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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 — 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.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Estimated portion of registered voters in Zimbabwe who are dead:
Honeybees can recognize individual human faces.
Pope Francis announced that nuns could use social media, and a priest flew a hot-air balloon around the world.
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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.'”