May 18th, 2011
08:01 AM ET

For next IMF chief, look beyond Europe

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

I think that the most important thing to do in international institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is to try to bring in the emerging markets.

If you don’t bring them in, they’re going to freelance and they’re going to grow outside of the system. That’s the most dangerous thing that could happen.  The international order that has created and imposed some degree of rules and norms could start fraying and could collapse.

To make sure that other countries like India, China and Brazil have buy-in to the system, you've got to get them a real seat at table.

That means if there is to be a new head for the IMF, I think that this would be the perfect moment to choose somebody not from Europe - which has held the top IMF job for its entire existence - but somebody like Ernesto Zedillo, the former President of Mexico, who would be superb, or Mohamed El-Erian, an Egyptian who runs the largest bond-trading operation in the world.

Those would be people whose qualifications nobody would question; they would be superb at the top job. And the selection of either one of them would send a very powerful signal that we’re in a new age.

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Topics: Economy • From Fareed • Global

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Frank

    Fareed – If you despise America and the West so much, why don't you leave?

    May 18, 2011 at 8:53 am | Reply
    • Robby

      yes, totally agree

      May 18, 2011 at 10:08 am | Reply
      • Kedhar

        Please delete his comment

        May 18, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • ACitizen

      Hi Frank,

      You are watching the world pass you by, and don't have the sense to realize.

      We need to adapt to survive. There is more to the world than the Red States. We have remained at the top by adapting, not ignoring what is happening around us.

      Immigrants like Fareed is one of the key factors that make this country great. Does one criticize ones children because he hates them?

      May 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      @ Frank, it has nothing to do with "despising America and the West", it's all about giving a insightful assessment of the situation we all are in and advising how to solve the sovereign debts in the Old World. I firmly believe, that Fareed is a valuable asset to America and boosts the popularity of CNN worldwide.

      May 19, 2011 at 6:15 am | Reply
  2. Kedhar

    What about Montek Singh Ahluwalia??

    May 18, 2011 at 9:00 am | Reply
    • Robby

      Ahluwalia is not european, so he cant take the post . and he should be selling Potatoes, not working in IMF

      May 18, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply
      • Kedhar

        Mod – Please delete his comment

        May 18, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  3. Sundar

    Raghuram Rajan and Montek Ahluwalia are really good Indian candidates

    May 18, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • Robby

      but we dont want any Indian candidates here. just Europeans. its IMF, not the local bank of Bihar

      May 18, 2011 at 10:10 am | Reply
  4. Robby

    Fareed, here in Europe, people have stopped taking you serious. In your book 'Post American World' you mentioned that 'Buddha is Indian' Buddha was born in India. You know very very well that this is wrong. UNESCO mentions that Buddha was born in Lumbini , Nepal and its UNESCO world heritage site and the whole world know it. then why dont you change that fact ? are you trying to lie the world ? or you are commissioned from the indian government ? Please , change that.
    I know you are a good man and if you want to keep your international profile, you have to delete that fact and follow what UNESCO says. Thank You

    May 18, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • ACitizen

      Robby,
      You missed the point... when Buddha was born, India as we know today did not exist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautama_Buddha

      May 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  5. applpy

    Agree totally! It is also a good idea to not have someone from a fairly neutral position, not the "Western" bloc or BRAC as the last thing we need is more polarization while the international economy is trying to stabilize.

    May 18, 2011 at 10:07 am | Reply
  6. Emmanuel Agbor

    Ernsto. From Brazil. Brazil for the passed years has shown some strong leadership qualities in global issues

    May 18, 2011 at 10:18 am | Reply
  7. Herman Beach

    Mohamed El-Erian is a wonderful candidate. Fully and completely qualified. Bill Gross would miss him greatly but the world would benefit tremendously.

    May 18, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
  8. Aadil

    Trevor Manuel, former finance minister of South Africa

    May 18, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
  9. Sherry Garner

    How about a female? Decreases the liklihood that the next one will chase a maid around a hotel.

    May 18, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
  10. Scott Deaver

    Are you serious? You think that a resident of a welfare state, or worse, someone so sleazy they consistently profit from the bond markets (which can only be done by manipulation and backroom dealings) should be put in charge of a largely unpoliced international organization devoted to the distribution of money? Get real and grow up. That's like putting lawyers in charge of the ethics of lawyers (I live in Texas, and I'd be glad to educate you as to how well that works out)...

    May 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  11. Hector

    Zedillo will be a good choice, he has top credentials, he has vast experience in public finances managing troubles in one of the top 10 economies as a Finance Minister of Mexico, he is an experienced and serious politician as former president of Mexico, is a respectful univerity professor, but more important he is really boring (he will not be messing with his assistance or any housemaid)

    May 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  12. Oliver Hilsenrath

    We have adopted a certain cruelty and crudeness that seems to personify us Americans these days. Otherwise I do not see a connection between the place of birth of an IMF chef and his intellectual reach.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  13. Kevin Shedlick

    Only problem is when the Bretton Woods conference created the IMF and World Bank, they made regulations that stated the head of the IMF must be from Europe and the head of the World Bank must be from the US. So unless they change all the rules, this is legally impossible.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  14. Lambert P. Okito

    Mr. Dominique Strauss-Khan is arrested in New York. He does not deserve a treatment like we watched on TV. According to African tradition especially Ghanaian , a woman does not disclose sexual assault.This lady should be interrogated seriously, she may disclose the true after a serious interrogation. There is a shade behind this arrestation. We have seen a lot of these sexual assaults in the US who was arrested and humiliated like Dominique? He held a very top position at IFM. He had diplomatic protection. Why police arrested him, humiliated, and sent him to jail? Please the justice in the US should do some investigations condemning him.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  15. Black Eagle

    Why not have the New York City Hotel Maid as the HEAD OF the International Monetary Fund? I am sure she will give a good HEAD JOB at IMF!!! Do you all agree?

    May 19, 2011 at 12:43 am | Reply
  16. Spotlight

    Wow, I feel that you are truly off base with your choices of replacements for IMF chief. The ex-president of Mexico? Have you seen Mexico? It Is a truly corrupt country from top to bottom, not to mention poverty stricken. Now let's go to El-Erian, who would most definitely use the position to fill his coffers!

    May 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  17. Frank Liberty

    KEMAL DERVIS is the man for the job. He worked with the WB over 22 years. He took Turkey out of her biggest economic downfall. And he has been the head of the global development program of UN.
    KEMAL DERVIS should be the head of IMF.

    May 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Reply

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