And it’s goodbye from him . . .

wolfie.gifThere’ve been a few departures today but amongst them is Paul Wolfowitz . I often wonder why righties think that post modernity is some conspiracy of the left. Well I don’t really – I guess it’s because so many of the philosophers and cultural commentators who are regarded as leading lights of post-modernism were instinctively left.

Most of the post modern moments I see are enacted by those in power. Though sometimes they’re in power representing parties that think of themselves as left leaning my impression is that the ones representing the right are more audacious. If it is so I always think the answer is implicit in what I think is my all time favourite Oscar Wilde gag – not nearly as famous as many others. In the opening scene of The Tmportance of Being Earnest in which Algernon reflects on the servant’s lax views on marriage “Really, if the lower orders dont set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them?”

John Howard gave us a post modern moment when he brought ministerial responsibility back for a little cameo a month or so ago – a strictly walk-on-walk-off role – in which Ian Campbell resigned for having met with Brian Burke, not because that was the wrong thing but because the Government at the time was arguing that it was the wrong thing for Kevin Rudd to do and Campbell was therefore getting in the way of the ‘optics’ of that campaign. This was explicitly mentioned by the smiling Campbell as he resigned.

Now Paul Wolfowitz has resigned. Of course he did nothing wrong and indeed acted in good faith throughout – but it’s just one of those things. He’s found a way for himself and the institution that he has led to ‘move forward’.

I’ve taken the liberty of interpolating a little explanatory material into the statement announcing his resignation.

Statement of executive directors

Over the last three days we have considered carefully the report of the ad hoc group, the associated documents, and the submissions and presentations of Mr. Wolfowitz. Our deliberations were greatly assisted by our discussion with Mr Wolfowitz. He assured us that he acted ethically and in good faith in what he believed were the best interests of [his girlfriend] the institution, and we [have done a deal with him to say that we] accept that. We also accept that others involved acted ethically and in good faith. At the same time, it is clear from this material that [rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb] a number of mistakes were made by a number of individuals in handling the matter under consideration, and that the Banks systems did not prove robust to the strain under which they were placed [the IT system was a particular problem allowing e-mails to be identified]. One conclusion we draw from this is the need to review [rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb] the governance framework of the World Bank Group, including the role as well as procedural and other aspects of the Ethics Committee. The Executive Directors accept Mr. Wolfowitzs decision to resign as President of the World Bank Group, effective end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2007). The Board will start the nomination process for a new President immediately [but won’t review the governance process which involves the appointment being the gift of the US President which was the problem in the first place].

We are grateful to Mr. Wolfowitz for his service at the Bank. Much has been achieved in the last two years, including [a pay rise for Paul’s girlfriend – rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb – not to mention the invation of Iraq an early victory for Mr Wolfowitz who was not however associated with the Bank at the time]. . . .

It is regrettable that these achievements have been overshadowed by recent events. Mr Wolfowitz has stressed his deep support for and attachment to [rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb] the World Bank and his responsibility, as its President, to act at all stages in the best interests of [his girlfriend] the institution. This sense of duty and responsibility [Paul’s inability to successfully take contracts out on his enemies, righteous and otherwise] has led him to his announcement today. We thank him for this and underscore our appreciation for his commitment to development and his continuing support for [his girlfriend] the World Bank and its mission.

Statement by Paul Wolfowitz

I am pleased that after reviewing all the evidence the Executive Directors of the World Bank Group have accepted my assurance that I acted ethically and in good faith in what I believed were the best interests of the institution, including protecting the rights of a valued staff member [my girlfriend].

The poorest people of the world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa deserve the very best that we can deliver. Now it is necessary to find a way to move forward. [rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb]

There really is a fair bit of rhubarb after that but I’m afraid I haven’t read it.

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JC
JC
14 years ago

No, nick, it’s not so much that he got the bullet that gets a lot of people’s goat up. Its the fact that people like Kofi Anan get a pass from the leftiist press for the stuff that went on under his watch.

Paul W makes a terrible error of judgement despite claims that he did act reasoably above board -see the Wall Street journal’s op-ed – and he gets booted. Who they suggest get the job in his place/ Well none other than kofi Anan’s ring leader who helped coved up his misdeads.

