So much for building bridges:

President Bush today nominated Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense who was one of the architects of the administration’s campaign to topple Saddam Hussein, to be president of the World Bank. Mr. Wolfowitz, 61, would replace James D. Wolfensohn, who is stepping down as the head of the bank on June 1 upon completion of his second five-year term. “He’s a compassionate, decent man who will do a fine job,” Mr. Bush said at a White House news conference. The president said he had already notified leaders of some other countries of his choice…By tradition, the United States chooses the head of the World Bank, a 184-member institution whose mission is to try to reduce poverty, while the Europeans pick the director of the International Monetary Fund…Since the United States is by far the largest shareholder in the World Bank, Mr. Bush has clout as well as tradition on his side, whatever objections may arise to Mr. Wolfowitz in Europe. Still, European leaders who dislike Mr. Wolfowitz may be tempted to defy tradition and contest the nomination – especially since President Bill Clinton did just that in blocking the appointment of Caio Koch Weser, the German candidate to head the International Monetary Fund, because Mr. Clinton considered Mr. Weser too weak.

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