This could be the best news I’ve heard about the Obama Administration in a while. It seems that the President of the World Bank is mad at them.

In an address to be delivered at a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva on Monday, Zoellick cites the United States by name as “dumbing down” the ongoing and largely stalled Doha round of world trade talks.

He elaborated in an interview, saying he was concerned that none of the major trading nations are talking ambitiously about how to lower global trade barriers — putting economic growth at risk, particularly for the less-developed countries on which the bank’s work focuses.

“The whole discussion has become very defeatist,” he said. “I draw out the U.S. because the U.S. should still be the world leader.”

If the Doha trade talks just go away, that’s a great victory for the human race. I’m very pleased to hear that the US is doing anything other than facilitating them. Zoellick was George W. Bush’s trade representative, so this could also just be partisan posturing. Hopefully, there’s substance behind it!

A senior Administration official blames the other trading partners for contributing to the breakdown of Doha, adding that “the Obama administration has been the chief proponent of greater ambition in the Doha round.” But their advocacy means little if they can’t get anything done. And this is really an after-the-fact defense from Zoellick’s broadsides.

Point being, Doha is doomed. I’m fine with that.

David Dayen

David Dayen