The real story here is not the salary issue over his girlfiend, the real story is how the rat pack at the World Bank are avoiding the necessary changes that would reduce corruption and politicised lending practices.

That’s the real story here. Now lets hope say Paul Volcker gets the nod and not the Kofi’s former Sgt Schultz.

JC
JC
14 years ago

Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s Review and Outlook section discussing the resignation. It also speaks volumes on how the NGO elite go about their “business”.

It’s a real pity Kofi Anan postion was never considered in any doubt.. So “righties” seem to have a reasonable case for screaming out that there are double standards being displayed by the lefty press and their enablers.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010095

SJ
SJ
14 years ago

Joe, the opinion page of the WSJ is meaningless crap written by Bushistas for the exclusive consumption of other Bushistas.

I can’t imagine why you think it would influence anyone in the reality-based community.

JC
JC
14 years ago

Nick, SJ

Coupla things, fellas

1. When it isn’t talking about the war, the WSJ doesn’t get much better. That’s my opinion. Who is there to compare- the New York Times? Comon fellas, at the very least the WSJ has found a buyer and is keeping it’s readership in high numbers, while the NYT is selling the family jewels to stay afloat and fighting shareholder lawsuits as its readership is dwindling down to its core- the Westside of Manhattan. The WSJ has the largest readership of any of the serious papers in the US. I guess it must be those dumbYanks again.

2. It’s important not to just dismiss the content of the piece simply because the Journal doesn’t agree with your ideological views. Hell I even own a subscription and read the NYT. Please whisper that and tell any of my friends and loved ones.

Is the WSJ piece right or wrong? Is it accurate or does it carry Howlers?

3. Nick you started the piece by saying ” I often wonder why righties think that post modernity is some conspiracy of the left.”

I explained to you that the Kofi scandal would give any reasonable person serious doubts about the leftist media and who they hang. Kofi got a pass for what looked like some pretty serious transgressions. In other words in that sacandal, the leftist media remained almost deathly silent about kofi and Sgt Schultz’s shenanigans. What better scandal is there to compare to, as I honestly cant think of one that stands in stark contrast? So excuse me if someone sees black helicopters outside the window when the Kofi and his Sgt Schutlz got a nod and a wink while Paul W gets the size 10 hob nail over trumped up charges.

Maybe both of you could spare a minute and compare.

Nick, you didn’t really explain why you thought Paul W had to go. I suggest a good place to start is taking the WSJ piece apart. Yes I know some people found his neo-conservatism odious and the fact he was close to Bush even worse. But the real point is did he do anything wrong and if he did why did he not get a pass like the UN Sec.? After all Kofis transgressions and managerial incompetence ought to be written up on MBA School as a case study.

Hows this for a laugh, a few of the board memebers have raised Sgt Schutlz as a suitable replacement.

James Farrell
James Farrell
14 years ago

Christopher Hitchens claims that it was the Bank’s Ethics Committe that not only suggested moving Riza out of the Bank, but also recommended the move to the pay rise and promotion.

If this is true, then the argument against Wolfowitz must be that he should have known this was wrong anyway, disregarded the advice and told Riza to resign and head out into the job market. This is what the stuff in the memo about the failure of the Bank’s governance structures seems to imply.

Perhaps a sideways transfer to another organisation would have been all right, but only if the rules allow such transfers without a competitive selection process. In any case the promotion and pay rise does seem dubious. Hitchens implies that they was fair compensation for the inconvenience of being forced to move, but I think he gives the game away by not addressing this issue explicitly.

It didn’t amaze me that Juan Cole at Salon wasn’t especially sympathetic:

The simple fact is that Wolfowitz has throughout his entire career demonstrated a penchant for cronyism and for smearing and marginalizing perceived rivals as tactics for getting his way. He has been arrogant and highhanded in dismissing the views of wiser and more informed experts, exhibiting a narcissism that is also apparent in his personal life…

He goes on to back this up pretty well, but without mentioning the role of the Ethics Committee in initiating the transfer.

So, I’m undecided on this, but lean to Nicholas’s view.

James Farrell
James Farrell
14 years ago

Nicholas, could you please fix that link.

Done – NG.

