Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Opens 25th APR in Kuala Lumpur

May 31, 2011

ISIS Malaysia celebrates its 25th Year of its founding and hosts the Annual Asia-Pacific Roundtable in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

May 30, 2011

Congratulations to  Chairman, Tan Sri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan and its Chief Executive Dato’ Dr. Mahani Zainal Abidin  on the occasion of the 25 Anniversary of ISIS Malaysia. I also wish to pay tribute to its founder Chairman, the late Tan Sri Dr. Noordin Sopiee, for his contributions to this premier think tank.

ISIS Malaysia as the organiser, and ASEAN-ISIS (a group of leading strategic studies institutes from across the ASEAN region) are playing host to HRH Raja Dr. Nazrin ibni Sultan Azlan Muhibbudin Shah, the Crown Prince of Perak, prominent scholars, researchers, diplomats, and policy makers of the Asia-Pacific Region (APR) from May 30-June 1, 2011 of the 25th APR Roundtable. This year, some 350 participants who are in Kuala Lumpur will hold fank and inclusive dialogue on topical issues of regional and international concern.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, The Hon’ble Tan Sri  Dato’ Muhyiddin Mohd. Yassin delivered his Keynote Address on Reflections on Southeast Asia and the Broader Region”.  Today’s luncheon talk was delivered by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, The Hon’ble Dr. Raden Mohammad MARTY Muliana Natalegawa, to be followed by the 25th APR Anniversary dinner speech by HE Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN.

ZOPFAN: Creating habits of cooperation

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister said that 2011 marks the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN’s Declaration of ZOPFAN (Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality). He finds its core principles relevant since it continues to reflect ASEAN’s approach towards the major powers. “The management of our relations with the major powers is one of the most important strategic challenges that we face today…The process of formulating ZOPFAN was crucial towards cultivating habits of cooperation between ASEAN member states. The fruits of that early instance of collaboration are now evident across multiple categories, as we move closer towards an ASEAN community”.

Peaceful Settlement of Disputes

Muhyiddin alluded in his Address to the present dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over  the territory surrounding the ancient Preah Vihear as “rather challenging for ASEAN”. But thanks to the effort of the Indonesian Foreign Minister  and in true spirit of ASEAN, both countries have agreed to refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and resolve their differences by peaceful means”. In this regard, the Malaysian Deputy Minister sought to remind his audience that:

“The peaceful resolution of conflicts is the bedrock of ASEAN as embodied in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation(TAC) and urged ASEAN member states to uphold  the spirit and letter of TAC .” We must remain vigilant and reaffirm our commitment to this tradition. If ASEAN member states do not take the TAC seriously. we should not expect the other signatories to do so”. He added, “We have a moral duty to lead by example and thereby binding signatories such as China, India, the European  Union, Japan and the United States to their pledges  on the non-use of forces in the settlement of disputes”.

Strategic Importance of China

Given the strategic importance of China to ASEAN and the world. Muhyiddin said that China “has proven to be a very good friend”. He goes on to say that: “For the good part of the new millennium, China has walked the talk of ‘peaceful development’ and has extended its hand of friendship to Southeast Asia. These are warmly reciprocated  by the member states of ASEAN. China is now an integral part of regional cooperation and community building…I am indeed heartened that in the case of the South China Sea dispute, China has shown its willingness to work with ASEAN  to formulate a Code of Conduct(COC)…There is no better affirmation of the strong ties between ASEAN and China than a peaceful and expeditious resolution  to our overlapping claims in the South China Sea”.

Sixth East Asian Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia

The Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister made reference to the October Sixth East Asian Summit (EAS) in Jakarta where ASEAN will see the participation of the Presidents of Russia and United States, bringing the number of countries in the EAS to 18. However, he feels that Malaysia’s commitment to an open regional architecture for security “should not come at the expense of building an effective forum where participants can engage in meaningful dialogue…we need to keep the membership of EAS as lean as possible”.

