Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Zoellick Returns

Steve Clemons has been no great friend of the Bush administration, but gives a big thumbs-up to the announcement that Robert Zoellick will succeed Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank.

Zoellick -- who has served as US Trade Representative and as Deputy Secretary of State in this Bush administration -- is a walking hyper-synthesis of geostrategic and geoeconomic thinking. He is one of the few people I know -- beyond Bob Kimmitt and a few others -- who understands the economic dimensions of national interest as well as the classic military realities of national security and pulls them together brilliantly and articulately.

He also is a coalition-builder who can work beyond the parochial dimensions of America's needs and wants and help meld collaborative international efforts to handle big challenges. He has done this sort of international bridge-building many times, though his perch at the World Bank will now give him his largest platform.

There is a case to be made that Bush's appointments have gotten a lot better since about 2004. People like Robert Gates, Josh Bolton, David Petraeus and Zoellick are adding sober proficiency (sorry, getting tired of using the word "competence") where it was before so lacking. But they will be enough to improve the overall situation, but not to save the remainder of Bush's term.


Blake Hounshell of Foreign Policy likes it too. The policy wonks love this guy.

Addendum #2: I don't know why the font style changed below the quote, and am at a loss for how to fix it. I guess I'll live.

Addendum #3: Perhaps I spoke too soon. From Sarah Anderson...

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