Another concern for Clinton is that Germany might be tempted to use the IMF chairmanship to deal with some of its own financial woes. "Germany is the central bank for the Euro, which has just dropped below the dollar," notes TIME international affairs correspondent William Dowell, referring to the E.U. currency, which was introduced in 1998 with a value greater than $1. "There's concern in Washington that a German-run IMF will put pressure on the U.S. economy to help build up the Euro. So a lot of people in the E.U. say this is an attempt to make sure that doesn't happen"
Still, it's in Washington's interest not to look too power-hungry. "The U.S. has got so much on its plate right now," says TIME Brussels bureau chief James Graff. "There are so many areas where the U.S. looks as though it's trying to assert unilateral power. It doesn't need another one." While Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has asked the E.U. not to take the Koch-Weser rebuke as an attempt to keep Fischer in power, it appears Schroeder will have to resign himself to the fact that the next IMF chief will not be a German. "There's always the chance with a situation like this," notes Graff, "that if they can't decide on a candidate from a major country, they'll just give the post to some genius from from a small, obscure country such as Luxembourg."