|Digital List Price:||$16.95|
|Kindle Price:|| $9.99 |
Save $6.96 (41%)
|Sold by:||Amazon.com Services LLC|
Your Memberships & Subscriptions
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle for Web.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Follow the Author
Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security Reprint Edition, Kindle Edition
Winner of the 2015 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest.
"I can’t imagine a more important book for our time." —Sebastian Junger
The 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.
― Giles Foden, New York Times Book Review
"Should be required reading."
― Thomas Friedman
"[A] fascinating story. . . . [T]he central revelation in Thieves of the State: at a certain point, systemic corruption became not just a lamentable by-product of the war but an accelerant of conflict . . . Chayes argues, convincingly, [that state-sanctioned larceny is] a threat not just to Afghanistan’s national security but to that of the United States."
― Patrick Radden Keefe, New Yorker
"[Chayes] tells the story of what happened in Afghanistan brilliantly, and compares her experience there with the current corruption in Egypt, Russia and the dismal rest . . . [a] page-turner."
― Deirdre N. McCloskey, Wall Street Journal
― G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs
"Informative, thought-provoking, very interesting and concisely written. . . . Through personal experience and her own research, Chayes makes a simple yet profound argument."
― Taylor Dibbert, Huffington Post
"A revolutionary book. Sarah Chayes weaves together history, adventure, political analysis, personal experience, culture, and religion in a shimmering and compelling tapestry."
― Anne-Marie Slaughter
"A vivid, ground-level view on how pervasive corruption undermines U.S. foreign policy and breeds insurgency. Thieves of State provides critical lessons that all policymakers should heed."
― Francis Fukuyama
"Sarah Chayes brilliantly illuminates a topic no one wants talk about―but we must. Corruption is an insidious force that is causing some of the most dangerous challenges our world is facing. It has to be at the core of America’s strategies, engagements and relationships for the twenty-first century."
― Admiral (ret.) Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B00L4HAXDM
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (January 19, 2015)
- Publication date : January 19, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 4175 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 274 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0393352285
- Best Sellers Rank: #727,329 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
What gives the book its credibility and authenticity is Chayes’ unique perspective. An experienced journalist, she launches and NGO and then establishes a soap-making cooperative in Afghanistan in the midst of the protracted military conflict, and, of necessity, must learn to deal with the endemic Afghan corruption. The experience yields invaluable insight into the problems of systemic corruption in Afghanistan, as well as in other countries Chayes examines in the book. This street-level view provides anecdotal material that succinctly illuminates how corruption alienates the Afghan people from both their government and the United States, which is seen as an enabler and protector of the corrupt regime. That alienation impels the disaffected Afghanis to join with the Taliban and other nefarious elements in the society.
Moving from her role as a struggling entrepreneur, the author, who speaks Arabic and Pashto, becomes a respected advisor and counselor to the highest level American military commanders working on policy issues. Here, she gains insight into policy formulation and frequently thwarted policy implementation.
Drawing upon her distinctive experience, Chayes is able to conceptualize and dramatically describe specific ways that Karzai’s kleptocratic autocracy misgoverns Afghanistan. She then aptly extrapolates her insight and experience to other vulnerable states, depicting the respective models they use to control and oppress their citizens.
One critical comment Chayes makes is that unless the US and other international stakeholders work actively to cure the problem of corruption, primary reliance on military solutions to profound political dysfunction will be counter-productive and eventually futile.
Be forewarned, the work melds different perspectives expressed in different voices from diverse points of view. It shifts from a first-person anecdotal narrative to a third-person journalist’s point of view, then shifts again to the dispassionate voice of a scholar. This creates some disjointedness in the narrative that the editors have had to struggle with. However, this is a mere quibble and does not detract from the book’s powerful delivery and message. Indeed, whatever the flaws, they are balanced by the coherent framework created by Chayes’ sparkling thematic discussion of the various “mirror writers.’ These were authors who, through the ages, recognized the importance of corruption to governance and warned princes and other rulers about the dangers and consequences of neglecting the problem. Also unifying the work are the pithily written chapters describing the different and shocking patterns of corruption existing in Egypt, Uzbekistan, Nigeria and several other states.
