A protester holds the scales of justice outside the District Court during a hearing in then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial, in Jerusalem, Feb. 8, 2021 (AP photo by Maya Alleruzzo).
Opposing corruption is not “easy” nor is doing so a “convenient distraction” from addressing “the world’s most persistent ills and injustices,” as Gabriella Cook Francis and Christopher Sabatini argued in a recent World Politics Review article titled, “The Corruption Obsession is a Convenient Distraction.” To the contrary, we insist that the “ills and injustices” to which the authors refer will never be properly addressed while endemic serious corruption, kleptocracy and state capture are allowed to persist in modern states. Our interest in the topic and our desire to correct what we consider to be the misconceptions in their article stem from our [...]
An anti-coup protester displays defaced images of commander-in-chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing in Mandalay, Myanmar, March 3, 2021 (AP Photo).
Sanctions are in the air everywhere these days. Just this week, there was a ratcheting up of sanctions, travel bans and asset freezes against the military juntas in Myanmar and Mali, almost certainly to be followed by sanctions against military leaders in Burkina Faso, who overthrew that country’s democratically elected government last week. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress moved one step closer to passing a raft of new sanctions on the Sudanese military for its October coup. Then, of course, there are the very serious threats by the U.S. and its NATO allies to impose wider sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin or on the Russian economy if Russia invades Ukraine.  [...]
The sons of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, Ricardo and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, stand inside a holding cell after being detained on money-laundering charges, Guatemala City, July 7, 2020 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).
Opposing corruption in international forums is easy. Nobody is openly for it, and popular sentiment is strongly against it. Global public opinion surveys show that corruption is a primary concern of citizens all around the world, and a host of public ills can be attributed to it, from economic stagnation, to the global decline of trust in democracy and a range of other societal challenges. And corruption does play a role in these issues, which is why it makes for such a convenient target. Major leaks exposing corruption have grabbed public attention and inspired a raft of policies aimed at [...]
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