When we reflect on politics in America, as annoying/frustrating/horrifying as things might seem, Sarah Chayes reminds us that they could always get worse. In THIEVES OF STATE: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, she explains how corruption has overtaken Afghanistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan and why it has increased the spread of destabilizing religious extremism.
And we’ve had a role in this problem. For example, in places such as Kabul, where we’ve had a military presence for years now, while our stated goals have been to support democratic governance and destroy radical terrorists, the citizens of Afghanistan have had to choose between being led and abused by corrupt officials or being led and abused by religious extremists. Ironically, she points out, because we have not taken corruption seriously enough, the people we are trying to help do not believe we are really trying to help them, so it makes them look around for other options.
This book sheds a bright light on a global problem. It is also an important reminder to citizens of this country that freedom isn’t free. We must remain vigilant.