Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security

Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security

by Sarah Chayes


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Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security by Sarah Chayes

Winner of the 2015 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest.
"I can’t imagine a more important book for our time." —Sebastian JungerThe world is blowing up. Every day a new blaze seems to ignite: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria; the East-West standoff in Ukraine; abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria. Is there some thread tying these frightening international security crises together? In a riveting account that weaves history with fast-moving reportage and insider accounts from the Afghanistan war, Sarah Chayes identifies the unexpected link: corruption.Since the late 1990s, corruption has reached such an extent that some governments resemble glorified criminal gangs, bent solely on their own enrichment. These kleptocrats drive indignant populations to extremes—ranging from revolution to militant puritanical religion. Chayes plunges readers into some of the most venal environments on earth and examines what emerges: Afghans returning to the Taliban, Egyptians overthrowing the Mubarak government (but also redesigning Al-Qaeda), and Nigerians embracing both radical evangelical Christianity and the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. In many such places, rigid moral codes are put forth as an antidote to the collapse of public integrity.The pattern, moreover, pervades history. Through deep archival research, Chayes reveals that canonical political thinkers such as John Locke and Machiavelli, as well as the great medieval Islamic statesman Nizam al-Mulk, all named corruption as a threat to the realm. In a thrilling argument connecting the Protestant Reformation to the Arab Spring, Thieves of State presents a powerful new way to understand global extremism. And it makes a compelling case that we must confront corruption, for it is a cause—not a result—of global instability.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393239461
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/19/2015
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

An award-winning former NPR correspondent,
foreign policy expert, and entrepreneur with ten years’ experience in
Afghanistan, Sarah Chayes is an associate at the Carnegie Endowment and the author of The Punishment of Virtue. She lives in Washington, DC.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 "If I See Somebody Planting an IED …" Afghanistan, 2009 3

Chapter 2 "Lord King, How I Wish That You Were Wise" Mirrors for Princes, ca. 700-1516 8

Chapter 3 Hearing the People's Complaints: Kandahar to Kabul, 2001-2009 20

Chapter 4 Nonkinetic Targeting Kabul, 2009 39

Chapter 5 Vertically Integrated Criminal Syndicates Kabul, Garmisch, 2009-2010 58

Chapter 6 Revolt Against Kleptocracy The Arab Spring: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, 2011 67

Chapter 7 Variation I: The (Overlooked) Military-Kleptocratic Complex Egypt, ca. 2010 78

Chapter 8 Variation 2: The Bureaucratic Kleptocracy Tunisia, ca. 2010 91

Chapter 9 Variation 3: The Post-Soviet Kleptocratic Autocracy Uzbekistan, ca. 2013 101

Chapter 10 Variation 4: The Resource Kleptocracy Nigeria, ca. 2014 118

Chapter 11 Up a Level Afghanistan and Washington, June 2010-January 2011 135

Chapter 12 Forging an Appeal on Earth: The Netherlands, England, America, ca. 1560-1787 156

Chapter 13 Violent Extremists 172

Chapter 14 Remedies 184

Epilogue: Self-Reflection 205

Appendix 212

Acknowledgments 219

Notes 221

Index 245

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