Thursday, March 17, 2005

Hawk with a Hearth

The nomination of Paul Wolfowitz – presently US Deputy Secretary of Defense - to be the new head of the World Bank has not been met with universal acclaim.

That’s understandable. The public image of him across the world is the image of a man driving the invasion of Iraq and belligerent US rhetoric in other cases as well.

Invading other countries is not seen as a core business for the World Bank, and his qualifications are accordingly questioned.

But I’m convinced that Paul will be an excellent head of the World Bank. He is far more of an open-minded intellectual than most people are aware of, has dealt extensively with issues of development not the least in Southeast Asia, and would bring both new political gravitas and renewed intellectual strengths to the World Bank.

That he is deeply committed to the values of freedom and democracy, and the transformation of authoritarian and ossified regimes in that direction, can hardly be seen as anything but a plus.