Russia backs Kim

Yesterday Russia joined the US, Canada, Mexico, Korea, and Japan in saying they will back Kim.  They have only 1.7 per cent of the votes at the Bank, but they do have one of the 25 board seats. And they’re the first BRICS country to come out for him.  Perhaps tellingly, their statement didn’t explain why they preferred Kim to his more experienced challenger, Okonjo-Iweala.  I expect this is the route those backing Kim for (misguided) geopolitical considerations will go. Praise Kim, don’t mention the alternative, or how they decided his merits were better than Okonjo-Iweala’s. We shall see soon enough.

6 thoughts on “Russia backs Kim

  1. I suppose you’re right, but I’m not sure governments need express ‘why’ they prefer someone in explicit terms; perhaps letting the reader infer that “considerable professional qualities as well as his experience and knowledge” exceeded other candidates’ qualities? Scoring sheets weren’t handed around and collected, after all.

    Note that, according to Treasury, Kim went to Moscow after his interview; there’s a fairly new adage in US politics that you can’t expect someone to vote for you if you don’t ask for their support. So Kim did.

  2. Hmm, not sure what to make of this. I said “their statement didn’t explain why they preferred Kim to his more experienced challenger, Okonjo-Iweala.” Which is true, isn’t it? Saying why you like a candidate is not the same as saying why you think they’re better than the others.

  3. And I guess there are some countries for which it would be unreasonable for us to expect that an Executive Director could be free to decide as he believes.

  4. Actually Jesse, the link says “”Taking into account Mr. Kim’s considerable professional qualities as well as his experience and knowledge, the Russian Federation will support the candidacy of Jim Yong Kim during the voting by the bank’s board of directors,” the Russian Finance Ministry said in a statement.”

    I find this generic, as I suspect you do, but it’s not accurate to say that Russia didn’t explain why they support Jim Kim. Even in an “open, transparent and merit-based” process, would it be necessary to say why others fall short?

  5. There seems to be a growing sense that Kim’s appointment is now a fait accompli, notwithstanding that the weakness of his qualifications vis-a-vis his two rivals have now received global attention. I wonder if those who will claim credit for this result have considered the following:

    1. Would an accomplished professional like Kim really want to accept the appointment when he knows his primary claim to the position was his passport? Many in such a situation would have too much self-respect for that.

    2. If Kim accepts the appointment, how will this process impair his credibility vis-a-vis staff, in a famously difficult-to-manage organization, and where staff buy-in is critical to effective execution? Even more challenging for someone with relatively little experience in executive roles, and where he will be very dependent on others with a broader understanding of development and the idiosyncrasies of the WB.

    3. If Kim accepts the appointment, how will this process impair his credibility vis-a-vis borrowing countries, who have increasing voice and influence on the future role and directions of the WBG?

    Also, will Ngozi be offered another high-profile position as a “consolation prize”? It is very hard to imagine her returning to the WB as a Managing Director again under Kim. What are the other options? A few weeks back the Financial Times opined that the WB’s sister organization, the International Finance Corp, had grown sufficiently in role and stature that the current EVP (who traditionally reports to the WB President, and is retiring shortly) should be replaced by a more autonomous President of its own. I wonder…

  6. No surprises there. I think if there is anyone in the world still able to count on the words or principles of the Russian government out there, I would like to sell them a beautiful bridge I have in Brooklyn .

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