Monday, April 23, 2007
The right-wing is rallying around World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz by claiming that his critics disagreed with his anti-corruption agenda. Today, American Enterprise Institute scholar Kevin Hassett writes, “Wolfowitz’s One Sin Was Waging War on Corruption.”This weekend on Bloomberg Television, conservative pundit Robert Novak went further, saying it was “a left-wing conspiracy to get rid of him.” Novak argued that critics simply want to replace an American with a European. He then chided columnist Margaret Carlson, telling her, “I bet you you want to get the Americans out too, so your European buddies can be as corrupt as they wanna be.”
Countering public corruption is a serious issue that unites progressives and conservatives. Fighting it requires moral, competent leaders — qualities which Wolfowitz lacks.
The question hanging over Wolfowitz’s head is whether a man who has made countering public corruption his top agenda item can continue effectively in his post when it has been revealed that he engaged in the type of act he is seeking to end. “Your credibility as a leader in the fight against corruption…is certainly harmed if there’s a perception” of actions inconsistent with good governance, said Frank Vogl, cofounder of the watchdog group Transparency International.
This weekend, a group of 42 former top World Bank executives wrote:
For the Bank to succeed, it must be effective, especially on matters of good governance which Mr. Wolfowitz rightly emphasized as crucial to poverty reduction. What staff objected to was not the principle — which they applauded. Rather it was that the policy was implemented with no consultation, and little transparency or apparent consistency.
Nobody faults Wolfowitz for trying to fight corruption. They have issues with him engaging in it.