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The White House promises to come up with a candidate to run the World Bank quickly. The top two choices, say my generally well-informed sources, are Robert Zoellick and Tony Blair, with occasional thought given to three other candidates. In my sense, either of these two gentlemen would meet the essential criteria for the post–gravitas and political clout. But is this a sensible way to go about filling this post? Seeing it as a bauble to be dolled out to a faithful political lackey?
The World Bank means little for the United States. But for two billion people living in the developing world, it can make a vital difference–the difference between clean water and death, for instance. The interest of these nameless millions should be weighed in this choice. And that points elsewhere: to a person with a good grounding in macroeconomics, a good understanding of finance, but real expertise in development.
There is one supremely qualified candidate in the wings, and the New York Times correctly identified him. His name is Ashraf Ghani, an American citizen who most recently served as Minister of Finance in Afghanistan. His stewardship of development economics in Afghanistan was one of that country’s few brilliant moments in recent years. He would be a choice worthy of the institution.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Amount New York City spends each year on air, bus, and train tickets to send homeless people out of town:
The Laboratory of Neurophenomics described a possible blood test for suicide.“Suicide,” said the laboratory’s director, “is a big problem in psychiatry.”
Beijing set its air-quality target for 2017 at twice the amount deemed acceptable by the World Health Organization.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."