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Facing Corrupt Contractors in Afghanistan
November 28th, 2011
In June of this year, the U.S. Senate published a report evaluating U.S. foreign assistance to Afghanistan that emphasizes the unsustainability of the current foreign assistance strategy. Of particular interest is the key point that the “U.S. government relies heavily on contractors in Afghanistan, but multiple reports have raised alarms about the lack of robust oversight and accountability for multi-billion dollar investments.” The reality is that when these private companies are found guilty of corruption, the consequences, if any, are low.
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Funding Both Sides of the War
July 27th, 2011
Tom Friedman has often—and correctly—observed that Americais undermining its own fight against terrorism through its dependence on oil. In case you haven’t heard the argument, here’s how it goes. Americaimports about 1,100,000 barrels of oil and petroleum from Saudi Arabia every day. With crude oil’s current price of about $100 per barrel, there’s a lot of money flowing out of America’s pockets to the Saudis. And what does Saudi Arabia do with all of this wealth? Well, we know what it does with a part of it. As Friedman has pointed out: …private Saudi donors today still constitute the most...
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Our Dirty Love for Oil
June 2nd, 2011
Teodoro Nguema Obiang has controlled Equatorial Guinea since he executed his uncle in a bloody coup d’état in 1979. Equatorial Guinea is a country in Middle Africa on the coast. It is one of the smallest and wealthiest countries in the continent, in large part because it holds Africa’s largest oil reserves. Yet the wealth is extremely concentrated in the hands of the government and the ruling elite. Over 75% of the population lives below $2 per day, 35% of its citizens do not live past the age of 40, and nearly 60% do not...
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From Egypt to Afghanistan: U.S. Self-Interest and the Unfortunate By-Product of Corruption
February 10th, 2011
On the Task Force, blog authors often argue with passion and conviction against a broad suite of crimes against the impoverished.   With perhaps some of the most vehemence and certainty, we point to the evils of corruption: its destructive impact on development, its destabilizing effect on political systems, and its brutal consequences for the world’s poorest people.  Since it is such a clear evil, we rarely discuss the phenomenon in a nuanced context or in terms of incompatible interests, which it often represents.  For that reason, I believe it is important to have a discussion of corruption from another...
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