JC
JC
14 years ago

James
Cole says:

“The simple fact is that Wolfowitz has throughout his entire career demonstrated a penchant for cronyism and for smearing and marginalizing perceived rivals as tactics for getting his way. He has been arrogant and highhanded in dismissing the views of wiser and more informed experts, exhibiting a narcissism that is also apparent in his personal life. Indeed, these tactics are typical of what might be called the “neoconservative style.”

I had to catch my breath here, thinking he was talking about Jim Wolfensohn who was more detested even by the clinton administration who had hired him. But he came from the correct politcal side of the fence so he could get away with it.

Oh and the horror that accoding to Cole, Paul W actually tried to hire his own group of senior executives from the Bush administration. Well, doesn’t every executive hire his own. That’s the first thing one does when going to a new job. Cole obviously has never been anm executive.

look the best thing for the poor countries is to close this operation down asap. The World bank ends up making poor countries poorer. They lend out money, it then gets stolen and deposited in Switzerland while the poor are holding the bag. They get nothing for it and end up owing it back after a hair cut. It’s a disgrace.

SJ
SJ
14 years ago

Joe Says:

Oh and the horror that accoding to Cole, Paul W actually tried to hire his own group of senior executives from the Bush administration. Well, doesnt every executive hire his own. Thats the first thing one does when going to a new job. Cole obviously has never been anm executive.

The standout feature of all of the “senior executives from the Bush administration” is their incompetence, corruption, lack of qualifications and lawlessness. It’s not normal practice in any way at all.

JC
JC
14 years ago

SJ

You really have it in for those guys, don’t you? Don’t you think you’re just a little too sweeping on this.

Look i’m guessing here, would there be 5000 politcial apointments that goes with every administration? No matter how much you hate and detest them they can’t all be lick spanking crooks and thieves.

In any event, for what i can glean Paul W did try to get a broom to the webs that have accumulated in that place over the years.

Listen, I’m serious here . The place ought to be closed down along with the IMF. They guys have caused far more misery than anything good. They lend out money to creeps who then steal it and leave the poor holding the debt can.

The IMF should never be allowed to go near a country as its nothing more than a wrecking ball.

“The standout feature of all of the senior executives from the Bush administration is their incompetence, corruption, lack of qualifications and lawlessness. Its not normal practice in any way at all.”

The Treasury Sec seems like a good guy, his new guy at the DoD seems a little better than the past one.

Don’t worry, SJ, your nighmare will soon be over. It’s a dead administration anyway. Try and hold up old boy/girl there’s not long to go.

SJ
SJ
14 years ago

Joe Says:

Listen, Im serious here . The place ought to be closed down along with the IMF.

Gee, you finally seem to understand that this isn’t about the UN. Sheesh.

Yes, the US has so completely f**ked up its own economy that the institutions it set up, i.e., the World Bank and the IMF are now pretty much complete jokes. The US isn’t in a position to lend any money to anyone.

JC
JC
14 years ago

SJ
No, I agree, it wasn’t about the UN. I was simply explaining that there were bigger fish that could have been fried yet were left alone. So excuse the cynicism when people see the left playing gotcha.

Nick made reference to this by suggesting or implying that the right has a problem dealing with irregularities on their side. I simply brought up to UN/Kofi to argue that it may not be that clear cut.

————-

They haven’t seemed to have screwed up the economy, SJ. The numbers really don’t look bad at all. Growth is now slowing due to the Fed hikes in interest rates that were left too low for too long.

The domestic deficit isn’t at all in bad shape and now is about 1.5 to 2% of GDP- about $250 billion- which isn’t a great deal to worry about in an 11.5 Trillion economy.

The trade deficit is big but the US dollar has weakened a great deal so we may see a turn about as the economy slows and may be seeing a J curve effect in the balance of payments.

Unemployment is about 4.2% (I think) or close to.

Growth as I said is slowing – it’s estimated to be around 2.75% which feels like a recession in that fast growing economy over the past 13 years.

The housing market has taken a bit of a tumble in certain geographic areas but it doesn’t look like at this stage it is not getting out of control although that is something to watch

The stock market is at all time highs as firms profits have been growing.

I can’t really see that many shadows in the horizon here, SJ.

