Paul Wolfowitz

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Paul Wolfowitz is a political and military analyst, who has been associated with neoconservative ideology, and who has been in a variety of positions in U.S. and international organizations. Some of his most significant roles were Deputy Secretary of Defense to Donald Rumsfeld in the George W. Bush Administration, and later president of the World Bank (2005-2007). He is now back in residence at the American Enterprise Institute, and continues to be on International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) of the U.S. Department of State.

Late George W. Bush Administration

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice named him chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, a State Department panel. In October 2008, the board issued a report citing the danger of the Chinese missile program, although it was considered likely to be ignored by the incoming Obama administration.[1]

At the end of the Gulf War, Wolfowitz wanted to end Saddam's regime, but by assisting the Iraqi resistance. He signed the Project for the New American Century letter in 1998, calling for Saddam's overthrow; he and Richard Perle were some of the more influential signers. [2]

Interim visiting scholar

Although officials declined to say how Rice came to choose him, Wolfowitz began his government career in the 1970s in the State Department as an arms control expert; he forged a relationship with Rice during the 2000 presidential campaign,[3]

World Bank

Appointed to the World Bank in 2005, he arrived with some controversy into an international organization, agency rules required that he not supervise a woman, Shaha Ali Riza, with whom he was in a romantic relationship. He helped her transfer to the U.S. Department of State, at a significantly higher salary, which raised criticism. According to Steve Weisman, international economics editor in the Washington Bureau of the New York Times, this offended three internal groups in the Bank:[4]

  1. The rank-and-file staff over the Iraq War role
  2. vice presidents, who are like the senior executive managers.
  3. board of directors, or executive directors, who are like the bank’s legislature. They represent the different countries that contribute or get money from the bank There are 24 of them and they meet twice a week and sort of set policy in tandem with Wolfowitz.

He left with a compromise statement from the bank's board: ""a number of mistakes were made by a number of individuals in handling the matter under consideration," and the bank would need to improve its ethical procedures. [Wolfowitz] "assured us that he acted ethically and in good faith in what he believed were the best interests of the institution, and we accept that."[5]

Department of Defense

He was Deputy Secretary of Defense, 2001-2005; Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, 1989-93; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Regional Programs,

9-11 response

Immediately after the attack on the Pentagon Building, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld insisted on remaining on site. Quite properly, in U.S. Continuity of Government doctrine, leadership was dispersed; Wolfowitz went to the Alternate National Military Command Center, a secure facility in Pennsylvania.

Wolfowitz pushed for attacking Iraq, because that he worried the risk of committing a large American force into the treacherous terrain of Afghanistan. Since he believed, although without specific evidence, that there was between a 10 and 50 percent chance that Saddam was involved in 9/11, he thought Iraq, a brittle regime, might be the easier target. [6] He also believed Ahmed Chalabi could be a major ally in Iraq.

Perhaps a week after 9/11, according to Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet,

Paul Wolfowitz in particular was fixated on the question of including Saddam in any U.S. response. He spoke of Iraq in the context of terrorism alone. I recall no mention of WMD...I am sure that Wolfowitz genuinely believed there was a connection between Iraq and 9/11. I am also certain that he felt deeply that the first step toward altering the face of the Middle East for the better began with leadership change in Iraq.[7]

Iraq War

Wolfowitz was an early advocate of regime change in Iraq.

GEN Tommy Franks, heading United States Central Command, said he considered Wolfowitz a friend, and trusted him to manage the Pentagon staff: "Keep Washington focused on policy and strategy. Leave me the hell alone to run the war."[8] Franks also observed great tension between the Departments of State and Defense, at the Deputy level of Wolfowitz and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Johns Hopkins

From 1994-2001, he served as Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Earlier, he taught political science at Yale University, where Scooter Libby was one of his students.[9]

George H.W. Bush Administration

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to the post of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, where he played a role in planning the Gulf War. He also collaborated on the U.S. administration’s nuclear arms reduction initiative, in September 1991.

