Wolfowitz' move and the nomination of John Bolton to the UN, declares that the nomination disrespects the bruised feelings of the international community:

When asked why he had nominated Paul Wolfowitz, a chief architect of the Iraq invasion, as the next president of the World Bank, President Bush repeatedly pointed out that as deputy defense secretary, Mr. Wolfowitz had managed a large organization. Even he seemed slightly flummoxed about why a job that is all about international cooperation should go to a man whose work has so outraged many of the nations with which he will be expected to work.

Even those who supported the goals of the invasion must remember Mr. Wolfowitz's scathing contempt for estimates that the occupation of Iraq would require hundreds of thousands of troops, and his serene conviction that American soldiers would be greeted with flowers. Like the nomination of John Bolton as United Nations ambassador, the choice of Mr. Wolfowitz is a slap at the international community, which widely deplored the invasion and the snubbing of the United Nations that accompanied it.

This follows the ludicrously loaded question asked by Times news reported Elizabeth Bumiller at Bush's press conference, when she asked the President to justify nominating the "architect of one of the most unpopular wars in history". Elizabeth Becker then wrote about the "quiet anguish" in diplomatic circles, as Hugh Hewitt points out, without ever naming a single source. If that gives the impression that the NYT's two Elizabeths act in this case, at least, as an extension of the Gray Lady's editorial board, that appears exactly correct. Despite all claims of an unassailable wall between the Times' news and editorial departments, I think we have a clear case of coordination here.

What really rankles the Times is that events have proven the so-called neocon vision correct. Democracy has proven to have worked in Afghanistan and Iraq and started a wave of popular demand for democratization instead of terrorism in the Middle East. Paul Wolfowitz believes in the power of democracy instead of Scowcroftian realpolitik and so-called stability.

Unfortunately, the Washington Post doesn't do much better in its endorsement of Wolfowitz. The Post recalls, as does the Times, Wolfowitz' work in Indonesia as an excellent track record of using aid to actually improve a situation. However, it makes the same mistake that the Times does:

Moreover, Mr. Wolfowitz will have to modulate his admirable passion for democratization, the idea that has animated his thinking since his experience, as a State Department official, of the people-power uprising against Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The World Bank is a poverty-fighting institution, not a democracy-spreading one, and in the short term the link between development and democracy is tenuous: Some of the greatest recent advances against poverty have come in autocracies such as China and Vietnam. To be true to its mission, and to survive as a financial institution, the World Bank needs to stay active in these undemocratic development success stories.

The Post acts as if it has slept through the past two years, or perhaps longer than that. Why should the World Bank put its efforts into propping up regimes that oppress and starve people for political purposes? Both of the examples given only made progress when they allowed for more political expression, and only to the extent they allowed it. Both countries have committed genocides in the past few decades under the same governments that run the countries now, and China's policies starved millions to death in the name of an iron-clad central control that proved so inept that some of the world's greatest arable land could not feed its own people.

The only way to eliminate massive starvation and to keep aid from flowing into the hands of a select few is to ensure a representative, democratic government for its reception. From Somalia to Ethiopia to Sudan and Iraq, we have seen billions in global aid disappear into tyrannical corruption and redirection while the people which the funds meant to help continue to starve to death. Simply put, aid missions such as those do nothing but ensure starvation and the continuation of tyrannies. The only cure for world hunger is world freedom, where open systems and accountability can force the aid to the right people and allow them to build their own opportunities for success.

That is why Paul Wolfowitz is the right man for the World Bank. Wolfowitz understands this lesson and as the leader of the World Bank will be in the right position to assist the US in creating the conditions for it.

UPDATE: Corrected post to show that Elizabeth Becker wrote the news article this morning, not Elizabeth Bumiller. Thanks go to CQ reader Anachondra for the correction.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 17, 2005 6:25 AM

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» What Is It about this President They Don't Get? from MartiniPundit
The Washington Post is reporting a roundup of European reaction to the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. I tend to lump the World Bank (and the IMF) in the same category as the UN - institutions that cause more harm than good. Be... [Read More]

Tracked on March 17, 2005 10:33 AM

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