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.