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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.
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):
Beer does not cause beer bellies.
Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”