Click to Print This Page
http://g1

 'Neo-con Farewell Tour'                         [Guardian Unlimited, U.K.]

 

O Globo, Brazil

Wolfowitz and the 'American' Way of Thinking

 

"Wolfowitz (and Bush) are stubborn, dogmatic and stupid. These are very bad qualities for those who wish to transform the world and international relations in their own image."

 

By William Waack

                               

 

Translated By Brandi Muiller

 

May 18, 2007

 

Brazil – O Globo – Original Article (Portuguese)

Perhaps if Paul Wolfowitz himself had entered the World Bank with tanks and the 82nd Airborne, he would have managed to promote his girlfriend more quickly, but the results would have been the same as those he achieved in Baghdad : confusion, deep divisions between allies and former allies, and a complete absence of foresight. Wolfowitz the man and his personal politics and passions were treated here in the last column. Of interest to us here is an examination what the resignation of the World Bank president signifies for North American foreign policy.

 

[Editor’s Note: Most people in Latin American do not refer to the United States as "America," since in their minds, "America" includes them. Typically, they would refer to us as The United States or North America, which oddly-enough does not include Canada. The headline of this article notwithstanding].

 

It is not cynical to say that we are privileged to observe - in such a small amount if time - the destruction of a completely mistaken posture for resolving international problems – the posture of the Bush government. If we wanted to provide a 3 x 4 portrait of the arrogance of one who is absolutely convinced that he embodies a mission, and who believes with certainty in his own vision of world (which makes anyone who disagrees with him an automatic adversary or incompetent), I would suggest the face of Wolfowitz, his hair sticky with this own saliva (remember the scene with him licking his comb before passing it through his hair? WATCH ).

Just days after Wolfowitz assumed the presidency in 2005, the World Bank bureaucracy began to feel like they were being led by Bush’s people in the Pentagon and State Department. Wolfowitz trusted in the opinions of only a small circle of confidants, he despised any dissent and declared the bad intentions or corruption of any adversary. On certain matters, he had definite and categorical positions, which he tried to push down the throats of an administrative power structure that he considered inept and lazy.

 

These are exactly the words that Wolfowitz & Company used to describe the internal procedures in the Pentagon, the Department of State and even the CIA, where they had some of their worst conflicts. Wolfowitz and his group of neoconservatives ignored advice, opinions, and even reasonably secure information that didn’t fit with his "certain" vision of the world, which basically consists of believing that American values (as he defines them) can be implanted anywhere in the world in a very short span of time.

 

Since the disaster in Iraq, reality has imposed itself with noticeable speed on foreign policy amateurs and zealots like Wolfowitz. Perhaps the biggest lesson, which is extremely positive for the rest of the world, is that the White House is incapable of resolving any major global problem on its own. This episode with the World Bank is more than sufficiently illustrative: if the Bank depended on Wolfowitz and Washington, he would have stayed in his post. Of the $22 billion that the World Bank distributes annually to poor countries, the Europeans contribute less than the United States, but they imposed the resignation of a President that they could never tolerate.

 

The line that separates conviction from stubbornness, principle from dogma and courage from foolishness, is tenuous when discussing people like Wolfowitz (as well as Bush and many others). Wolfowitz (and Bush) are stubborn, dogmatic and stupid. These are very bad qualities for those who wish to transform the world and international relations in their own image. And let us not forget, however, that none of these neoconservatives - attached to their beliefs before the facts - took power by force.

 

They mirror a good portion of American society’s way of thinking and acting. Bush’s capacity to deceive the American voter stems primarily from the fact that people were notably late in perceiving that neither the economy nor the Iraq War were going as he promised they would. In that sense, it’s interesting to note how the Republicans have started to lose the South, which has been essential for their recent victories.
 

Maybe this personal defeat – which is above all a political defeat – of people like Wolfowitz, will initiate a different kind of intellectual research on the international stage, in which Republican "think tanks" will prove competent and imaginative. This cannot be said today. Yet there was sound basis for the critiques of the American "liberal conscience" from Wolfowitz and his friends. The receding tide of neoconservatism is just a small part of a cultural revolution that continues to unfold.

 

Portuguese Version Below

 

Wolfowitz e o jeitinho americano de pensar

18/05/2007


Talvez se Paul Wolfowitz tivesse entrado com tanques e a 82nd Airborne no Banco Mundial ele tivesse conseguido promover mais depressa sua namorada, mas os resultados teriam sido os mesmos que ele conseguiu em Bagdá: confusão, profundas divisões entre aliados e ex-aliados e a completa falta de perspectivas. O indivíduo Wolfowitz e suas paixões pessoais e políticas foram tratados aqui na última coluna. O que interessa agora é examinar o que a renúncia do presidente do Banco Mundial significa para a política externa norte-americana.

