Wolfowitz: A ‘saintly patron’ or ‘war criminal’?

Soundbites from the mouth of the World Bank’s new chief suggesting that the architect of America’s notorious policies has suddenly transformed into an angel, are misleading.

Paul Wolfowitz, the un-elected president of the World Bank, recently descended in Africa mouthing pre-scripted moral injunctions. And to the chagrin of the continent’s poor, destitute, homeless and disease-ridden majority, the new representative of the cause of much of Africa’s poverty and misery was given a red-carpet treat.

It is inconceivable that having crafted and implemented right-wing policies consistently for more than three decades, Wolfowitz would pursue any different course of action as head of the World Bank. Indeed his controversial past and the fact that his equally murky appointment is in line with strategic objectives of his neo-conservative clan embedded within the Bush administration portends more disaster.

The debate on global apartheid cannot be complete without identifying Wolfowitz as one of its main players. Neither can the disastrous fall-out from the United States’ ‘war on terror’ be investigated without interrogating his pre-eminent role therein.

It is public knowledge that the war-hawk cut his teeth in the Nixon administration. He has since served under every U.S. President except Clinton. He has also been credited as having shaped the hard-line ultra-conservative policies of the Reagan-era.

This era was characterized by what became known as the ‘Reagan Doctrine’ and its particularly pernicious effect in Africa has remained a painful legacy.

His deployment in the Reagan administration and the havoc caused by the destabilization of Southern Africa as a consequence of the ‘Reagan Doctrine’ makes it all the more repulsive for the continent’s marginalized to bear the idea of him being entertained by her leaders.

Analysts Sean Gervasi and Sybil Wong attest to that era as follows:

"History will record that in the 1980’s South Africa and the United States jointly waged a terrible but almost invisible war against the innocent people of Southern Africa. That war, it will be remembered, engulfed much of the subcontinent and was of almost unprecedented barbarity."

Also necessary to remember that in addition to having expressed no regret for the terrible scars left by that war; Wolfowitz is shamelessly paraded as the new ‘saint’ ready to deliver Africa from ‘ruined economies’ and ‘starvation’.

His passionate support for Indonesia’s worst mass murderer Suharto, as well as overseeing support for the dictators Chun Doo Hwan of South Korea and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines is well documented. Noam Chomsky is therefore unsurprisingly scathing of Wolfowitz’s ‘democratic credentials’. He reminds us of the fury caused in Washington when the Turkish Parliament, heeding its population’s near-unanimous opposition to the war in Iraq, refused to let US forces deploy fully from its territory.

Wolfowitz denounced the Turkish military for failing to intervene to "overturn the decision". The saint of neocon’s aggressive mode of tyranny was outraged that Turkey would display sound democratic principles by listening to its people instead of taking orders from Washington!

America’s most menacing hawk in control of the World Bank is not inclined to depart from his neocon ideology – especially given that he remains highly indebted to the powerful patronage of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. This is attested to by his corrupt role in securing lavish reconstruction contracts and oil/energy deals for himself and his pals in Halliburton and other conglomerates.

What it means too is that with Wolfowitz at the helm of the World Bank while the other Bank [West] is under illegal occupation by the Sharon regime at a time when many courageous voices view Israel as the most dangerous threat to global peace and security, no meaningful advance to secure legitimate Palestinian rights will be made.

His undemocratic appointment in an undemocratic institution that yields enormous power over the lives of millions portends huge danger.