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Friday, May 18, 2007

Wolfowitz Stepping Down

Well, finally he got a clue.

Paul Wolfowitz ( announced today that he'll leave the presidency of the World Bank ( at the end of June. Thank you, Paul. It was the right thing to do. Your torrid affair had drug the international community into some of the most ridiculous drama and gossip the world has known. It was beginning to make Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky ( look respectable.

Don't get me wrong, this is a sad, sad affair. Paul Wolfowitz is a brilliant man. He appears to be a very strong and gifted leader. But his defects of character were, in the end, what did him in. Sadly, the World Bank will now be without his keen mind and brilliant leadership. But stepping aside was definitely the right thing to do. It allows the world to move and begin to focus on the real issues at hand again --- the mission of World Bank and its members.

As I sit here thinking about Wolfowitz' resignation and the loss of his leadership, I'm reminded of Rudy Guliani, the former mayor of New York City ( He had an affair, divorced his wife, and now makes millions speaking to the world about leadership. He's even running for President of the U.S. It would seem, based on the affair and divorce, that Mr. Guliani has some defects of character operating himself. But he has fared rather well. Plus he didn't have to resign in shame to quiet a scandal. His leadership allowed him to take the scandal right through New York City with him!

Come to think of it, Bill Clinton's ( defects of character didn't exactly bring him down. Bill is now retired from one of the world's most respectable jobs. He's a noted speaker and author, an international diplomat, and huge philanthropic leader --- and he's richer than he's ever been. Nice going Bill.

I am glad to see Mr. Wolfowitz finally do the right thing. But I am under no delusion that he will disappear in shame. Our society will most likely embrace him warmly. He'll be paid millions in speaking fees. He may write a book on leadership. Who knows, like Jack Welch, the former head of GE ( he may marry his girlfriend, forget his wife of 30 years and go on the speaking and writing circuit with her. Yes, our society loves leadership. And even though leadership must do some difficult things when its character defects get in the way, society will always forgive those character defects.

Wolfowitz will rise again. Watch and see.

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