Reagan Administration

During the Ronald Reagan administration, he headed, for two years, the U. S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff. Wolfowitz recruited neoconservative and non-neoconservative analysts including:[10]

One of Wolfowitz's initiativs was questioning the position of the United States, formed under the Nixon Administration, that it was wise to seek alliance with China and cut arms sales to Taiwan. His position was that China was more endangered by the Soviets than the U.S., and China needed the U.S. more than the U.S. needed China. This put him at odds with Alexander Haig, inheritor of Henry Kissinger's policy of detente. Libby observed that this approach stopped many of the Policy Planning Staff initiatives. Nevertheless, Haig attempted to fire Wolfowitz, finding him "too theoretical",[11] but Reagan fired Haig, [12] replacing him with George Schulz.

Wolfowitz was promoted to Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, a job in which he spent three years; Schulz agreed China had been overvalued. [13] He was also Ambassador to Indonesia, the fourth most-populous country in the world and largest in the Muslim world.

Johns Hopkins

He was Dean and Professor of International Relations, 1994-2001; Visiting Professor, 1980-81, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. While at Hopkins, he visited Martin Indyk, who was head of Iraq policy in the Clinton Administration's National Security Council. Wolfowitz argued that the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was linked to Iraq, based on the theories of Laurie Mylroie, an academic and author. [14] Her theories are not widely accepted.

During this time, he also signed the PNAC letter urging the Clinton Administration to overthrow Saddam.

Department of State

After Yale, he moved to the U.S. State Department as Special Assistant for Strategic Arms Limitations in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1973-1977.

  • Ambassador to Indonesia, 1986-89
  • Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, 1982-86; *Director of Policy Planning, 1981-82, U.S. Department of State

He was on the staff of the Department of Defense 1977-80, U.S. Department of Defense

Initial academic

He majored in Mathematics at Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY, and earned a Ph.D in Political Science at the University of Chicago. In the summer of 1969, he and Richard Perle worked with Dean Acheson and Paul Nitze in the short-lived but influential Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defense Policy; these elder statesmen of containment policy were a lifelong influence. [15] He then moved to Yale University in the Department of Political Science 1970-73. [3] Scooter Libby, who was to become Vice President Dick Cheney's national security adviser, was one of Wolfowitz's students' they developed a relationship and Wolfowitz later hired him as a speechwriter at State and as a deputy when Wolfowitz was undersecretary of defense for policy. [16]


  1. Robert Farley (December 1, 2008), "Project for a new cold war", Guardian (U.K.)
  2. George Packer (2005), The Assassins' Gate, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0374299633, pp. 27-28
  3. 3.0 3.1 Visiting Fellow, Paul Wolfowitz, American Enterprise Institute
  4. "World View Podcast: Calvin Sims and Steve Weisman discuss Paul Wolfowitz", New York Times, April 28, 2007
  5. Peter S. Goodman (May 18, 2007), "Ending Battle, Wolfowitz Resigns From World Bank", Washington Post
  6. Bob Woodward (2004), Plan of Attack, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 074325547X, p. 26
  7. Tenet, George (2007). At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA. HarperCollins, p. 306. ISBN 9780061147784. 
  8. Franks, p. 440
  9. Paul Wolfowitz, President 2005-2007, World Bank
  10. James Mann (2004), Rise of the Vulcans: the History of Bush's War Cabinet, Viking, ISBN 0670032990, pp. 113-114
  11. Francis X. Clines and Warren Weaver Jr. (March 30, 1982), "Briefing", New York Times
  12. Alexander M. Haig, Caveat, McMillan 1984, p. 314, quoted by Mann, p. 115
  13. George P. Schulz, Turmoil and Triumph, Scribner, 1993, pp. 381-383, quoted by Mann, p. 115
  14. Isikoff and Korn, pp. 63-74
  15. Mann, pp. 31-33
  16. Isikoff and Corn, p. 5