To say that John Bolton, President Trump’s latest pick for National Security advisor is a well-known UN critic would be an understatement. But it’s well worth noting that he has opinions about the IMF and the multilateral development banks too.
CGD Policy Blogs
In 1944, the United States created a blueprint for economic statecraft that relied heavily on a new class of multilateral institutions to pursue US interests in the world. The blueprint itself is now under serious duress in the “America First” strategy of international engagement of the Trump administration.
As donors gather next week in Rome to pledge funds to the International Fund for Agriculture Development , they may be wondering where the United States is. Given the generally high marks this independent fund earns for development effectiveness, the uncertainty around a US pledge is troubling. In this “America First” moment, it’s worth asking when it comes to IFAD, what’s in it for the United States and what will be lost if the United States drops out?
In Congress, support for aid is often bipartisan, and the seriousness and quality of thinking about aid reform is often very high. Case in point on both fronts is new legislation introduced by US Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) that would create the architecture and principles for a policy review and assessment of US contributions to multilateral institutions.
At a recent budget hearing, committee chairman Hal Rogers drew Mnuchin’s attention to the fact that the “past due” notices from the World Bank and regional MDBs are now approaching a record $2 billion. Mnuchin acknowledged a problem, expressed some degree of mystification about federal budget accounting, and pledged to get things in order. So what’s all of this about?
At the moment, the issue of US leadership at the multilateral development banks (MDBs) is focused squarely on the World Bank presidency. But there’s a lot more to it than that, and a lot more at risk for the United States in the years ahead. In a new paper for the Council on Foreign Relations, I examine the US role in the MDB system—why it matters for the United States itself, how China has emerged as a game changer, and how the United States is too often its own worst enemy when it comes to effective leadership.
The United States has enjoyed the privileged position of largest shareholder and donor at the World Bank and IMF since the institutions’ founding 70 years ago.
As expected, the president’s budget includes a request for Congress to approve US participation in the 2010 IMF quota reform agreement. There’s a very strong case for approving the request, and I’ll simply point you here, here, and here to read it in detail. Suffice it to say, the IMF is a bargain for US taxpayers, promoting growth and stability globally in ways that directly benefit the US economy and often working in support of US strategic interests around the world.