Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bush Plays It Safe: Zoellick To World Bank

Yes, John Bolton would have been the more fun nominee, but W. picked a safe and solid candidate in Robert Zoellick, who will be officially announced tomorrow as Paul Wolfowitz' replacement at the World Bank.

Here's a fine summary of the man from WSJ:
Robert B. Zoellick served as U.S. trade representative -- a cabinet-rank post -- during Mr. Bush's first term. The 53-year-old was considered for the World Bank job the last go-round, before moving to the State Department, where he served as deputy secretary, at the start of Mr. Bush's second term. Mr. Zoellick is regarded as a tough-minded but nonideological advocate for U.S. power. As U.S. trade representative, Mr. Zoellick often acted as an international healer in the wake of tumultuous events and has pushed trade liberalization in the Arab world.

The perennial candidate for many high-profile Washington jobs, his name was floated as successor to World Bank President James Wolfensohn in 2005. In his resignation letter as the No. 2 person at the State Department, Mr. Zoellick said he was particularly proud of having "reframed" the administration's approach toward China. He joined Goldman Sachs in 2006 as a managing director and chairman of the firm's international advisers and was expected to play a central role in advising Goldman's global strategy.
Democracy Arsenal has a more succinct summary:
Googling readers will already know, or I can save you the trouble, that he's a realist's realist...
Experience in the Arab world is a plus, as is the assurance that he'll stand for America's interests. Also a great relief is that there's no apparent connection between the man and George Soros.

What's missing from all the summaries I've read so far is what cred he's got in the area of his most important task: Rooting out corruption and streamlining the bank. We know such stuff can get you fired from the World Bank (forget all the girlfriend smoke and mirrors!), so hopefully Zoellick has the stamina and smarts to take on the World Bank staff and its more corrupt participating states.

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