Não é cinismo quando se afirma que somos privilegiados em poder assistir em tão pouco tempo à derrocada de uma postura completamente equivocada para resolver problemas internacionais -a postura do governo Bush. Se pudéssemos fornecer um retrato 3 x 4 da arrogância de quem se acha imbuído de uma missão, e da visão "certa" do mundo (que transforma automaticamente em adversário ou incompetente quem dela discorda), surgiria o rosto de Wolfowitz, e seus cabelos engomados com a própria saliva (lembram-se da cena dele lambendo o pente antes de passá-lo pela cabeleira?).

A burocracia do Banco Mundial sentiu em poucos dias em 2005, quando Wolfowitz assumiu a presidência,
como as coisas tinham sido conduzidas pela turma de Bush no Pentágono e no Departamento de Estado. Wolfowitz confiava nas opiniões de um círculo muito pequeno de colaboradores, desprezava qualquer dissenso e declarava mal intencionado ou corrupto qualquer adversário. Tinha posições categóricas e definitivas sobre alguns assuntos, que tratou de empurrar goela abaixo de uma escada administrativa que ele considerava inepta e preguiçosa.

Eram exatamente as mesmas palavras que Wolfowitz & Cia usavam para descrever os procedimentos internos no Pentágono, no Departamento de Estado e na própria CIA, com a qual ele teve alguns de seus piores conflitos. Wolfowitz e sua turma de neoconservadores ignoravam conselhos, pareceres ou mesmo informações razoavelmente seguras que não se ajustassem à sua visão "certa" de mundo, que consiste, basicamente, em acreditar que valores americanos (tais como eles os definem) podem ser implantados em qualquer parte do mundo em bem pouco tempo.

Desde o desastre do Iraque a realidade vem se impondo com notável rapidez aos amadores e missionários em política externa do tipo de Wolfowitz. Talvez a grande lição, extremamente positiva para o resto do mundo, seja a de que a Casa Branca não tem capacidade de resolver sózinha nenhum grande problema internacional. O episódio do Banco Mundial é bastante ilustrativo: se dependesse de Wolfowitz e de Washington, ele teria ficado no banco. Os europeus contribuem menos do que os Estados Unidos para os US$ 22 bilhões que o Banco Mundial distribui anualmente para países pobres, mas impuseram a saída de um presidente que nunca engoliram.

É tenue, na atuação de personagens
como Wolfowitz (Bush e muitos outros também), a linha que separa convicção de teimosia, princípios de dogmas, coragem de burrice. Wolfowitz (e Bush) é teimoso, dogmático e burro. São péssimas características para quem quer transformar o mundo à imagem que eles fazem das relações internacionais. Não nos esqueçamos, porém, de que nenhum desses neoconservadores -apegados antes às suas crenças do que aos fatos- tomou de assalto o poder.

Eles espelham um bom segmento do jeito de pensar e agir da sociedade
americana. A decepção do eleitor americano com Bush vem em grande parte do fato de ter percebido, com notável atraso, que nem a economia nem a guerra do Iraque andaram como ele prometia que andariam. Nesse sentido, é interessante notar como os republicanos começam a perder o Sul do país, que foi essencial para suas últimas vitórias.

Talvez a derrota pessoal -que é sobretudo uma derrota política- de gente
como Wolfowitz inicie um processo de elaboração de outro tipo de plataformas intelectuais, um processo no qual os "think tanks" republicanos se mostraram tão competentes e imaginativos. Não é ainda o que parece. Nas críticas de Wolfowitz e seus amigos à "consciência liberal" americana bons fundamentos. O refluxo dos neoconservadores é um trecho de uma revolução cultural ainda em andamento.

 

William Waack

 










































Paul Wolfowitz leaves his house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on May 18. Wolfowitz annnounced that he will be resigning as World Bank President as of June 30, in the 'best interests of the Bank.'

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Wolfowitz agrees to step down, effective June 30, but Bank staff says that's too long to wait, 00:01:16, May 18WindowsVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWSWIRE PHOTOS: Wolfowitz Under Fire].

'Smitten' [El Economista, Mexico]





Shaha Riza: The unlikely femme fatale at the center of the Wolfowitz storm.


After Iraq and the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz leaves the stage ...





Will George W. Bush set aside the long-standing tradition of having an American World Bank President by naming British Prime Minister Tony Blair? ...


[Guardian Unlimited, U.K.]