Which Think Tank for Wolfowitz?

Paul Wolfowitz is now almost certain to get booted from the World Bank.  Unfortunately, the World Bank itself will probably survive.  (The Washington Post frets today that the Wolfowitz scandal could “jeopardize” efforts to squeeze more bucks out of foreign governments to bankroll more World Bank boondoggles).

So what will Wolfowitz do with himself now that he is again disgraced?

Obviously, this is why God made think tanks.

There is no better place for someone driven out of office under a cloud of infamy to park his butt and restore his credibility.

Will it be the Hudson Institute, the deep-thinking-abode that is providing a desk for Scooter Libby before Libby is sentenced to prison?

Will it be the American Enterprise Institute, which has a natural affinity to Wolfowitz’s chickenhawk warmongering?

Will it be the Heritage Foundation, which has never permitted itself to be prejudiced by a former high-ranking government official’s scandals?

Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here’s a piece I did back before I entered the witness protection program on why the World Bank should be abolished. *****

                   The New York Times
                  July 30, 1989

HEADLINE: The World Bank Lends to Oppressive Regimes

BYLINE: By JAMES  BOVARD;  James  Bovard  is author of ”The Farm Fiasco.”

  Barber Conable, the former New York Congressman, took over the World Bank in 1986 promising to reorganize and redirect it. But, after three years, little has changed and the bank, the largest multilateral institution in the world, continues financing regimes that oppress people and mangle economies.                    
   Last September, Congress approved a 4 billion pledge of callable capital to allow the bank to borrow more money and rapidly increase its lending. Mr. Conable boasts that the bank committed over $20 billion to the third world and East Europe in 1988, and World Bank officials have already spoken of lending up to $24 billion in 1989.

   Unfortunately, the bank is setting new lending records by providing more and more capital to less and less creditworthy regimes. Eight nations have ceased repaying World Bank loans, and the bank has set up a special program to give new money to governments to repay their old loans.

   South Korea continues to receive extensive World Bank aid, even though it is  a major industrial power with a huge manufacturing trade surplus. Yet when Mr. Conable was lobbying for this year’s $14 billion American pledge, he denied that South Korea was receiving any subsidy from the World Bank, because the interest rate charged on the Koreans’ loan was a shade above the bank’s borrowing rate. But all World Bank loans are effectively subsidized by being underwritten by the United States and other Western governments, and Korea has received loans at below-market interest rates from the bank.

   Mr. Conable also misrepresented the nature of the World Bank’s efforts in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Government is brutalizing its own people and doing its best to make Idi Amin look like a moderate. The Government has begun a program to forcibly move three-quarters of the country’s poulation into Government-controlled villages, and last February peasants who resisted the Government’s notorious resettlement program were massacred by the Ethiopian army. Even so, the World Bank has continued providing a huge amount of aid – including over $100 million in l988 – to the Ethiopian Government.

   During the l980’s, the fastest growing part of the bank’s portfolio has been loans to communist governments. Mr. Conable told Congress, ”The World Bank has
been instrumental in encouraging communist governments to decentralize and liberalize their economies and introduce economic market incentives.” But in November l986, an internal review by the World Bank’s North African, Middle Eastern, and European section examined World Bank loans to Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia and concluded: ”The major problem has been the unwillingness of these countries to allow bank involvement in policy issues. Projects have been prepared to meet Five-Year Plan objectives which could not be questioned or analyzed by the bank.” World Bank money has therefore gone to finance the usual priorities of the communist governments.

   The World Bank is priding itself on its structural adjustment program that allegedly exists to finance market-oriented reforms by recipients. But an August 1988 confidential World Bank analysis of the effects of structural adjustment              
lending showed that African countries that received adjustment loans are now doing significantly worse economically than African countries that had not received such loans. Worldwide, among governments that received structural adjustment loans, comparing the period before and after receiving the loans, the World Bank study found that average external debt-export ratios increased from 272 percent to 392 percent, inflation increased in the majority of countries, and the average ratio of government expenditures to gross domestic product increased sharply, from 27.0 percent to 30.5 percent. The rise in government spending was predictable, since structural adjustment loans have been used to increase tax collection, raise civil service salaries and bail out floundering state-owned companies. These efforts epitomize the World Bank’s concept of ”free market.”

   Mr. CONABLE declared in l987, ”Our common goal should be to restore the major debtor countries to full creditworthiness within five to seven years.” At times, he talks as if creditworthiness were a mysterious vapor that the bank can create simply by dispersing more billions to needy governments. Many Latin American countries are not creditworthy largely because they are not trustworthy. Much of their problem is that their own citizens, if they can save  a few dollars, send it out of the country as soon as possible before a politician steals it.                
   The World Bank’s ”have money, must lend” syndrome will continue to be a curse to the world’s oppressed citizens and a threat to financial stability. Mr. Conable should retire as soon as possible.


