More from Daniel, one of our political advisors, on changes at the World Bank:
Bush has done it again. The US President has put loyalty ahead of merit by choosing Robert Zoellick as the new head of the World Bank. I have known Zoellick for a while. He was Bush's trade representative from 2001-2005. In that role, he pursued free trade at all costs at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2003, he started a WTO attack on Europe's genetic engineering restrictions.
In 2003, at the failed WTO talks in Cancun, Mexico, Zoellick famously threatened developing countries, that the US will pursue market access for US corporations to developing world markets in whichever way they see fit. I remember listening to his press conference with a certain shiver running down my spine.
If Zoellick wants to be more than another Bush disaster on H Street (the World Bank address in Washington), he must put a line under this past and pursue sustainable development at the World Bank. As a start, Zoellick must end the World Bank's support for climate-damaging fossil fuel energy projects and shift its entire energy spending to clean renewable energy sources and demand-side energy efficiency.
To be taken seriously on climate change, Zoellick must also ensure that the Bank works to stop the expansion of industrial logging in tropical countries and promotes development solutions that do not lead to deforestation.
Zoellick is not the right man for the Bank. But if he does those two things, he will at least have proven to be a better choice than Wolfowitz.