Foreign Policy Blogs

Corruption and Accountability

High risk in times of crisis

As millions of dollars in aid and other resources flow to Haiti, it is inevitable that someone will raise the specter of waste through corruption. Often such words come from those who oppose aid on ideological grounds, swaying public opinion by exploiting our natural aversion to corruption. But genuine abuses unfortunately do occur, and their […]

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Those pesky Americans

There was a time when a bribe to obtain a driver’s license was corruption, but a bribe to obtain a contract was just business. No longer. Companies around the world are now paying attention not just to the practices of their own employees, but to those of their subsidiaries and partners. And most of the […]

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Government secrecy and national security

Last week President Obama issued an executive order to systematize and accelerate the declassification of national security documents. National security is always the arch nemesis of transparency, the ace in the sleeve of politicians who aren’t quite comfortable with whatever pledges of openness they have made. Obama’s decision is therefore admirable not only for the […]

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New Year’s Resolutions

It is the time of year when people promise to do things differently, when they commit to change. What might world leaders resolve for fighting corruption and promoting accountability in 2010? There are few political or business leaders on the planet who would not publicly vouch for anti-corruption and accountability. This is the lingo of […]

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Where there’s a will

Can corruption really be stopped? With all the fuss that is made about anti-corruption programs and holding corrupt leaders to account, this is not a trivial question. There are people who argue that corruption is simply “the way things are done here” or “part of the culture,” implying that change is not possible. In this, […]

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Former Israeli PM Olmert

Another former leader pleads not guilty to corruption.  ‘Tis the season.

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A European Afghanistan?

Former French President Jacques Chirac has been placed under investigation for a potential set of new corruption charges, in addition to those he faced in October connected to abuse of power when he was mayor of Paris. His alleged misuse of public funds and staff for personal or political gain are perhaps no more than […]

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The Pakistani president

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has struck down an amnesty that protected the president, among others, from corruption charges. While presidential immunity may shield President Zadari from criminal investigation, there are widespread calls for him to step down. Corruption is a convenient accusation against political opponents in many countries, Pakistan included, because it is so often true […]

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The Karzai administration

The country perhaps most associated with corruption in the U.S. popular press today is Afghanistan. Coverage of corruption in Afghanistan has mushroomed since the August presidential election, which observers found to be riddled with fraud. While it is not necessarily a valid assumption that electoral fraud indicates systemic corruption, in this case the accusation is […]

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