The United States of America needs a PR agency - fast. Most of all, the US needs media training, message development, presentation skills - the works. And considering the stakes, a flat rate of somewhere around dollars 1 billion should be about right.
The United States of America needs a PR agency - fast. Most of all,
the US needs media training, message development, presentation skills -
the works. And considering the stakes, a flat rate of somewhere around
dollars 1 billion should be about right.
This judgement stems from a consideration of the current international
flap over the selection of a new managing director for the International
Monetary Fund. The pending retirement of Michael Camdessus has created a
vacancy in an organization about as likely to create international
backbiting and visible America-baiting as, let’s say, selecting a board
member for the New York Yacht Club.
But this year, what seems to be extra-clumsy blundering by the US has
created a nasty situation in which Europeans - chiefly the Germans - are
fighting us publicly on behalf of their candidate, the African and Asian
countries are opposing us on behalf of their candidate, and the
Japanese, whose co-prosperity sphere of influence seems to be shrinking
visibly, are supporting still another.
The IMF, a sister fund to the World Bank, lends money to poorer
developing nations, often requiring tight spending curbs in return.
Since this often requires an end to subsidies for the poor (food,
gasoline, cooking oil) - and since much of the proceeds of these ’loans’
are promptly paid to US and European banks that were unwise enough to
grant large credits - the IMF often finds itself a target for citizens
of those developing countries.
And since we put up most of the money, we get more than an equal share
The tradition is to have a European head, and this year the European
countries united behind a German deputy finance minister, Caio
The Africans and Asians responded with support for Stanley Fischer, the
IMF deputy director. In a fascinating footnote of political
incorrectness, Fischer (born in Zambia to European refugees and now a US
citizen) seems to be an authentic African American, but without the
But Koch-Weser has now been publicly opposed by the US as too
bureaucratic and without the ’grand vision’ the job requires. Madeleine
Albright and other top foreign policy types have bluntly said - publicly
- that he just won’t do.
The Europeans, for centuries, have done this kind of thing better and
more subtly. Their messages are non-provocative, and they stay on
But for our country, the leader of the free world as we like to call
ourself, we come across like bullies. After all, we sent Jesse Helms,
the John Rocker of the Senate, to the UN a few months ago to lecture the
other members on proper behavior. The battle continues; wait for our