Wolfowitz to AEI

While it has been reported elsewhere, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) officially announced Monday that Paul Wolfowitz, whose resignation from the World Bank presidency took effect over the weekend, is joining its ranks as a visiting scholar. As the press release below makes clear, it seems that his work at AEI will not be focused on geo-strategy or the Middle East:

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 2, 2007 AEI president Christopher DeMuth announced today that Paul Wolfowitz has joined the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) as a visiting scholar. Mr. Wolfowitz joins AEI after spending more than three decades in public service and higher education. Most recently, he served as president of the World Bank and deputy secretary of defense. As ambassador to Indonesia, Mr. Wolfowitz became known for his advocacy of reform and political openness and for his interest in development issues, which dates back to his doctoral dissertation on water desalination in the Middle East.

At AEI, Mr. Wolfowitz will work on entrepreneurship and development issues, Africa, and public-private partnerships.”

At AEI, Wolfowitz will, of course, be joining other former Bush administration officials, including fellow-architects of the Iraq War and the “Bush Doctrine,” such as former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle (with whom he first worked in Sen. Scoop Jackson’s office in 1969); Perle acolyte and purported “Axis of Evil” coiner, David Frum; Donald Rumsfeld’s and Jerry Bremer’s former adviser, Michael Rubin; and former UN Amb. John Bolton. Other former administration leading lights currently posted at AEI include Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib enabler, John Yoo (who regrettably also teaches at my alma mater at Boalt Hall School of Law (UC Berkeley); his former boss in the Office of Legal Counsel, Jack L. Goldsmith (who co-authored an attack on the Law of the Sea in a Washington Post op-ed Monday); Rubin’s Asia counterpart in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Dan Blumenthal; and the former and assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, Roger Noriega, who, like Bolton and AEI’s vice president for foreign and defense policy studies, Danielle Pletka, used to work for Jesse Helms. Also based at AEI, of course, is Lynne Cheney, the vice president’s influential spouse.

While it’s a somewhat of a relief that Wolfowitz will not be developing his views about an Islamic reformation or the Bush Doctrine, it’s somewhat disappointing that he won’t be taking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike Perle, Pletka, Frum and Rubin — as well as other Middle East specialists at AEI, such as Michael Ledeen, Reuel Marc Gerecht, and Joshua Muravchik — Wolfowitz is not known as a Likudnik and has expressed interest in the Geneva Initiative, which is anathema to the AEI crowd.

In an interview with the Financial Times published Saturday, Wolfowitz hinted he would also be available for additional government service and, in particular, wants to do work on Indonesia (where he served as ambassador from 1986 to 1989) and Turkey (where his comments about the Turkish military failing to play the role that it should have in persuading the parliament to permit the U.S. to use Turkish territory as a launching pad for the Iraq invasion endeared him to no one). Senate confirmation, however, would probably be tough, and it’s doubtful that he could get a consultancy from the World Bank.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.