So it's Kim after all. Amazing. It's a free and fair selection process, as we've been assured, yet the World Bank board has chosen America's nominee--just like last time, and the time before, and the time before...
The candidacies "enriched the discussion of the role of the president and of the World Bank Group's future direction," the board said in an e-mailed statement. "The final nominees received support from different member countries, which reflected the high caliber of the candidates."
Oh I'm sure they enriched it enormously. The system works. The American got the job, and there was a rich discussion too.
Plainly Kim's an outstanding man, even if not ideally qualified for the post. He might turn out to be exactly what the Bank needs (and better had do, after all this fuss.) I wish him well. But I hope that even he would agree that the process by which he was appointed is a disgrace and needs to be changed.
The Economist has a good and balanced note on the news. But I think I disagree with their commentator on one point.
[A]s Dan Drezner of the Fletcher School at Tufts University pointed out, Barack Obama was never, in an election year, going to give his opponents any unnecessary ammunition by failing to get his choice for the World Bank accepted.
True, once Obama nominated Kim, he was never going to accept any other outcome. The mistake was to nominate him--nominate any American, I mean--in the first place. In future, Drezner wants "the Americans and Europeans to gracefully and jointly commit not to nominate anyone for the next go-around of IFI leaders". Good idea! But why next time? What was wrong with this time?