Commentary Magazine


Another World Bank Triumph

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports:

The World Bank on Wednesday announced the resignation of Suzanne Rich Folsom as director of its anticorruption unit, or INT. “She was not forced out, she was not asked to leave,” said external relations chief Marwan Muasher.”

After detailing “$569 million worth of corrupted bank projects in India” Ms. Folsom was indeed forced out, and she should wear her ejection as a badge of honor. She’s the latest in a string of World Bank employees made to pay for the mortal sin of being honorable and the venial sin of being American. As head of the INT, Ms. Folsom had her hands full. (Imagine someone trying to expose the oil-for-food scandal from inside the UN in real-time, and you’ll get some idea.) The Journal piece details the sundry attempts to block her efforts and malign her character, and notes:

All of this might seem farcical were the stakes not so high. If the India report and others we’ve disclosed are anything to go by, at least some of these loans will go to projects in which nine of 10 dollars are either squandered or stolen by corrupt officials and middlemen, and where filthy, half-built hospitals are certified as completed to project specifications. That ought to matter to a “bank” that purports to have the interests of the world’s poor at heart and whose annual lending portfolio tops $30 billion.

Through the railroading of former Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, senior officer Shaha Riza, and now Susan Folsom, the World Bank has achieved something akin to, say, the NYPD purging its own internal affairs unit. Time and again the international community that decries American unilateralism squashes American cooperation in attempts to help strengthen and improve the institutions of multilateral policy. It seems the World Bank’s doors are now open and ready for business.