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The Afghan government in Kabul feels the need to demonstrate publicly that it is getting tough on graft, but some people are asking whether Western governments need to look for corruption closer to home.

Last modified: 21 Nov 2009 11:34
Photo from AFP

Hamid Karzai has promised that government officials in Afghanistan will henceforth be compelled to declare and register their assets, a strategy apparently insisted upon by Hillary Clinton.

But in a world where even top UN officials are able to profit to the tune of tens of millions of dollars through activities that many are calling a conflict of interest, Harvard Professor Stephen Walt ponders whether the principle of transparency shouldn't be more broadly applied, including in western nations.

The whole sordid business got me thinking: is there any way to clean up the marketplace of ideas here in the United States? We are drowning in information and opinion, much of it claiming to be objective and authoritative when it may in fact be inspired and funded by moneyed special interests eager to sell the public a story that advances their particular objectives.

Read his whole argument here.