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16 Responses to Which Think Tank for Wolfowitz?

  1. Lawhobbit May 8, 2007 at 9:42 am #

    Clearly you’re a bitter bitter man, suffering from a bad case of Think Tank Envy. 😉

  2. Mark May 8, 2007 at 9:46 am #

    Why should he not go directly to work for AIPAC?, I mean, gloves off – there’s no need to maintain the charade any longer. Oh, wait a second. They won’t like his girlfriend – strictly speaking, she’s an Arab. Tragic love story, anyone?

  3. Jim May 8, 2007 at 9:46 am #

    LawHobbit – Same thing my therapist said, but you’re both wrong!

  4. Dirk W. Sabin May 8, 2007 at 9:50 am #

    My favorite part of the Structural Adjustment Programs was when they would lend more money to already deep-sixed, tapped out countries in order to pay the vig on loans already made. Loan sharks, Pimps and Drug Dealers often show more pragmatic levels of business-related compassion. The IMF, World Bank every one of their crooked little Statist hearts will occupy one of Dante’s nine rings of hell, hopefully toward the bottom, where it’s hotter and less forgiving.

    Isn’t it nice how the Bank is now saying that the U.S. “will be allowed” to pick the next President to replace Wolfowitz as long as Wolfie goes quickly and quietly. Maybe they can appoint Soprano now that the HBO series is ending. A retiring mobster could use the job , unlike failed government apparatchiks, they usually get trunks in retirement, not think tanks.

  5. Jim May 8, 2007 at 10:02 am #

    But if the Bush administration suspects that its cronies at the World Bank will get sent to hell, they’ll make sure that Halliburton gets the contract to expand the facilities and will probably put in air conditioning and swimming pools.

  6. Dan Coyle May 8, 2007 at 1:23 pm #

    Obviously, Wolfowitz will join… THE DECEPTICONS.

  7. Bob Trumbo May 8, 2007 at 2:14 pm #

    I have a better idea and that is to put Dubya in a thinks tank. Oops I am sorry I forgot George is our first President who regularly demonstrates his inability not to think but to defer to the neocons to think for him.

  8. aeskylos May 8, 2007 at 6:20 pm #

    Gosh, any think tank with a good waterboard would be perfect for Mr. Wolfowitz.

  9. Martin May 9, 2007 at 12:30 am #


  10. Orville H. Larson May 9, 2007 at 12:57 am #

    The World Bank, in its way, is just as crooked as Al Capone’s Chicago or New York City’s corrupt “Tammany Hall” political machine.

    So Wolfowitz is going to get the size-12-up-the-ass treatment from the World Bank? Good. But where will Wolfowitz’s golden parachute carry him? As Bovard speculates, what “think tank” (sic) will take him?

    I’d say the American Enterprise Institute is about the right fit for Wolfowitz. It’s heavy on the neocon warmongering bullshit, and it’s practically an extension of the Bush administration. All in all, a good place for the Wolfman to take it easy for awhile while recharging his neocon batteries.

  11. Dave May 9, 2007 at 12:34 pm #

    Jim, offtopic but thanks for standing in over at Radley’s space. if you’re feeling brave, switch on commenting over there!

    Dave in Fairfax

  12. Tom Blanton May 10, 2007 at 11:33 pm #

    I suppose Wolfowitz could get a gig at the World Sperm Bank, but he would be ideally suited for a position at the World Blood Bank. Neoconmen are very bullish on blood-backed securities.

    Another option for Wolfowitz might be a teaching position at the War College – he is an expert in the area of Justification Theory.

    A position at one of the beltway’s Feith-Based Organizations should not be ruled out. Having Wolfowitz employed at a think tank might result in him thinking and I’m not sure that is a good thing. Having him employed doing something with his hands might be best.

    Maybe the sperm bank is the place for him.

  13. Kevin Carson May 10, 2007 at 11:51 pm #

    How about the Adam Smith Institute? Given their slobbering over Reagan and Thatcher, Wolfie’s probably just their kind of “free market libertarian.”

  14. Jim May 11, 2007 at 7:54 am #

    “Free market libertarian” is a term that has expanded amazingly in the last 5 years…

  15. Jim May 11, 2007 at 7:55 am #

    Tom – the World Bank was paying $200,000 a year for Wolfowitz’s girlfriend, but maybe that wasn’t enough to keep his hands busy.

    Maybe Wolfowitz is one of those Bill Clinton types that talks on the phone while….

  16. The Hague May 16, 2007 at 10:10 am #