Paul Wolfowitz is and always will be the honest face of the World Bank. True, he may have been forced to resign his presidency for using his influence to post his girlfriend with Liz Cheney – that’s right, the World Bank employee with whom Wolfowitz was intimate was delegated to “work” with the vice president’s daughter in the U.S. State Department’s office of nepotism and related affairs. But that bit of petty corruption only confirmed the extent to which he was World Bank material. And his eminent departure from one of the creepiest of global institutions will leave it without an appropriate creep-in-chief.
As the poet, anti-apartheid campaigner and long-time champion of African development Dennis Brutus says, “Wolfowitz’s arrogance, his insistence that any problems were the result of his colleagues’ actions, never his own, were a perfect match for the World Bank, which has always refused to take responsibility for its own disastrous policies and projects, laying blame instead with the borrowing country, even though the common denominator in so many botched projects, violations of human rights, and failed policy packages has been the presence of the World Bank. The combination of war and economic crimes for which he was responsible, made Wolfowitz an appropriate symbol for the institution.”
Brutus is so right. Wolfowitz and the World Bank were made for one another.
When he had finished scheming to – in his words — “take proper advantage” of the 9-11 attacks by creating the quagmire that is Iraq, there really was no place for Wolfowitz to go but the World Bank. He had the perfect resume: As blind to the suffering of others as George Bush, as foul-mouthed as Dick Cheney, as manipulative as Karl Rove, as delusional as Donald Rumsfeld, he was perfectly qualified for the move from making war on the poor with bombs to making war on the poor with “structural-adjustment” policies.
“The failures of the World Bank’s neo-liberal ideology, such as privatization of basic services, user fees for primary education and health, and the rapid deregulation of trade and investment, have been measured in death, marginalization, and impoverishment,” explains Kenyan activist Njoki Njehu, one of many critics of the bank’s devastating policies in Africa. “Let’s hope people look beyond the sensational scandal to see just how right Wolfowitz really was for the World Bank.”