Edward Luce on ‘the crimes’ of Kristalina Georgieva, or much ado about nothing?

Radical Socialist comments…

Read just the first two paragraphs of Luce’s essay, or should it be referred to as his wan Bill of Attainder, against Kristalina Georgieva?

Kristalina Georgieva’s alleged sins may look trifling to some. The IMF’s managing director is accused of having manipulated the World Bank’s Doing Business index in 2018, when she was the institution’s CEO, to give China a higher ranking than it merited. Compared to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, one of her predecessors, who in 2011 was accused of sexual assault in New York, or Rodrigo Rato, an earlier occupant, who was jailed for embezzlement, Georgieva’s clerical meddling looks like a victimless misdemeanour. Yet in geopolitical terms, her fate will be of far greater consequence.

An independent report published last month claims Georgieva interfered heavily in the Doing Business ranking to appease China in the midst of trying to secure a capital increase from Beijing. It is doubtful this would have generated anything like this fuss had Georgieva interfered on behalf of any other country, let alone kept its ranking at a paltry 78th rather than let it drop a few rungs.

The next paragraph makes a reference to the ‘Thucydidean world’! Mr. Luce, like the late Mario Buatta, is addicted to chinch, of the rhetorical variety.

Yet we inhabit a Thucydidean world in which today’s hegemon, the United States, which has dominated the Bretton Woods system since it began in 1944, faces a challenger, China, that is knocking with growing conviction at the door. How could such a damning report land without a thud?

Evidence of the penetration of Graham Allison’s artfully marketed ‘best-seller’, as an answer to a World dominated by unpredictability/uncertainty ? That offers a convenient ‘catch phrase’ ,in lieu of actual thought, on the part of those who quote him. Here is a condensed version of Mr. Allison’s essay via Foreign Policy:

Headline: The Thucydides Trap

Sub-headline: When one great power threatens to displace another, war is almost always the result — but it doesn’t have to be.


Read the short version of Mr. Allison’s CV :

Graham Allison is a professor of government at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was the founding dean. He is a former U.S. assistant defense secretary and the author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? Twitter: @GrahamTAllison

Mr. Allison is a member of a very exclusive club of Foreign Policy Technocrats, who has served in government. The question is wheatear Luce takes full advantage of Mr. Allison’s expertise/experience, or is just following the ‘Buatta Stratagem’? Its infectious!

The next sentence gives Luce’s game away:

The sharpest contrast between today’s emerging cold war and the one between the US and the Soviet Union is that China is deeply integrated into the global economy.

There is no ‘emerging Cold War’, but there is, in fact, a Cold War on simmer on many fronts, in in the political present:

Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and the vexing defeats of America in Iraq and Afghanistan! The list is very long.

The reader need only look to the status of The World Bank and the IMF as IGO’s , Inter-governmental Agencies. That offer Capitalism, as practiced in the West, and its hangers-on, to construct a viable self-apologetic, for the ravages inflicted upon populations, across the world, under the banner of an ‘Enlightened Capital’.

Our point of arrival in Mr. Luce’s essay, concludes with two almost contradictory paragraphs, swimming in realpolitik, that renders Luce’s attempt at melodramatic fireworks moot!

America faces a choice between relaxing its grip on global bodies to encourage Beijing to stay in the game, or refusing to acknowledge China’s rise and risk it exiting parts of the system altogether. Beijing has already created parallel tracks, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the Belt and Road Initiative. Given that China, along with the US, is one of the five veto-wielding members of the UN security council, it is unlikely to reduce its presence there. But it takes little imagination to picture China losing interest in bodies such as the IMF if it does not receive its due as one of the world’s two great powers. It is surely not in the west’s interests to discard key tools for engaging China in an increasingly bifurcated world.

Where does this leave the IMF’s Georgieva? America is being lobbied by poorer members in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere to retain her. She has won plaudits for responding nimbly to the pandemic and retooling the world’s lender of last resort to address threats such as climate change. Yet US hawks now depict her as irredeemably pliable to China. A reputation for fearless probity will come at a rising premium amid the battle for the future of the big global bodies. The worst of both worlds would be to keep Georgieva in place without having banished doubts about her neutrality.



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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