Importance of ASEAN reaffirmed

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin concluded his Keynote Address by reminding his audience that “Southeast Asia views its security as being intimately linked with the wider region. That is why we have sought to develop an extensive network of cooperation. And that is why we put such great store in the ASEAN Plus Three and the East Asia Summit. I am confident that ASEAN’s role at the centre of regional cooperation will continue to grow in importance, especially as the world’s strategic centre of gravity shifts towards Asia.”- Din Merican

The Fear: Where Horror Is a Weapon

May 29, 2011

Books of The Times

Where Dissidents Are the Prey, and Horror Is a Weapon

By Michiko Kakutani (May 23, 2011)

An authoritarian government willing to use the most brutal means to hold on to power; a dictator whose thugs have murdered, tortured, imprisoned or intimidated tens of thousands of civilians; and individuals who have risked their lives simply to exercise their most fundamental rights — this is the state of affairs not only in Libya today, but also in Zimbabwe, which has suffered the ravages of more than 30 years under the autocratic rule of President Robert Mugabe.

In his chilling new book, “The Fear,” the journalist Peter Godwin gives readers an unsparing account of the horrors that Mr. Mugabe’s regime has inflicted on the people of Zimbabwe. During his three decades in office the country’s economy has tanked: agricultural production has plummeted, unemployment and food shortages have multiplied, inflation has soared, and much of the country’s middle class has fled. AIDS cases have exploded, and medicine and medical help are in increasingly short supply.

Hopes that Mr. Mugabe’s days as president might actually be numbered were dashed in the weeks leading up to a runoff election in June 2008, when supporters of the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change came under violent attack, and Mr. Tsvangirai announced his withdrawal as a presidential candidate, saying he could not ask people to come out to vote for him “when that vote would cost them their lives.”

A so-called power-sharing government has been in place since 2008, but Mr. Mugabe has remained firmly in control; more than a quarter of his opponents in Parliament have been arrested, according to the Movement for Democratic Change and human-rights lawyers. Despite rumors about his health, Mr. Mugabe declared last week that he intended to run for president this year at the age of 87, and political violence is reportedly already increasing.

In “The Fear” Mr. Godwin chronicles the savagery of Mr. Mugabe’s regime in harrowing detail. Some observers, he notes, call what has happened in Zimbabwe “politicide”: “As genocide is an attempt to wipe out an ethnic group, so politicide is the practice of wiping out an entire political movement.”

The murders carried out by the president’s supporters and riot police around the time of the 2008 election, Mr. Godwin says, were “accompanied by torture and rape on an industrial scale, committed on a catch-and-release basis”: “When those who survive, terribly injured, limp home, or are carried or pushed in wheelbarrows, or on the backs of pickup trucks, they act like human billboards, advertising the appalling consequences of opposition to the tyranny, bearing their gruesome political stigmata. And in their home communities, their return causes ripples of anxiety to spread.” The people have given this time of violence and suffering its own name, chidudu — meaning “the fear.”

In reporting this book Mr. Godwin traveled back to the country where he grew up, despite the dangers: “not only from Mugabe’s banning of Western journalists, but also because I was once declared an enemy of the state, accused of spying.” He uses his intimate knowledge of Zimbabwe to introduce readers to opposition leaders, church authorities, foreign diplomats and ordinary people who have ended up in hospitals or as refugees — beaten, mutilated, raped and terrorized, their houses burned to the ground.

This volume lacks the intimacy of the author’s two affecting memoirs about Zimbabwe (“Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa” and “When a Crocodile Eats the Sun”), and it sometimes assumes a little too much familiarity on the part of the lay reader with that country’s tragic history. But it remains a document that should be read by anyone interested in the sacrifices that people are willing to make for the sake of democracy — a timely document, indeed, given the democratic uprisings taking place this spring in northern Africa and the Middle East. Not only is “The Fear” a valuable work of testimony — filled with firsthand accounts of witnesses to the most horrific crimes — but it is also a haunting testament to those survivors’ courage and determination.

Among the ordinary citizens depicted in these pages is Tichanzii Gandanga, who worked for the Movement for Democratic Change. Mr. Godwin reports that Mr. Gandanga was kidnapped by thugs he believes were members of President Mugabe’s spying agency, lashed with whips made from tire rubber and kicked in the face. His tormentors then dragged him naked into the road and ran over his legs twice with their car.

Denias Dombo, a farmer who also worked as a district organizing secretary for the movement, Mr. Godwin writes, watched as Mugabe supporters burned down his house, and he was then assaulted with rocks, iron bars and heavy sticks. According to Mr. Godwin, one leg was broken, an arm was shattered and several ribs fractured. His means of making a living, his plow and cultivator, were stolen; his cattle killed. He was unable to find his wife and children.

Dadirai Chipiro, a former nursery school teacher and the wife of an electoral organizer for the Movement for Democratic Change, did not survive an attack by government agents. They hacked off her right hand and both her feet, Mr. Godwin says, dragged her back into her house and set it on fire with a gasoline bomb.

