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The Great Game at the World Bank

Recent grumbling by certain emerging powers, notably China and Brazil, has led to speculation that America’s 67-year claim on the presidency of the World Bank might be weakening. Declinists everywhere have been poised to add this item to their eulogies of American global prominence.

The declinists will have to back down, at least in this case. The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that an American will still take the helm at the World Bank. Exactly who will do so, however, remains unknown. Candidates are thought to include current and former Obama Administration officials Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Larry Summers.

The leadership transition is less noteworthy for its impact on the future direction of World Bank policy than for what it reveals about the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region. The Great Game is apparently extending beyond the high seas and into the corridors of diplomacy. While one would expect India to join its fellow developing countries in supporting a non-American World Bank president, Indian officials seem hesitant to ruffle the feathers of their country’s most important ally in the competition with China:

Uri Dadush, former World Bank economic policy director and now at the Carnegie Endowment think-tank in Washington, said: “If you are, say, India, do you really want an open battle with a US candidate? India wants the US’s help as a geopolitical counterweight to China more than it wants the World Bank presidency.”

Via Meadia is happy to see more proof that U.S. influence in the region is still valued. As ever, reports of America’s precipitous decline are greatly exaggerated.

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  • joe

    Larry Summers? If ever there was a need to provide an example for the incestuous, incompetent professoriate, that pygmy is Larry Summers.

    I thought NGO sinecures were for the marginally competent? He lost Harvard’s endowment billions and the American people trillons. You’d think an economist would engage in a rational assessment of his recent performance and retire.

  • Anthony

    “As ever, reports of America’s precipitous decline are greatly exaggerated” underscores World Bank’s upcoming president decision and its acceptance by majority of G-20 nations.

  • Kris

    “As the banker for the world’s poor, it is fitting that the World Bank would be a place where the world’s poor would have the loudest voice.”

    No comment.

  • BD

    India helping us…right after they’ve stiffed us on Iran sanctions. Hugely disappointing and the World Bank presidency is meaningless in comparison.

  • J R Yankovic

    “Via Meadia is happy to see more proof that U.S. influence in the region is still valued. As ever, reports of America’s precipitous decline are greatly exaggerated.”

    For which we most heartily thank God and the continued common sense of the Pacific-Indian Ocean rim.

  • La Marque

    What country or countries actually fund the World Bank? and how much?

  • Mark Michael

    My anti-elitist thought: The World Bank should quietly go out of business. It’s funded by (mostly) First World taxpayers and mostly benefits Third World kleptocratic rulers. (I know, I know, each new prez claims to rectify the situation. Never really happens.)

    The greatest anti-poverty “program” in the last 30 years has been the turn to more free-market, capitalistic governance by China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil and formerly the East Asian “tigers”: Taiwan, S. Korea, Singapore, Thailand. That has resulted maybe 500 million people escaping grinding poverty.

    Nothing the World Bank has done comes within light-years of that accomplishment. Given our financial straits, abolishing the World Bank would save whatever dollars we send to it each year.

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