Back to Business With Zoellick


It’s official: The Bush regime has tapped Bob Zoellick, longtime GOP operative and lover of giant pandas and giant businesses, to replace Paul Wolfowitz as World Bank president.

Following Wolfie’s embarrassing reign of error, Zoellick will have it easy — believe me, my own experience is that when you replace a schnook, everybody cuts you slack.

But if you just pretend for a second that 9/11 never happened and Bush named Zoellick to head the World Bank, there would be some derisive howls because Zoellick’s extensive resume as a lackey for big business includes a stint as a paid advisory board member for Enron.

If there had been no 9/11, the Bush regime would have continued bumbling along for one term, trying to do favors for its business pals before turning things over to the Democrats.

But there was a 9/11, and it provided all sorts of excuses to go to war.

Anyway, Zoellick is the guy, as I speculated on May 25, and the World Bank board, which just called for nominations, will have to live with it.

Zoellick specialized in international trade for Goldman Sachs, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s a businessman. He’s a political operative since the Reagan era — that’s why Goldman Sachs hired him last year from the State Department to be an “international banker.” He has zipped in and out of government for years, parlaying “public service” contacts into private-sector jobs, and vice versa.

The best thing about Zoellick, as I previously noted, is that he hugs endangered animals instead of blowing their heads off.

The worst thing about his appointment is that the World Bank will probably fade from the news — unless he gets his swerve on with Wolfie’s ex-gal pal, Shaha Ali Riza. Because the funniest thing about the whole Wolfie scandal was that Wolfie blamed an “overheated” atmosphere at the bank and in the media for his ouster.