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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Wolfowitz Kowtowing to America Haters?

Wolfowitz Says He Won't Impose U.S. Agenda on World Bank
By Carol Giacomo and Lesley Wroughton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After helping lead the United States to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz is fighting a different kind of fight -- to secure approval as the next World Bank president by portraying himself as a consensus builder.

From his spacious but cluttered office, the Pentagon's No. 2 official this week waged a campaign to ease fears in Europe and elsewhere that he would change policies at the bank to reflect the conservative Bush administration's foreign and social priorities.

Wolfowitz telephoned U2 rock star-turned-debt relief advocate Bono, a potentially key ally; cheerfully endured interviews by major media, especially those with European audiences; and courted key finance and political officials from around the world.

His message was clear as he sought to win the hearts and minds of a new, more global constituency:

He is more multidimensional than his hard-line, conservative image as deputy defense secretary suggests.

He will aim to be a consensus builder as he seeks to improve the institution.

He cares passionately about the poor and is committed to reducing poverty, especially in Africa.

Moreover, he is convinced he can turn his critics around once they get to know him.

"You do the job you have in front of you," he told Reuters in an interview late on Friday. He was explaining how he would segue to his new role from his Bush administration duties of combating terrorism, remaking the military and asserting American power to promote democracy, especially in the Middle East.

"I am not going to impose the U.S. agenda on the bank," he said. "I am ready to listen."

Why would he (Wolfowitz) not want a US agenda brought to the World Bank? Are we to take from this that a US Agenda would not be in the interests of the rest of the World? Is Wolfowitz implying that a US agenda is not what is best for the rest of the world? I understand he is kowtowing to all those across the world who hate America; but in doing so he seems to imply that perhaps America-haters have a right to hate us... that our policies and agenda's are somehow evil or unjust. Perhaps he just mispoke... but I am deeply concerned with Wolfowitz's approach to this matter.

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