The litany of suffering in this book is devastating, and the accounts that Mr. Godwin has collected, as the saying goes in Zimbabwe, are “just the ears of the hippo.” There are many more stories and much more pain right below the surface. Thousands of people, he says, have simply gone missing: “Bodies are being found bobbing at the spillway of dams; other are discovered in the bush, dumped by their murderers, miles and miles from where they were abducted. In some particularly gruesome cases, the victims have been castrated, their testicles stuffed in their mouths, or their eyes gouged out. Many will never be found. Some 10,000 people have been tortured. Twenty thousand have had their houses burned down — up to 200,000 are now displaced.”

As for prison conditions in the country, Mr. Godwin contends, they are miserable — another index “by which to measure the depths of depravity of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.” A freelance saw miller named Shane Kidd, who was thrown in prison after renting a room to the Movement for Democratic Change to use as an office, recounts in these pages how policemen would spray freezing water and sometimes throw buckets of urine through the prison bars, dousing the prisoners and their thin blankets and leaving the cell floors ankle-deep in water.

The opposition leader Roy Bennett reports that in Mutare Remand Prison rations had been cut to one meal from three, and that many inmates suffer from pellagra, a severe vitamin deficiency that was common in Soviet labor camps. Without outside food or medicine, Mr. Godwin writes, “the average inmate is dead within a year.”

One of the most haunting stories in this volume is that of Chenjerai Mangezo, who was nearly beaten to death after winning as a movement candidate for a rural district council. Though his body was completely immobilized in plaster, Mr. Godwin says, Mr. Mangezo insisted on attending the swearing-in ceremony, and he was driven there lying on foam mattresses heaped in the back of a pickup truck. He has continued to attend council meetings, sitting alongside some of the very Mugabe supporters who oversaw his beating.

What, besides courage, has enabled Mr. Mangezo to sit there with his persecutors? “Is it fatalism, a quality that Westerners see in Africans?” Mr. Godwin asks. “Westerners often mistake African endurance, and the lack of self-pity, for fatalism. No, I think the other quality in Chenjerai Mangezo is patience, a dogged tenacity. He hasn’t given up on getting justice. But he will wait for it.”

“People like Chenjerai,” he goes on, “are the real asine mabvi — the men without knees. Not only were his legs covered by plaster casts for months, but he has refused to kneel, refused to prostrate himself before the dictatorship, whatever the consequences.

A version of this review appeared in print on May 24, 2011, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: Where Dissidents Are the Prey, and Horror Is a Weapon.

The Onn Family Legacy: Three Generations

May 29, 2011

The Onn Family Legacy: Three Generations

by Karim Raslan

The Malay community owes three generations of the illustrious Johor-based aristocratic Onn family a great debt of honour. They were leaders far, far ahead of the times.

History matters. We need to understand the forces that shaped our past in order to craft our future. Self-knowledge is critical. Ignorance will mean we end up repeating the mistakes of the past.

Zainah Anwar’s well-written and intimate personal history of three generations of the illustrious Johor-based aristocratic Onn family — Legacy of Honour — is an important book for all Malays and all Malaysians.

As a Johorean herself whose father Cikgu Anwar served with Datuk Onn Jaafar, Zainah has woven together Malaysian contemporary history, economics, culture and politics. Moreover, the book’s appearance is timely. We are living in an era when honour, principle and public service are often ignored and/or ridiculed.

With Legacy of Honour we are reminded of excellence, with three remarkable leaders — two Johor Mentris Besar, Datuk Jaafar Mohamed and Onn Jaafar, and one Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn.

Indeed, the men — all from the same family — were to shape public policy and governance for well over a century, from the 1850s right through to the early 1980s. They were open-minded men: curious and equipped with bold ideas.

At the same time they had the courage of their convictions. In the case of UMNO’s titanic founder, Onn Jaafar, this sense of principle was to lead to his premature departure from the party and his isolation in later years. Nonetheless, they were also intensely driven men.

Once again, Onn Jaafar stands out. For example, he would always talk about wanting to “betulkan orang Melayu” (correct the Malays) by modernising and improving Malay living standards and conditions.

Jaafar Mohamed was born in 1838. Coming from a long line of palace advisers, he started his career as a clerk at his uncle’s office, who was a Minister to Temenggong Ibrahim and later went onto become Dato Bentara (State Secretary) at the age of 25.

