ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CARLISLE BARRACKS United States
Corruption increases the level of instability and the risk of conflict by undermining the legitimacy and credibility of state institutions as well as of peacekeeping and state-building interventions by the international community, to include the U.S. Army. Post-conflict states, or states emerging from conflict, are particularly vulnerable to corruption, due to the lack of good governance infrastructures, which makes it difficult to detect, disrupt, or bring about successful prosecutions against those who are involved in activities such as bribery, extortion, false accounting, and embezzlement. Where corruption is rife, it is widely acknowledged that funds intended for country stabilization projects often do not reach their intended recipients. This, in part, is the reason that tackling corruption has become a high priority in some post-conflict transitions. In addition, anti-corruption efforts, whether direct or indirect, are seen as having a potentially legitimizing and stabilizing effect. However, such measures can only be successful if implemented with strong, high-level leadership, as corruption has the potential to contribute to legitimacy as well as to erode it. Lack of legitimacy is a common feature of fragile states, which have failed to establish good governance. Poor governance, in turn, results in an environment where corruption and criminality can flourish. Corrupt individuals holding senior public roles of influence are able to abuse their positions to further their own personal goals and accumulate personal wealth, to the detriment of the people who they are intended to serve. This results in instability through the inevitable sense of injustice and desperation that develops amongst the citizens of that regime, which can drive populations to civil war and leaves citizens susceptible to crime and radicalization, both as perpetrators and as victims. History has repeatedly illustrated that this problem, if not dealt with effectively, will inevitably lead.