Is that a real word? In any case, that is what happened to Paul Wolfowitz yesterday. The German Development Minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, advised Mr. Wolfowitz not to participate in a two-day World Bank forum on Africa that takes place in Berlin next week.
This is quite a dare - to tell the director of an organization not to come to a meeting by his own organization. Think this one through. It's almost, but not quite, as if Wolfowitz had been declared a persona non grata.
The Minister has called repeatedly for Mr. Wolfowitz' resignation and the Germans (and the EU) have grown ever more impatient with the apparent unwillingness of the US government to relieve Mr. Wolfowitz of his post. This latest step can be called an affront, it is definitely not a faux pas - not in the sense that Wieczorek-Zeul wasn't perfectly aware what a ruckus she would create.
It also doesn't make a whole lot of sense -- Wolfowitz, as a German newspaper put it, is already dead on the ground. Why kick him?
Well, I think it sheds light just how annoyed the Europeans are with the US government in this matter. Wieczorek-Zeul's statement is a clear signal to the US government to stop dithering and slithering and get rid of a man who has behaved improperly, and do it NOW. Of course, in the meantime, he started negotiating a deal over his resignation. I have to say, the man has nerve.
Me, I'm sitting back in my chair and watch the events unfold...