1943–, American political figure, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., grad. Cornell (B.A. 1965), Univ. of Chicago (Ph.D. 1972). In 1966 he entered government service, and worked for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1973–77) and as deputy assistant secretary of defense (1977–80). During the Reagan years, he became a Republican neoconservative and served as assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs (1983–86) and ambassador to Indonesia (1986–89). Under President George H. W. Bush, Wolfowitz was undersecretary for defense policy (1989–93) and was involved in strategic planning during the first Persian Gulf War. He left government in 1993 to become dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, but returned to the Pentagon under President George W. Bush as deputy secretary of defense (2001–05), serving as an important adviser to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the hawkish Wolfowitz actively supported the “war on terror” and was a key proponent of preemptive strikes and unilateral military action against Iraq. From 2005 to 2007 he became president of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), where he promoted debt relief for poor nations and sought to reduce the misuse of World Bank loans by corrupt government officials. His appointment, however, was controversial because of his role in the G. W. Bush administration and because of his noncollegial managerial style at the World Bank, and when it was revealed that he had mishandled aspects of the transfer of his girlfriend from the Bank to the U.S. State Dept., he lacked sufficient support within the Bank to weather the calls for his resignation. In 2008 he became chairman of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council.
Summary Article: Wolfowitz, Paul Dundes
from The Columbia Encyclopedia