In the face of such dramatic change, the IMF and World Bank are becoming relics of a bygone era. At the time of their creation, by US and European negotiators, the major challenge was to get capital flowing from the US to war-ravaged Europe. The days of the US as creditor state are long gone – our massive current account deficit is financed by importing nearly $1 trillion in foreign capital every year. Major US banks are being rescued by sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions from the Middle East and East Asia. China and Japan alone held over $600 billion of securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, making the bailout of those institutions a major foreign policy issue.
Despite these changed realities, both Bretton Woods institutions remain dominated by the West. By convention, the IMF is led by a European, the World Bank by a US national. The US is the only country with veto power over important decisions in either body.