Look I know lots of people don’t like Bush, he isnt my cup of tea either, but the economy isn’t where these guys have failed. It actually looks pretty good.

The fed has room to lower interest rates if things really do start to turn down.

You might not like what I have to say but it doesn’t look all that bad on the economic front. If only European countries should have these “problems”.

Hit him about the war and other issue like the legalities of some of the things they have done, but I don’t see a problem with the economy.

Ted
Ted
14 years ago

JC, this is really exciting. You’ve discovered some “leftist media”. Where can I get hold of it? I’ve only been able to find right-wing propaganda rags.

Speaking of which, it’s so sad to see Greg Sheridan http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21757179-2703,00.html weeping tears of blood for poor Wolfie in today’s Oz. “Dedicated servant of humanity falls victim to a political witch-hunt.” Shero’s always good for a laugh.

Adrien Deume
Adrien Deume
14 years ago

People, please, catch up. I know australia is a long way away, but still.

The WSJ is not credible here, nor was their ‘its a big smear’ editorial of 2 weeks ago.

This is the sequence of events: Wolfie gets the nod, the public knowledge that his companion was working at the bank required, according to bank rules, her not be in line authority to him, he offers to ‘recuse’ himself from personnel decisions regarding her but refuses to refrain from professional contact, ethics committee therefore says she has to be posted out of the bank, tells Wolfie to get it done (the Ethics Committee does not do it themselves, as their brief is only governance, not staff relations), she (the companion) doesn’t like the deal the Bank’s VP of human relations offers her, gets her lawyers involved and makes outlandish demands, Wolfie dictates to the VP of human relations the terms he must accept (almost all she asked for) and refuses to let the Bank’s General Counsel see them (Counsel then resigns) – 18 months later all the sorry detail comes out and Wolfie resigns with the barest fig-leaf of face saving from the Board (“we accept that he says he believed he was acting in good faith” – not even we accept he was acting in good faith, just we accept that is what he says.

If you want the full gory detail go to http://www.worldbankpresident.org

Wolfie’s conduct is sheer blind arrogance, hand in hand with the record number of corrupt jailed Republicans. So, none of this nonsense about ‘two sides to the story’ please.

patrickg
14 years ago

I’m surprised you haven’t turned to the New Yoker article that started this whole thing, JC, it’s far more accurate, in-depth and fair than any WSJ editorial.

Also, the defence that “others did it too, so it’s okay!” doesn’t really hold any water with me. I think you’re grossly underestimating the accountability practices the World Bank has in place.

JC
JC
14 years ago

Ted
If you had the post it would have been clear to you that my comment was in repsonse to the poster’s comment suggesting that right wingers have a tribal attitude. Please keep up with the class.

Pat G

No, I never said it was ok if others do it too. Read my comment again and see if yours makes sense. I’ll read the New Yorker, but I very much doubt it contradicts what that WJS says. How about you read the WSJ piece as well?

I would be happy if any of you could explain what it was that PaulW did wrong.

JC
JC
14 years ago

Adrien

She didn’t make outlandish demands. All she seemed to want was that she not lose out financially as a result of having to move jobs because she was seeing Paul W. She had always received good employee reviews and her bosses spoke very highly of her.

She didn’t have to move but would do so if her compensation was made whole as a result.

I don’t the problem with this.

So much for the left sticking for women and the glass ceiling and all.

Her performance reviews were always glowing. She was a good banker and deserved to get fair compensation and be made whole.

The reason her new job was to pay more was because her salary at the world bank was tax free- as all others are too.

What did she do that was wrong and by extension what did Paul W do that was improper when he went through the proper channels at the bank?

JC
JC
14 years ago

Sorrry 17 should read

If you READ had the post it would have been clear to you

JC
JC
14 years ago

Sorry Nick, i was paraphrsing what i thought you said.

JC
JC
14 years ago

Ok

My understanding from what you wrote is that you thought that “righties” were being too tribal over PW.

This is what you wrote:

“I often wonder why righties think that post modernity is some conspiracy of the left”.

I read to mean that the right thinks the left were trumping up charges against Paul W and it was a conspiracy out to get him.

Isn’t that what you were trying to convey even if it wasn’t said exactly like that? Sorry if I got it wrong.

