The road not taken: addressing corruption during stability operations
Gregg, Heather S.
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The United States has spent the last 14 years engaging in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that have aimed, in part, to rebuild two dysfunctional states. However, after billions of dollars in development money, thousands of soldiers’ lives lost, and over a decade of time, neither of these countries has achieved the desired degree of stability; both states remain fragile and sources of regional and global insecurity. This thesis investigates the role that corruption has played in undermining efforts to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan by conducting a longitudinal study that begins with the earliest days of state formation, and concludes with U.S.-led stabilization efforts post-September 11th. This thesis finds that, of the four types of corruption studied (crisis, nepotism, market, and patronage), market corruption is stabilizing in the near-term but becomes destabilizing over time; patronage and nepotism can be stabilizing in the short- and medium-terms, but ultimately create the potential for long-term destabilization; and crisis corruption is the most destabilizing form of corruption and rarely produces stability. These findings provide the U.S. government and U.S. military with an evaluative tool for considering different forms of corruption and their effects on stabilization operations in the modern world.
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