Joe Asch at Dartblog has the story of how President Obama engineered the reappointment of Jim Kim ten months prior to the end of his term as president of the World Bank. Readers may recall that Kim served briefly as president of Dartmouth College. We wrote about that particular disaster here, here, and here.
When Kim moved on to the World Bank in 2012, Scott stated that Dartmouth’s problem is now the world’s. Thanks to manipulation by the Obama administration, the problem will persist.
Joe explains what happened:
Jim Kim’s original appointment as President of the World Bank was announced on March 23, 2012, and six weeks later, after some jostling with other candidates, his appointment was confirmed. He began work on July 1, 2012. Total elapsed time between announcement and start of work: three months and seven days. During the interval, there was time for two Third World candidates to put their names forward, people who had been preparing for the appointment process in the preceding months as the previous President’s statutory term wound down.
This time around, however, the appointment process began without warning in — surprise, surprise — August of the preceding year, over ten months before the end of the President’s term, and well before any other candidates had had time to organize. The nomination period, in case you missed it (everyone else did; there were no other nominees), was a scant three weeks long, and the U.S. government weighed in immediately to support Kim, thereby chilling any other candidacies.
There’s no mystery associated with Obama’s expedited handling of Kim’s reappointment. Had the process taken place three to four months before the end of his term, as occurred when Kim was originally selected, Obama would no longer have been in office to select him. And had time and space been allowed for opposition, Kim might not have kept his job.
Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, called Kim’s re-appointment “a kind of insider coup by the United States.” She noted that a World Bank Staff Association letter termed the process “a charade.” Both descriptions are apt.
In an open letter to the Financial Times, 42 former senior officials of the World Bank wrote to express their “deep concern about the shameful action of governments around the world in bypassing good governance and transparency in the selection of the next president of the World Bank.”
Devesh Kapur, a professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, criticized both the selection process and the selectee:
[A]s the incumbent, Kim can grant favors to win support: make loans that play to influential shareholders’ pet preferences, promise certain countries spots on the leadership roster, and stamp the Bank’s imprimatur on particular governments’ own domestic initiatives. Given the contents of Kim’s political toolkit, this match was never going to be played on a level field.
Many people can stomach questionable means if they consistently generate positive ends, but this has not been the case with Kim, who is among the worst presidents in World Bank history. His administration has been marked by authoritarianism and capriciousness, and he has forced out senior managers at unprecedented rates, sometimes requiring the Bank to reach quiet settlements with those affected. In four years, the president’s office has had five chiefs-of-staff, and several of the Bank’s senior women have left, hinting at a wayward leadership culture.
No one who observed Jim Kim’s tenure as president of Dartmouth should be surprised if Kim is one of the World Bank’s worst presidents. Nor should anyone be surprised that Obama went out of his way to inflict Kim on the World Bank for another term.