However it does seem as though you were quite pleased to see the end of him.
Look I don’t give shit about Paul W. Howeever after reading the Wall Street Journal’s two pieces and following the boring details of what happened- and they were boring as most of it was about emails and discussions with personnel heads etc.- I don’t see how he really did wrong.

1. He went to the attendant committee and disclosed his obvious conflict/realtionship and asked for clarification as to how to procceed.

2. He discussed salary details with the HR dept. obviously concerned that she should be made whole for her obvious loss of salary value after going from tax free status to taxable income.

3 The raise etc was confirmed and openly discussed with the relevant people

4. She was a good banker receiving lots of praise so she wasn’t leaving because of any work related problems. She didn’t even have to leave because of the relationship.

5 He is accused of behaving unethically.

I doesn’t look good, does it, Nick?

This does look like a politcal hack job by people at that wretched place who didn’t want to see change. That’s how I see it.

The New York Times and the rest of the pack then go into overdrive hoping to kill another neo-con. I shouldn’t matter what one thinks of his politcal views but this isn’t right.

JC
JC
14 years ago

1. Fair enough, Nick. I understood you post to be about dissing Paul W and the way righties were trying to salvage him.

2. The account I linked to and my explanation further down is an account of events that as I understand them. As I said, i don’t see how his actions could have risen to breaches of ethics and I think it had more to do with the fact that he was trying to clean house. It has also been alleged that certain members of the board were getting pissed that he wanted to tie loans to human rights improvements- a sure enough way to get oneself fired from the world Bank if there ever was a reason.

3. Kofi got a pass and he didn’t, so how much is it about politics?

4. I read enough about the issue and when emails to HR etc. get to be the main topic it’s hard to really read more than a couple of stories on the subject without turning into a stiff. It could end up killing you from boredom.

5. I did ask first for people to explain where the WSJ was wrong on the subject.

JC
JC
14 years ago

Ha. I onve met Bill Easterly years ago. He’s good guy from my recollection.

His piece in the Wash Post seems about right but a little soft in terms of the banks future. It’s a dud. It can’t be saved and it would be far more honest if the money used to make loans was simply spent as aid money even with the problems that ends up causing. Far too much money goes in corrupt pockets and the poor end up having to pay back the loans (albeit at a discount). Then the same old cycle starts again (I said this before).

It’s obvious that when you have so many and contradictory objectives and cross currents there’s no way loans can be smoothly handled. Its a mash of third world politics.

There are more than enough people in that place who abuse the credit process and try to fork over money to shameful regimes.

It’s far better to go to the private market for loans. Investors can make their own minds up about the risk and if the money is misspent it becomes the investors problem and not the poor. Moral hazard doesn’t work.

Thanks for the links

Adrien Deume
Adrien Deume
14 years ago

JC is being disingenuous in the extreme. What normally happens when someone gets moved out of a job because their companion gets appointed boss (if those are the rules in that particular organization) is there is a civilized discussion with Human Resources which does their best to see you right. This being the World Bank they do indeed make a generous offer, but if you’re convinced you are a ruler of the universe to whom the normal rules don’t apply, you bring your high powered lawyer in, demand not just a promotion but a pay rise as well, extra pay rises guaranteed every year for as long as the boyf holds on to his job, all for someone who only got interviewed for the job she acted in as a courtesy and whose job performance was based on who she knew not what she did and happens to be one of the only muslim woman to be found at the right Washington cocktail parties who is willing to buy the neo-con self-deceptions (and break your employer’s rules by lucrative moonlighting for the boyf in his previous job gilding the invasion’s figleaf) – and hence she complains loudly to the Board that boo-hoo they’ve all been meanies to her by not promoting her in the past just coz they’re anti-strong-muslim women. And then the boyf, and this is the real killer – cuts the Bank’s legal advisor out of the loop thereby removing the fundamental element of internal oversight, and a smoking gun if ever I’ve seen one.

But anyhoo, to Nicholas’ main point. He is absolutely right.