In 1885, he was appointed the first Mentri Besar of modern Johor, a post he held until his death in 1919. Jaafar was responsible for the creation of modern Johor. Working alongside Sultan Abu Bakar, he was to build Johor from the ground up until it became the strongest and most prestigious of the Malay states.

He was an exacting but fair man who recognised the importance of the rule of law. As such he set out the “kangcu” system of land usage and taxation for Chinese settlers. Both he and Sultan Abu Bakar achieved their ends without losing their highly cherished independence to the British. Educated in both English and Malay from an early age, Jaafar was unafraid of new ideas as long as they delivered results — prosperity, stability and sovereignty for his beloved state.

However, he also prized his Malay cultural roots very highly and in his spectacular residence, Bukit Senyum in Johor Baru, he created a distinguished environment where the cherished collection of Malay literature such as syairs, hikayats and novels were to be found.

And the children were all expected to learn how to perform ghazals — the Middle-Eastern inspired poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain. At the same time, his many children and especially his daughters — flouting conservative sentiment — went to English language schools.

With Jaafar’s death, the family were to lose their beloved Bukit Senyum residence. The family’s difficult relations with Sultan Ibrahim meant that Onn Jaafar moved to Singapore where he emerged as a fervent critic of royal injustice and misadministration.

Onn Jaafar was to become an indefatigable journalist and editor. His trenchant criticisms of Malay backwardness and failure were read across the peninsula, earning him enormous respect among the ordinary people.

This in turn laid the groundwork for his greatest task — the unification of a divided Malay community in the face of the British initiative, the Malayan Union, and the formation of UMNO. Onn Jaafar had an immense capacity for work. His energy was unequalled.

This level of diligence was apparent in the late Tun Hussein Onn, who was known for his unflinching dedication to detail — underlining the salient points in every report he read.

The Malay community owes all three men a great debt of honour. Suffice to say they were leaders far, far ahead of the times. Indeed, Malaysia is in dire need of more leaders in a similar mould, men who have the confidence and polish to reach across race, class and religious boundaries.

Barcelona are true champions

May 29, 2011

Barcelona-Manchester United Post Match Commentary

by Jonathan Wilson

WEMBLEY, ENGLAND, May 28, 2011

Surely now the doubters have been won over: this Barcelona is one of the greatest teams there has ever been. In Pep Guardiola’s three seasons in charge Barca has twice won the Champions League, and it was denied a hattrick that would have placed it statistically alongside the Ajax and Bayern Munich sides of the seventies only by the combined might of Jose Mourinho and an Icelandic volcano.

If its flight before last season’s semifinal hadn’t been grounded by an ash-cloud, if it hadn’t had to travel by bus to Milan, would it have lost 3-1? Without a two-goal lead would Mourinho’s Inter have been able to stifle Barca in Spain? They’re imponderables of course, but what is true is that, under Guardiola, whenever tectonics haven’t been against it, Barca has won the Champions League — and won it in devastating fashion. “In my time as a manager,” said the United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after the final, “it’s the best team we have ever faced. No one has ever given us a hiding like that.”

United’s best chance had seemed to be to score early, and sure enough it began as ferociously as it had against Chelsea. There were moments early on when Barca seemed rattled, but the chance never arrived and as United’s early surge ran out of steam slowly the game fell into the pattern of Rome two years ago began to assert itself. Then United had the better of the opening 10 minutes, missed a couple of presentable chances and conceded a soft goal, after which Barca simply kept the ball away from it. This time the goal came later, and was rather harder earned.

It had been coming, though. The theory before the game was that if Wayne Rooney sat on Sergio Busquets, United might be able to upset Barca’s rhythm. He did that, significantly diminishing Busquets’s contribution — he completed only 73 passes as opposed to a season’s average of 100.73 in the Champions League — but it didn’t matter. Xavi simply dropped deeper and performed Busquets’s role as the outlet at the back of the midfield (he completed 124 passes against a season average of 106), the man through whom all attacks were funneled. Iniesta also picked up Busquets’s slack with 98 passes completed against a season’s average of 84. To put that into context, United’s top passer was Rio Ferdinand with 40.

And then, of course, there is Lionel Messi. A team can mark Barca perfectly, can neutralize everybody else, but one man is not enough to stop the Argentine. He almost invariably evades the first challenge, which means teams have to double mark him. Do that, and there will be gaps elsewhere: short blanket syndrome is inevitable.

Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand repeatedly cut out through-balls with last-ditch interceptions, Pedro scuffed wide from an Andres Iniesta cross and David Villa sent a low shot arcing just the wrong side of the post. At the same time Barca’s pressing began to tell. There was one sequence when United played a string of nine passes of which six would have been considered risky, and by the end of the move, it hadn’t even reached the halfway line. This is what Arsene Wenger referred to as “sterile domination;” perhaps a more accurate term is beautiful attrition. Barca is just relentless; it wears opponents down with passing and pressing until mistakes are inevitable.

The first goal came after 27 minutes, as Andres Iniesta broke and fed Xavi, who waited for Vidic to be drawn a fraction toward the ball and threaded a pass through to Pedro, who swept a calm finish in at Edwin van der Sar’s near post. In Rome, having scored, Barca simply kept the ball away from United, but here it was a touch sloppy, perhaps lulled by all the pre-match talk that if it got the first goal there would be no way back for United.

And unlike the 2009 final, United didn’t panic having fallen behind. It continued to press high, and when, after 34 minutes, Ferdinand dispossessed Villa well inside the Barca half as he tried to gather an Eric Abidal throw-in, the ball fell for Rooney. He played a one-two with Michael Carrick, then fed Giggs, ran on, took the return and sidefooted a precise finish past Victor Valdes.

Even performing relatively well, even sticking to the game plan, that proved the only chance United would have in the half. Pedro and Messi were each a fraction from getting onto balls played across goal even before halftime and after the break the pummeling went on. Messi’s was a moment of individual brilliance, but to affect it he needed the space brought by United’s exhaustion. Almost all game until then Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs had occupied that crucial space in front of the back four, denying Messi space as Xabi Alonso had for most of the first leg of Barcelona’s semifinal against Real Madrid. Finally they were drawn right, the ball was worked to Messi who darted into the space that had appeared, and lashed in a swerving finish.

This is the problem sides facing Barca have; Messi is so good that he needs only a fraction of a second to do something devastating. Barca has achieved that happy — perhaps unique – balance of having one of the greatest players there has ever been operating within a ruthlessly coherent team unit. Thereafter it felt very like Rome, as United chased but couldn’t win the ball back — realistically this was an exhibition.

By the time the third came, curled in by David Villa after a Messi run had been checked by Nani and Pedro had worked the ball back to him, it had long felt inevitable. Wayne Rooney had said that when he watched Barcelona beat Real Madrid 5-0 earlier this season he had found himself standing in awe. As Barca collected the trophy, Rooney stood on the pitch and applauded. There can be few more eloquent tributes than that: England’s best player standing and clapping a side that had outclassed his own.

Jonathan Wilson is the author of Inverting the Pyramid; Behind the Curtain; Sunderland: A Club Transformed; and The Anatomy of England.

Breaking News: Barcelona Beats Manchester United

May 29, 2011

Barcelona beats Manchester United 3-1: European Champions, 2010-2011


Lionel Messi was inspirational

Barcelona outclassed Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, London to retain the Champions League Cup 3-1. There was nothing Sir Alex Ferguson’s men could do to stop the Spanish champions who played brilliantly,dominating from start to finish.

CNN reports: “Lionel Messi scored one goal and created another on Saturday(May 28, 2011) to lead Barcelona to a 3-1 win over Manchester United and a third Champions League title in six years. Barcelona dominated possession at Wembley with trademark one-touch passing but needed the Argentina striker to conjure a 54th-minute solo strike from the edge of the area to take the lead for the second time.

Messi followed his 53rd goal of a remarkable season with a feint and run that eventually led to David Villa receiving possession on the edge of the area, from where the Spain striker curled a shot into the top corner.”


Barcelona: Victor Valdes, Dani Alves (Carles Puyol, 88), Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Eric Abidal, Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez (Ibrahim Afellay, 90), Lionel Messi, David Villa (Seydou Keita, 86).

Manchester United: Edwin van der Sar, Fabio da Silva (Nani, 69), Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick (Paul Scholes, 77), Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-sung, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez.

Sorry MU fans, your team lost to a far superior team. Barcelona has proven once again that it is the best team in Europe.–Din Merican

Who should lead the IMF?

May 28, 2011

Who should lead The International Monetary Fund(IMF)?

by Jeffrey Frankel

CAMBRIDGE – Every time the International Monetary Fund (IMF) awaits a new managing director, critics complain that it is past time for the appointee to come from an emerging-market country. But whining won’t change the unjust 60-year-old tradition by which a European heads the IMF and an American leads the World Bank. Only if emerging-market countries unite behind a single candidate will they have a shot at securing the post.

