May 30, 2007


Bush's Quiet Idealist: Robert Zoellick has been designated the new president of the World Bank following Paul Wolfowitz's departure. Many Germans remember him as the likeable mediator who helped bring about German reunification. But Zoellick's maxim is still "America first." (Marc Pitzke, 5/30/07, Der Spiegel)

Robert Zoellick will be the first World Bank president to take office already decorated with the Federal Cross of Merit, Germany's distinguished state honorary badge. His predecessors John McCloy and Jim Wolfensohn also received the Cross -- but only later. Zoellick already wears it, in recognition of his efforts to help bring about German reunification. As the main United States mediator in the "Two Plus Four Agreement" -- the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany that emerged from the 1990 talks between the two German states and the four World War II victors, and which led to German reunification -- he vigorously championed German self-determination. The Germans thanked him by awarding him the order.

On Wednesday, US President George W. Bush will nominate Zoellick as the successor to controversial World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz. In Germany, Zoellick is considered a friend, an "Atlanticist" and a bridge-builder. He once described his bond with Berlin in a speech here as a common, German-American vision of the future, a transition to "prosperity, security and hope for hundreds of millions of people."

An outstanding choice and welcome news for Australia (Greg Sheridan, May 31, 2007, The Australian)
THE confirmation that Bob Zoellick will be the new president of the World Bank, as predicted by The Australian last week, is good news for the World Bank and very good news for Australia.

Treasurer Peter Costello yesterday spoke to US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson about Zoellick's appointment and Costello welcomed his accession to the leadership of the World Bank.

Zoellick is outstandingly qualified to head the World Bank and a long-time friend of Australia. It was Zoellick, as US trade representative in George W.Bush's first administration, who negotiated the free trade agreement between the US and Australia.

The FTA was an idea that Zoellick had first suggested a decade earlier when he was the shadow of Jim Baker, who was successively White House chief of staff, secretary of the treasury, secretary of state and then chief of staff again, under first Ronald Reagan and then George HW Bush.

Zoellick held senior positions in all those agencies when Baker was in charge of them. Zoellick is one of those ludicrously over-achieving Americans, fuelled by endless ingestions of Diet Coke and with an insane work ethic, who got into a senior position young and has been at the centre of policy almost ever since.

He's Paul Wolfowitz without the demonization.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 30, 2007 7:00 PM

With the Democrats, there's no such thing as "without the demonization". Therefore, he'll be dubbed a "Wolfowitz in sheep's clothing," and if he actually tries to do something, some trumped-up charge will be levelled and he'll be gone too.

Posted by: Just John at May 30, 2007 10:08 PM

Who cares sbout the World Bank? It has never done a lick of good, never will. Just a feel good way to give good jobs to the western middle class.

I only liked Wolfowitz going there as a stick in the eye to the UN crowd.

Posted by: Bob at May 31, 2007 12:35 AM

When I first saw this news, I knew he looked familiar, tell me it isn’t uncanny…

Posted by: Martin at June 6, 2007 6:10 AM