Transparency International just came out with its new report on corruption around the world. TI is well known for this stuff, and, although it has some challenges (reputational ranking always does), it is close to the best we have. So, the good news is that the US is 22, with a low level of corruption compared to most of the world, falling behind many of the places I have visited lately: Denmark, New Zealand tied at number one (with Singapore), Netherlands (coming soon), Australia (8), Germany (15), UK (20) along with Canada (even with Quebec?), the Nordic countries (cold weather breeds transparency and integrity?). And Afghanistan is not even the worst country. It is the third worst, with Somalia (worst) and Myanmar (Burma) ahead/behind. Iraq is just better than Afghanistan.
Failed/failing/post-conflict states tend to quite poorly--whether they have more corruption or worse reputations is not clear. On the other hand, Bosnia and Kosovo are 91 and 110, much better than I would have expected.
Of the other major powers, China is 78 and Russia, oh my, is 154, making it the most corrupt country in Europe (worse than Belarus, Ukraine, and others) and only a bit better than Venezuela (164) and tied with Cambodia, Kenya, Laos and a bunch of other countries.
One last fun fact--Italy has the worst score in Western Europe, so sure it makes sense that it had the lead role in improving Afghanistan's judiciary.
So, Karzai is not the only one with bags of money. Check out the website--lots of interesting findings.
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