Admirably, Chayes goes beyond conceptualization and analysis. She provides a compelling blueprint for development of anti-corruption policies and activities in the Remedies chapter at the end of the work.
This work exhibits extraordinary cognitive intelligence in its ability to ‘connect the dots.’ Though this may be an unusual way to bestow an encomium in a review, I recommend that Chayes be nominated for a MacArthur grant; and at the April 2016 conference of the American Society of International Law, Thieves of State should be a topic of a symposium co-chaired by Chayes and Anne-Marie Slaughter.
Bernard M. Brodsky
Another thing I like about this book is that Chayes starts out with an account of her own missteps and misperceptions when she first got to Afghanistan. You can tell she's not a politician - no politician ever admits a mistake!
In her final chapter, Chayes offers policy suggestions for raising the emphasis on good governance and honest government in U.S. partners. Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine how we could succeed. Cleaning up corruption in a place like Afghanistan (which ranks near the bottom of Transparency International's global corruption list) is a basic nation-building task that may be beyond the capability of any foreign power, however well-intentioned and well-funded.
I used this book as a class reading for my adult-education seminar in foreign policy. It was well-liked by all the participants and led to a lively discussion in class. Many of the class members were surprised and disturbed at the overwhelming top-to-bottom corruption in Afghanistan and many other U.S. allies in the developing world. I also used the session to introduce the class to Transparency International, which studies and reports on corruption around the world. I highly recommend the Transparency International website to anyone who is interested in this book.
Top reviews from other countries
Chayes demonstrates that this corruption is not just perpetrated by small time officials seeking petty backhanders. It goes all the way to the top. In countries from Afghanistan to Algeria, Nigeria to Uzbekistan, it is the ruling elite which manages and takes most benefit from the corruption. The money flows to the top.
More shocking is her demonstration that Western governments deliberately and persistently turn a blind eye to this, indeed actively discourage its reporting. They are too close to and complicit with the corrupt governments with whom they are allies. In this respect, the West is actively propagating the circumstances which feed the terrorists with desperate volunteers who have lost everything - and therefore have nothing to lose.
Chayes presents her argument in writing which is crisp and incisive when analysing corrupt practices, and subtle and atmospheric when evoking the countries and people that suffer from them. She combines first hand personal experience with rigorous analysis of primary sources including US state department memos, informed by Medieval and Renaissance texts on good governance from a France to Persia. One of the most painful facts she presents in her magnificent book is that there is nothing new. Today's corruption follows the template of that against which the writers of "Mirror Books" were warning kings in the 13th century. Plus ca change.
However even though the author notes that corruption isnt the only factor that ignites support for terror groups, the author does seem to neglect the strong idelogical factor for some of these terror groups. The author claims for example that the vast majority of Boko Haram attacks has been focused on goverment officals and the military is simply not true, and furthermore the author claims that boko haram isnt so much against western culture and civilazation, but the real meaning of their name is better understood in the context of the western education that the goverment officals recive and "use" afterwards in their high postions to rob the country. This is partly true, but again there the author neglects that the leaders of boko haram themselfs have claimed hatred for all westeren culture, the then acting leader of Boko Haram as in August 2009, Mallam Sanni Umaru, jettisoned such designation. He charged that “Boko Haram does not in any way mean ‘Western Education is a sin’ as the infidel media continue to portray us. Boko Haram actually means ‘Western Civilization’ is forbidden”.
Furthermore i personally think the author could had done without the chapter where she compared the protestant uprisings in Holland with the current unstability in the middle east. This historical comparsions is interesting, but largely it just feels like filler for the book.
Overall i did like reading the book, and it did expand my horizon on these issues, and would recommend the book.