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Bush's Shake-Up-the-World View

From the March 22, 2005 Wall Street Journal: Wolfowitz, Bolton and Hughes understand it--and share it.

11:00 PM, Mar 23, 2005 • By FRED BARNES
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WHEN THE RUMOR ERUPTED in the press recently that Carly Fiorina, the deposed CEO of Hewlett-Packard, was being considered for the presidency of the World Bank, it prompted guffaws at the White House. President Bush was not conducting a job search for the World Bank post. There was no short list. He'd selected his nominee, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, many weeks before. "There was an early consensus around Paul," a senior White House official said. That means the president knew exactly whom he wanted from the start. By the time the choice of Mr. Wolfowitz was announced last week, European leaders had been consulted and discussions on replacing Mr. Wolfowitz at the Pentagon were well on their way.

Mr. Wolfowitz is controversial, given his role as an early advocate and architect of the Iraq war. But his nomination is also typical of the president. In lesser administration positions--commerce secretary would be one--Mr. Bush is happy to take suggestions and consider people he barely knows or hasn't met at all. But in jobs he views as critical, especially in foreign affairs, he prefers a known quantity, usually a tough, loyal administration veteran with an agenda. His agenda. Two other Bush nominees, John Bolton as ambassador to the U.N. and Karen Hughes as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, are also in the agenda category.

Anyone shocked by the nominations of Messrs. Wolfowitz and Bolton doesn't understand the president's approach to multilateral organizations. The conventional idea is that these organizations are wonderful, though perhaps flawed and infused with too much anti-American sentiment. And the chief task of U.S. representatives is to get along amicably, not buck the system and cause problems. This idea is popular in the press, the State Department bureaucracy and diplomatic circles, and with foreign-policy "experts." But not with Mr. Bush.

The president's idea is simple: No more Mr. Nice Guy. He believes international organizations have failed largely and must be challenged and reformed. He was miffed when outgoing U.N. Ambassador John Danforth rushed to the defense of Kofi Annan in the midst of the Oil for Food scandal. Mr. Annan opposed the war in Iraq and even declared it illegal. More important, he's viewed by Mr. Bush as part of the problem at the U.N.

Assuming Mr. Wolfowitz is confirmed as president by World Bank leaders, he'll bring impressive credentials and strong opinions. He's experienced in Third World development issues, having been ambassador to Indonesia and assistant secretary of state for East Asia. He's also a champion of democracy and free markets as indispensable weapons in the fight to eradicate poverty. What Mr. Bush admires is his fearlessness and willingness to take on the status quo. The president wants results at the World Bank, a senior aide said. Mr. Bush thinks there has been too much stress on process, not enough on results. "Process trumps results" at the World Bank, the aide said. The yardsticks for success are out of whack. The only one that matters, in Mr. Bush's view, is how much poverty has been reduced. "Wolfowitz will bring a sharp focus to results," the aide said. That's his agenda.

Mr. Bolton will bring a sharp focus to corruption, waste and left-wing ideology at the U.N.--precisely the matters the U.N. would rather not dwell on. His supporters insist he'll serve, once confirmed, in the tradition of Ambassadors Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick, both sharp critics of the U.N. Mr. Bolton, however, is even more hostile to business-as-usual at the U.N. than they were, is considerably more conservative, and is a tough political operative besides.

He's been aided in forcing his way into a series of key foreign policy jobs by a bevy of prominent backers. The first was James Baker, who urged Colin Powell to hire Mr. Bolton in 2001. But Mr. Powell offered Mr. Bolton marginal posts, which he turned down. That brought another Bolton enthusiast, Sen. Jesse Helms, into the picture. As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Helms invited Mr. Powell to his office and pointed on a State Department organizational chart to exactly the job he wanted for Mr. Bolton--undersecretary for arms control and national security affairs. Don't come back until Mr. Bolton gets that job, he told Mr. Powell. Mr. Bolton got it.

With Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, Mr. Bolton sought to become deputy secretary. He didn't get it, but Ms. Rice suggested the U.N. job. Conservatives in Washington lobbied on his behalf. And Mr. Bolton had another influential backer, Dick Cheney. Mr. Bolton has a trait much admired by the president: He doesn't care about being liked. At the U.N., he won't be. That comes with his rock-the-boat agenda.