Unfortunately, that is unlikely this time around, too, so the job will probably go to a European yet again. After all, the oft-repeated principle that the IMF’s managing director should be chosen on the basis of merit rather than nationality need not mean a departure from past practice. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde (Europe’s choice) is impressive and capable.

But the proposition that the ongoing sovereign-debt crisis on Europe’s periphery is a reason to appoint a European is wrong. (Lagarde herself seems to acknowledge this.)

Europe has lost its implicit claim to be the best source of serious people with the experience needed to run the international monetary system. At one time, there may have been a kernel of truth to this. In the 1980’s, for example, the IMF was run by highly capable managing directors from France, during a period when huge budget deficits and even hyperinflation ran wild in the developing world. But that time is past.

There are three respects in which Europe can no longer claim to be a special seat of wisdom and responsibility. First, many large emerging-market countries have done a better job than Europe at managing their economies over the last decade. These countries do not have the excessive budget deficits that many European countries ran up during the last expansion – and that are culminating in today’s mismanaged sovereign-debt crisis.

Second, the Europeans have now chosen three managing directors in a row who resigned before the end of their term. True, neither of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s two predecessors left amidst scandal as he did. Then again, both of those resignations suggested that the men in question had not taken the job seriously enough.

Finally, many of the best candidates this time around are from emerging economies. So the merit criterion happens to coincide well with the much-recognized but never-honored need to give emerging-market countries more weight in the IMF’s governance, in line with their new weight in the global economy.

Indeed, the number of excellent emerging-market candidates is remarkable. Of course, not everyone being put forward by his or her government is a good candidate. When Turkey’s leaders say they have at least ten good candidates, they show that politicians often don’t know what the job requires. (No country has ten good candidates.)

I count nine emerging-market candidates who are unusually well qualified to lead the IMF. Six seem to be live candidates, and they come from all parts of the world:

·        Agustín Carstens, the governor of Mexico’s central bank, has been described as the leading prospect among the group. But even Latin America is not unifying behind him (Brazil has not been supportive), let alone other developing countries;

·        Arminio Fraga, the former governor of Brazil’s central bank, is another good candidate with extensive experience. But it is not clear that Latin America’s other governments are prepared to unify behind someone from the region’s largest country. Indeed, it seems that any candidate linked to a large regional power is more likely to provoke jealousy than solidarity from others;

·        Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who has excelled as Singapore’s finance minister and was just promoted to Deputy Prime Minister, is my favorite. (Full disclosure: he was my student at Harvard in 1988-1989.) In March, he was chosen to head the International Monetary and Financial Committee, the panel of ministers that advises the IMF on strategy twice a year. He has strong political skills, and, coming from a non-threatening country, might be the sort of candidate behind whom emerging markets could unite;

·        Sri Mulyani Indrawati is another highly qualified candidate from Southeast Asia. She became one of the World Bank’s three managing directors last year, after apparently being forced out as Indonesia’s finance minister for doing too good a job. Incidentally, she is young and could be an excellent candidate next time around too (as could the first three);

·        Leszek Balcerowicz, Poland’s former finance minister and central bank governor, is also a credible candidate. Poland would be a compromise with respect to nationality, because it is both a European Union member and an emerging-market country;

·        Trevor Manuel was a great success as South Africa’s finance minister. It would be good to make better use of him than the current government is doing.

I can think of at least three other candidates who would perform well, but are apparently not actively in contention:

·        Kemal Dervis, Turkey’s former minister of economic affairs, would have been excellent, but he took himself out of the running early.

·      Stanley Fischer, whom I thought should have been picked in 2000 (he was Deputy Managing Director at the time). Doing so would have been a first step toward accommodating developing countries’ legitimate desire to break the monopoly of European and US officials on the top jobs in the IMF and World Bank (Fischer was born in Zambia).

·        Montek Ahluwalia is Deputy Chairman of India’s Planning Commission, a position far more important than it sounds. But there is a presumption that the candidate cannot be over 65, which would exclude him (and Fischer).

June 10 is the deadline for nominations. Any of the nine would do a good job.  Personally, I would urge emerging-market countries to support Shanmugaratnam. But it is far more likely that they will remain divided. In that case, it will go to Lagarde.

Jeffrey Frankel is Professor of Capital Formation and Growth at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2011.