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Wolfowitz tapped for World Bank
Deputy defense secretary, one of the main advocates of Iraqi war, will need European confirmation.
March 16, 2005: 1:39 PM EST
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz will be nominated for World Bank president by President Bush, according to an administration official.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz will be nominated for World Bank president by President Bush, according to an administration official.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush said Wednesday that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is his choice to be president of the World Bank.

President Bush outlined the reasons he chose Wolfowitz in a news conference Wednesday, calling him "a man of good experience."

"He helped manage a large organization," said Bush "He's a skilled diplomat. Worked at the State Department in high positions -- ambassador to Indonesia, where he did a very good job representing our country."

But critics said Wolfowitz's hawkish views on U.S. foreign policy -- such as the promotion of the Iraqi war -- made the career diplomat, policy wonk and scholar a poor choice to head such an international body.

Wolfowitz's name was mentioned as a possible World Bank pick a few weeks ago, but the administration attempted to distance itself from that after reports of grumblings from the Europeans.

In addition to Wolfowitz's strong support for the Iraq war, Steve Radelet, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a former undersecretary at the Treasury, said last week the Europeans were nervous that Wolfowitz would prove similar to former World Bank head and Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

Radelet said McNamara was accused of channeling aid to nations based not on need but on their support of U.S. policy.

Although not a formal code, traditionally the United States chooses the head of the World Bank while the Europeans pick the head of its sister organization, The International Monetary Fund. Both the U.S. and the Europeans have veto power over each other's choices.

Before coming to the Pentagon Wolfowitz served as dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University in Washington.

From 1989 to 1993, Wolfowitz served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the first Bush administration.

During the Reagan administration, Wolfowitz served for three years as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, and before that he was an official at the State Department, according to a Defense Department Web site.

The World Bank, which gets its money from donor nations in the developed world, provides big loans to lesser-developed countries for modernization projects.

The bank has been criticized in the past for supporting grand schemes -- like airports or dams -- that failed to produce the intended economic boost and instead further burdened the borrowing country with debt and interest payments.

But the bank has tried to improved its image in recent years, both by exercising more discretion in the projects it supports and by forgiving some of the debt owed to it.

An earlier version of this story said that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz taught at The Johns Hopkins University. He was in fact the dean of the university's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Click here to go to the corrected paragraph.  Top of page

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