President Bush said yesterday that he has chosen Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, a key architect of the Iraq war, as the U.S. nominee to head the World Bank.
The announcement was an aggressive move to put the administration's stamp on the World Bank, the largest source of aid to developing countries, by installing at the bank's helm a leading advocate of the U.S. campaign to spur democracy in the Middle East. But it risked a new rift with countries critical of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, especially since it came so soon after Bush's nomination of John R. Bolton, another prominent hawk, as ambassador to the United Nations.
Paul D. Wolfowitz and President Bush met in the Oval Office yesterday. Bush nominated Wolfowitz to head the World Bank.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais -- AP)
Paul D. Wolfowitz
Age: 61 (born Dec. 22, 1943).
Education: Bachelor's degree in mathematics, Cornell University, 1965; doctorate, political science, University of Chicago, 1972.
Experience: Deputy secretary of defense, 2001-present; dean, School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, 1994-2001; taught at the National Defense University, 1993; undersecretary of defense for policy, 1989-93; ambassador to Indonesia, 1986-1989; assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, 1982-1986; headed State Department's policy planning staff, 1981-82; deputy assistant secretary of defense for regional programs, 1977-80; special assistant for Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, 1976-77; with U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1973-77; taught at Yale University, 1970-73.
Family: Three children.
-- Associated Press
The nomination shocked many among the bank's 10,000-member staff and in many capitals abroad, especially in Europe. When Wolfowitz's name surfaced a couple of weeks ago as a possible nominee, many diplomats and bank insiders dismissed his prospects as remote. Although the United States traditionally gets to choose the World Bank chief, there was speculation that a Wolfowitz candidacy could be torpedoed by the board of the bank, a 184-nation institution that has always operated by consensus.
Bush said at a news conference that he chose Wolfowitz, 61, because he is "committed to development" and is "a compassionate, decent man."
The president also said that as No. 2 at the Pentagon, Wolfowitz had demonstrated skill for managing a large institution.
Other administration officials cited Wolfowitz's experience as ambassador to Indonesia, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs and dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University as evidence of his expertise and involvement in development issues.
In a written statement, Wolfowitz sought to dampen fears about his candidacy by stressing a desire to listen to a wide variety of views.
He also praised James D. Wolfensohn, the outgoing president, a Clinton administration appointee who has run the bank since 1995 but frequently clashed with the Bush team.
Wolfensohn "has deepened the Bank's commitment to poverty reduction, emphasizing such key factors in development as education, health -- particularly HIV/AIDS, women, youth, and the environment," Wolfowitz said.
If approved by the bank's board, Wolfowitz would assume command of an institution that lends about $20 billion a year to developing nations and often plays an enormously influential role in shaping their policies because of the conditions it sets for aid.