The Board’s statement:

“He assured us that he acted ethically and in good faith in what he believed were the best interests of the institution, and we accept that.”

ought immediately be inscribed in the annals of corporate governance as the very model of the backhanded dismissal missive. It deserves to go alonside other classics:

“Will no one rid me of this trublesome priest” Henry II

“If they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too.” Paul W

JC
JC
14 years ago

1. There was no requirement for her to leave her job, Adrien. None whatsoever.

2. Her employee reviews had always been glowing

3. She was receiving a tax free salary because of the special tax exempt status of the Bank- as everyone else at the bank does.

4 if she wasn’t compelled to leave but was doing so to be reasonable about things why would she want to lose the value of her tax free status? Would you? Would anyone? Wouldn’t you negotiate the drop in after tax income as part of the exit package if you had done a good job, it was recognized that you were doing a good job and weren’t required to leave because your invlovement in a perosnal relationship.

5. So it’s her fault now I see for being Muslim.

I see you don’t like her method of negotiation, you don’t like she is an uppity westernized muslim, you don’t like she is a woman and you don’t like the cocktial parties she attended.

So tell waht exactly did she do wrong. I notice there is no mention or Paul W in you lastest missive which must mean you have accepted the fact he did nothing wrong either.

JC
JC
14 years ago

The part you left out was that the Boyfriend’s legal advisor had originally oked the exist details. So I don’t get the part where you say the general counsel was left out the loop. He was in the loop in the first place.

Like you I guess he just couldn’t stomach neo-cons either.

Adrien Deume
Adrien Deume
14 years ago

JC – now you are just being completely wilful with the facts.
1. The Bank’s rules are clear – you are not allowed to be in supervisory line with someone with whom you are having a sexual relatioship. The problem was Wolfie’s not hers, but if he wanted to take the job as Bank President then she had to be moved out of a line relationship – the Bank did offer her positions in independent units that did not come under the President’s line authority, but she did not want to take them, hence the secondment option.
2. If her employee reviews were glowing I find it hard to understand why she then felt the need to appear before the Board to testify that her supervisors had previusly held back her career advancement out of ideological bias (the reason she did so was to justify the gross increases she had been given at Wolfie’s command).
3. Don’t quite get your references to tax free status – that has never been one of the issues, the fact is her pay was still going to be paid by the Bank as a secondment – at issue were the gross increases (multiple jumps in pay grade plus guaranteed promotions etc.).
4. Of course the basic ethical issue was not her, but what Wolfie did on her behalf.
5. And you are flat out wrong about the General Counsel reviewing her exit package – his testimony to the Board is public and also the most devastating part of the testimony of the VP Human Relations was that Wolfie directly instucted him that the General Counsel was not to be given the details of the package.

Maybe you are confused between Wolfie’s personal lawyers he hired to negotiate his contract in the first place, and the Bank’s General Counsel, a confusion between personal and institutional interests which might go a long way to explaining why you think Wolfie’s actions are excusable.

JC
JC
14 years ago

Adrien

Who exactly do you wish to discuss here, Wolf or his girlfriend. You need to make up your mind.

Getting stuck into uppity female muslims who want more money is hardly going to make yuou case.

JC
JC
14 years ago

Nick

I did. how about you responding to mine.

See above, near the top of the thread where I asked you to please explain what is wrong with the WSJ piece.

You then proceded to give me the reasons why you think that best business related newspaper in the world isn’t any good…… a couple of Bloggers told you so.

Now you’re asking me to respond to Adrien’s ignoring the points I have made.

How about you telling us what you think is wrong.

If you can’t, I’ll take it that you’re not interested in honest discourse but just deleriously happy the boot was sunk into another Neo-con(vict).

——————

Adrien’s comment are not facts. They are mostly ideology cloaked up as facts.

Like this:

“Wolfies conduct is sheer blind arrogance, hand in hand with the record number of corrupt jailed Republicans”

There’s actually one- Scooter Libby. Adrien must have had a dream last even thinking the enter cabinet was jailed.

After I subsequently responded to the comment where that astonishing sentence came from Adrien then proceeded to tell us that PaulW’s girlfriend was some sort of uppity muslim woman, implying it was her problem.

So Nick, ar you going to ignore the very first request?

JC
JC
14 years ago

Nick

any reason you took away the 16 april WSJ Review and Oulook Op-ed?

I’m sorry if it was too large but could at least have linked to it as it was pretty pertinent to the discussions we have been having