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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The messiness of international politics is on full display this week in Washington, D.C., at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. That's inevitably going to make it harder for the storied institutions to help the world's poorest countries recover from the pandemic.

Why it matters: The IMF's leadership has never been weaker — managing director Kristalina Georgieva is weakened by scandal, while her #2, Trump nominee Geoffrey Okamoto, is generally regarded as inexperienced and otiose.

Driving the news: The IMF said late Monday that Georgieva will keep her job after she was caught up in a scandal surrounding a World Bank survey on the ease of doing business in countries around the world.

  • The fight, which involved Georgieva personally hiring her own crisis PR firm, pitted the United States and Japan, who wanted her fired, against the European Union, United Kingdom, Russia, and China, who wanted her to remain.
  • It took eight separate board meetings before an agreement was finally reached that Georgieva should be allowed to keep her job.

The big picture: The managing directorship of the IMF is the most political job in international finance. To be successful, the IMF chief needs to corral the support of all the world's major economies, including the U.S. — support that Georgieva seems to lack.

  • Between the lines: The shareholders of the IMF are also the shareholders of the World Bank. Now that Georgieva is safe, it is certain that the bank's president, David Malpass, will also remain in his job.
  • While Malpass was also tarnished as the scandal spread, the evidence against him was never as strong as the evidence against Georgieva.

Flashback: For all its geopolitical importance, the job of IMF managing director has attracted its fair share of controversy and scandal.

  • Previous occupants this century include Horst Köhler, who resigned under pressure as president of Germany; Rodrigo Rato, who was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for embezzlement in his native Spain; and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was charged with sexual assault in New York and "aggravated pimping" in France, although he was acquitted of both charges.

Our thought bubble: There are few winners this week. But one institution has emerged even more solidified and entrenched — the anachronistic and colonialist convention that the IMF should always be led by a European and the World Bank by an American.

  • If and when Georgieva is eventually replaced, you can be as sure as ever that her replacement will come from Europe, rather than from the countries in the Global South whom the Fund ostensibly serves.

Go deeper: U.S. keeps distance from IMF chief

Go deeper

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, a group with ties to prominent Democrats that's been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin from the right.

3 hours ago - Technology

Race and technology in America

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The technology industry is famously determined to change the world — but its efforts to diversify its workforce and remove bias from its products haven't changed nearly enough.

Biden: "Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been"

President Biden speaks during the 40th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the U.S Capitolon Oct. 16. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden speaking at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday honored members of law enforcement who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2021 and saluted those who are currently serving.

Driving the news: "We expect everything of you, and it's beyond the capacity of anyone to meet the total expectations. Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been," Biden said.