Corridors of Power: Wolfowitz, Sarkozy and an EU Open House

Corridors of Power: Wolfowitz, Sarkozy and an EU Open House

Editor's note: Corridors of Power is written by veteran foreign correspondent and WPR editor-at-large Roland Flamini, and appears every Monday.

AFTER WOLFOWITZ -- A senior World Bank staffer says that while the squalor of Paul Wolfowitz's arrangements on behalf of his innamorata got all the publicity, it wasn't the main grievance inside the agency. "The bank is not Sodom and Gomorrah, but it's not monastic either," the source said, "and it has its share of romantic relationships." What riled the staff more was (1) Wolfowitz's reliance on a team of close political advisers whom he brought in from the Bush White House and the Defense Department, and (2) that Wolfowitz had superimposed the Bush philosophy of democracy uber alles over the international bank's more complex lending criteria and aid strategy.

A New York Times editorial last week mentioned three leading U.S. candidates for Wolfowitz's job: Robert Zoellick, well respected former deputy secretary of state, Robert Kimmitt, a former diplomat who is now deputy secretary of the Treasury, and Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan's capable former finance minister who holds U.S. citizenship as well as Afghan -- and was already mentioned for the post in Corridors two weeks ago. But while the United States is the World Bank's largest contributor, it is not larger than the European Union. The World Bank staffer says a lot of people in the institution are still hoping the traditional sequence of U.S. presidents will be broken, and a non-American can be appointed.

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