Wolfowitz to Resign Today

Kirit Radia and Brian Ross report that Paul Wolfowitz will resign as president of the World Bank later this afternoon.

Paul Wolfowitz Photo World Bank officials say the bank’s board is completing an “exit strategy” that will allow World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz to resign this afternoon and “still save some face” over the issue of his efforts to seek a promotion and pay raise for his girlfriend at the bank. The officials say the bank’s board will accept Wolfowitz’s resignation but will also acknowledge that the World Bank’s Ethics Committee bears “some responsibility” for giving him bad advice on the issue of his girlfriend.

The decision is likely today, officials say, because Wolfowitz had been scheduled to leave tonight for a European trip.

Wolfowitz has handled the matter very poorly, both internally and externally, and his eventual resignation was a foregone conclusion. Indeed, I predicted on another site that he would resign over the weekend in the face of mounting scandal and being literally booed off the stage by his subordinates; that was a month ago.

The irony is that, while Wolfowitz has many faults, his conduct vis-a-vis Shaha Riza’s employment status appears to have been perfectly above board. That the Ethics Committee bears “some responsibility” here wildly understates their near-total culpability. This was not, however, Wolfowitz’ first rodeo. He should have had a better understanding of rules by which the “appearance of impropriety” game is played.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Or, simply prepare yourself for a lot of kissing of the backsides of the one-worlders that run the place.

  2. legion says:

    Even if that were a given, Bithead, how could an experienced politico like Wolfowitz not know how to ‘play ball’ and with whom? Would you wear a ‘Free Mumia’ t-shirt to your first day on the job as head of the NRCC and be surprised at the friction?

  3. The World Bank’s bureaucracy shows itself to be yet another transnational institution that apparently believes it answers to no one but itself. Good luck to the next poor sod who tries to implement any significant reforms there.

  4. Anjin-San says:

    I am afraid it will take more than “Christopher Hitchings says so” to get anyone to buy the idea that Wolfowitz was above board on this.

    Even if you do belive him to be innocent of any wrongdoing, he was a fool to put himself in this position. A man with his experience should know better then to provide his enemies with any ammo to use against him. I can only attribute this kind of miscalculation to a very high level of arrogance…

  5. Tlaloc says:

    Capone probably shouldn’t have gone down for tax evasion but he deserved to go down hard.

    The real question should be “when does the grand jury convene for wolfies role in twisting the Iraq intelligance?”

    🙂

  6. legion says:

    The World Bank’s bureaucracy shows itself to be yet another transnational institution that apparently believes it answers to no one but itself.

    An interesting point, Charles… who exactly should a transnational organization answer to? The UN?

  7. My point is that the will of the elected leaders who nominally control these institutions through the leaders they appoint appears to be of little consequence if the bureaucracy can so easily dispatch anyone they don’t like, regardless of the merits of their dislike. Who works for whom? And what are the checks and balances on their actions?

    As for the UN itself, it is something of a unique instance of a similar problem writ large, though the dynamics are a bit more complex.

  8. legion says:

    I wouldn’t exactly call this “easily”. Also, Wolfowitz says he didn’t break any rules; a panel of the governing board says he did. There _is_ a procedure here – it’s just producing a result you don’t like.

  9. Tano says:

    “Even if you do belive him to be innocent of any wrongdoing, he was a fool to put himself in this position. ”

    Actually, it was Bush who was the fool for putting him in that position. The appointment of Wolfie was a deliberate poke in the eye to the international community.

    Lets not forget that, whatever your own beliefs on the subject, that the “international community” was very opposed to the American invasion of Iraq, and Wolfie was, of course, seen as one of the chief architects. Bush appointed him not for any legitimate reason, but to make a petty point. I’m not saying that Wolfie is not a very smart guy, capable of running an interanational organization. But Bush wanted to make a point, and it should not be surprising that he gets some pushback.

    Of course the World Bank itself, and the international community as a whole was going to pounce on anything that could undermine Wolfie. The issues here have little to do with the Bank, or with the girlfriend.

    Maybe now Bush can focus on appointing someone who has the stature and reputation to be an effective leader of the institution.

  10. legion says:

    Maybe now Bush can focus on appointing someone who has the stature and reputation to be an effective leader of the institution.

    You so crazy!

  11. Anjin-San says:

    Tano,

    Actually, the “position” I was referring to was the apparent conflict of interest, not the job he holds. But, your point is well taken.

  12. There was also a procedure for soliciting advice from the World Bank’s Ethics Committee, which Mr. Wolfowitz did. Mr. Wolfowitz now finds this cloud hanging over him because he followed that advice. Every decent summary of this mess I’ve seen acknowledges this.

    I have no idea whether Mr. Wolfowitz was a good choice to run the World Bank, or still can effectively manage it going forward, even assuming that there is sufficient goodwill to allow him to do so. I’m not defending or castigating him, and, yes, I realize that many other commentators have no such qualms about their estimation of his abilities or lack thereof (which is quite revealing in its own way). What I am noting is how it looks like he was set up for a fall because some folks don’t like his politics, just as some folks can’t keep themselves from using cutesy, derogatory names for the people they don’t like, because, who needs to be civil to them. But I digress.

    Are there any press reports that actually touch on what Mr. Wolfowitz has done, or not done, since he has been in charge at the World Bank? Because from my vantage point here in the hinterlands it all seems to be about something else entirely.

  13. graywolf says:

    This guy never should have left the classroom.
    The grass dies wherever he walks.

    He is just more proof of the unending incompetence that reigns inside the beltway.

    I wonder how many hundred stupid bureaucrats and inane politicians and thieving beltway bandits my tax dollars are supporting.

    I pay a lot of taxes.