Thursday, March 17, 2005
The Eternal Challenge
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Top Pentagon official Paul Wolfowitz, picked to head the World Bank, was praised for his experience in international affairs and slammed for his role in Washington's Iraq strategy.
International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo Rato welcomed his prospective counterpart as someone with "an impressive record of public service with extensive experience of management and of international affairs, in particular in Asia and the Middle East."
"I will look forward to working with him," Rato said.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Wolfowitz, 61, was experienced and distinguished internationally and that London would be happy to work with him if he is confirmed by the World Bank's board.
Bush said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's deputy would make a "strong president" of the World Bank. Wolfowitz would replaced James Wolfensohn, who will step down in June after a decade on the job.
The World Bank's Board has received a nomination from the United States for the Presidency of the Bank of Dr. Paul D. Wolfowitz, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense. The Executive Directors of the Board, who are charged under the Bank's Articles of Agreement with the selection of the Bank's President, are in the process of consultations with the member countries they represent. An official announcement of the outcome of the deliberations and actions of the Executive Directors will be made as soon as a decision has been reached.
President Bush said today that he would nominate Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense and one of the chief architects of the invasion of Iraq two years ago, to become president of the World Bank.
The announcement, coming on the heels of the appointment of John R. Bolton as the new American ambassador to the United Nations, was greeted with quiet anguish in those foreign capitals where the Iraq conflict and its aftermath remain deeply unpopular, and where Mr. Wolfowitz's drive to spread democracy around the world has been viewed with some suspicion.
In Washington, the appointment removes Mr. Wolfowitz from the president's inner circle and a skilled bureaucratic in-fighter from the Pentagon. It clears the way for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to take further control of Iraq policy, and opens the field for possible successors to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, whose future is a constant source of speculation in Washington.
The World Bank is the institution that allocates the resources and sets development policy for much of the third world, and Mr. Wolfowitz's appointment to succeed James D. Wolfensohn raises questions about whether Mr. Wolfowitz's ideological views will be reflected in development decisions. But as American ambassador to Indonesia from 1986 to 1989, Mr. Wolfowitz developed a passion for development and aid issues, and Mr. Bush said today that "Paul is committed to development," adding, "He's a compassionate, decent man who will do a fine job."
Despite the displeasure of some diplomats who had hoped that the administration would appoint a person without the almost radioactive reputation of a committed ideologue, they said that they expected Mr. Wolfowitz to receive the approval of the World Bank's board of directors in time for Mr. Wolfensohn's departure in May.
Karen Hughes's new Washington assignment - to improve America's image abroad - may be the ultimate test of loyalty to a president who seems to value that trait almost above all else.
Reaction around town to Ms. Hughes's nomination as undersecretary of State for public diplomacy centered on one theme: its improbability. Hughes, after all, has been President Bush's closest confidante and communications guru since his days as Texas governor - but focused largely on domestic issues. If Karl Rove, the other pillar of Bush's political brain trust, aims more at promoting a conservative agenda, Hughes is the one known for nudging the president back toward the center, by promoting such themes as "compassionate conservatism."
Today, I am pleased to announce that President Bush intends to nominate Karen P. Hughes as the State Department's new Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy. Karen will have the rank of ambassador and, if confirmed, she will undertake a broad review and restructuring of our public diplomacy efforts. I can think of no individual more suited nor more suited for this task of telling America's story to the world, of nurturing America's dialogue with the world and advancing universal values for the world than Karen Hughes. She will be an outstanding leader of the fine men and women of the State Department who are devoted to these critical tasks.
My good friend Karen and I have traveled together with the President to many foreign capitals and she and I have worked closely on key foreign policy issues from Afghanistan to peace in the Middle East, from the President's efforts to combat HIV and AIDS to the President's agenda to encourage democratic reform and prosperity among many other issues.
Karen's communication skills and her foreign policy experience are certainly well known, but I believe the most important attribute that she brings to this job is her strong belief that almost anything can be accomplished when different people from different cultures join together to change the world for the better.
Condoleezza Rice, Announcement of Nominations of Karen P. Hughes as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and Dina Powell as Assistant Secretary of State For Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, March 14, 2005
Secretary Rice emphasized the time for diplomacy is now. Through greater use of today's technologies, the internet and satellite television, through our vital people-to-people exchanges, through more creative public diplomacy programs, we will partner in common cause with other countries to defeat propaganda with truth, to send a message of solidarity to brave men and women who are taking great risks for their own freedom, to foster greater tolerance in a world too often torn by ethnic strife, to offer life-giving information and medicine to those with diseases, to offer life-saving help to victims of hunger and other national disasters.
I'll never forget visiting a literacy program overseas where young women were learning to read and I listened through a translator as a 13-year-old girl told me of her dreams of becoming a writer and her belief that women should be able to go to school and work and choose their own husband. And as I was leaving, the translator stopped me and said she wants to tell you something else. Please don't forget them, she said. Please help them live in freedom. Freedom is the universal hope of the human heart, instilled not by any country or government but by the Creator, who cares for each of us and wants us to learn to care for one another.
We are witnessing freedom's power across the world in the courage of the Iraqi people, who went to the polls despite threats against their lives, in the voices of people in Lebanon insisting on an end to occupation. I have watched President Bush make some very difficult decisions in the cause of freedom. Thanks to his leadership and his policies, we find ourselves at an amazing moment of opportunity.
Karen Hughes, Announcement of Nominations of Karen P. Hughes as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and Dina Powell as Assistant Secretary of State For Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, March 14, 2005
First of all, I think people -- I appreciate the world leaders taking my phone calls as I explained to them why I think Paul will be a strong President of the World Bank. I've said he's a man of good experiences. He helped manage a large organization. The World Bank is a large organization; the Pentagon is a large organization -- he's been involved in the management of that organization. He's a skilled diplomat, worked at the State Department in high positions. He was Ambassador to Indonesia where he did a very good job representing our country. And Paul is committed to development. He's a compassionate, decent man who will do a fine job in the World Bank. And that's why I called leaders of countries and that's why I put him up.
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