Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bush’s World Bank Pick Is Delusional.

The Washington Post is reporting that President Bush’s pick to head up the World Bank is concerned over growing economic troubles in Venezuela under President Hugo Chavez’s leftist government.

“It’s a country where economic problems are mounting and we are seeing [that] on the political and press side it’s not moving in a healthy direction,” Robert Zoellick told a news conference in Mexico City.

Chavez’s critics say that his policies have hindered job creation and are scaring businesses. Chavez drew further criticism recently when refused to renew the broadcast license of a television station that had publicly encouraged an overthrow of Chavez in a US-backed coup attempt in 2002.

Despite Zoellick’s criticism, the Venezuelan economy grew by 10.3% last year, the fastest in the region, and poverty rates in the country has continued to decline. Furthermore, when one actually look at the numbers coming out of Venezuela, they do indeed look far more rosy then Chavez’s critics claim.

In the 6 years prior to Chavez coming to office, total GDP growth in Venezuela was just 2.1%, averaging 0.4% per year. Since Chavez took office in 1999, the GDP growth rates in Venezuela is up a whopping 30.3%, or nearly 4% a year. In comparison, under the first term of the Bush Presidency, growth rates in the United States averaged 2.10%.

Zoellick’s “concern” over the Venezuelan economy may be affected by Chavez looking into withdrawing Venezuela from the World Bank. Chavez has said that the World Bank is a tool of the United States to keep poor countries poor. Chavez is looking into setting up an alternative economic institution to the World Bank that he says will free poor countries from high interest rate loan strangulation.

One thing not mentioned by The Washington Post is Robert Zoellick’s history. After all, who is this guy that Bush has nominated to head the World Bank? What makes him qualified for the position he has been nominated to?

As it turns out, Robert Zoellick is one of the founding members of The Project for a New American Century, the neo-conservative organization whose members include John Bolton, Donald Rumsfeld, and former World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz. Zoellick was one of the signers to a letter to President Bill Clinton in 1998, encouraging him to launch a war with Iraq.

So what would you expect from the Bush administration? Replacing one short-sighted neo-con who disgraced the World Bank with another short-sighted neo-con who has yet had the chance to disgrace the World Bank?

A note to Mr. Zoellick: To avoid being completely discredited, you should avoid criticizing third world countries for having “economic problems” when their growth rates out pace the growth rates in the United States under Bush. Just a thought.


Anonymous Scott Ryan said...

terrific writeup

9:28 AM  

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