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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:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”