NEW: For a century, Teapot Dome stood as the greatest presidential corruption scandal in American history. No more.

In my first(!) piece with @BulwarkOnline, here’s how the Trump years set a new bar for presidential corruption—and replaced Teapot Dome:…
Trump was the first leader to emerge from a "pro-kleptocracy" industry (luxury real estate)—which shows just how much corruption has changed in the past century.

And now, US presidential corruption is something for all kleptocrats of the world to enjoy.…
What’s remarkable is that Teapot Dome is *way* worse than you probably remember.

Jailed cabinet members. Senate offices ransacked. Physical threats against families. High-level bribery linked directly to the White House.
Yet Teapot Dome’s no longer the pinnacle of American presidential corruption.

In a century, when Americans think of executive sleaze and a crooked White House, they’ll think of the Trump years.

Anyway, congratulations to the Teapot Dome scandal for standing for exactly 100 years as the crowning achievement of US presidential corruption.

Had a good run. But no longer.

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More from @cjcmichel

6 Sep
NEW: I wrote about one of the greatest traitors the US has ever produced, a man who deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Benedict Arnold: Robert E. Lee.…
Robert E. Lee was a quisling who:

—Disavowed his oath of loyalty to the US
—Led a movement that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of US troops
—All so that he could no longer be American
—All so that he and other insurrections could continue/expand enslavement of Black Americans
Robert E. Lee's treason is there for all of us to see.

As Ulysses S. Grant wrote, Lee chose to lead a movement that was “one of the worst [causes] for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.”

And all of it fought to shatter the U.S.
Read 7 tweets
25 Aug
'Ideally, she says, the world would not see the Soviet Union first and foremost as an ideological project that “fell apart” due to economic woe, but also as a colonial empire that many peoples fought to topple'…
Wanted: Survey of how the Soviet collapse has (slowly, fitfully) been increasingly understood in the West as an outcome of colonization out of Moscow, rather than just economic failures.

(And how this colonial model continues.)
There's still a strange/giant gap in Western discourse on legacies of European colonization, which shunts Central Asia or the Caucasus to the side. Or, hell, places like Chechnya or Tuva.
Read 4 tweets
24 Aug
NEW: America’s sanctions policies are long overdue for a reevaluation. But while some elements should be scrapped, programs targeting kleptocrats and their networks should remain—and be strengthened across the board.

Alongside @apmassaro3:…
(One fantastic place for the US and allies to start expanding targeted sanctions against specific kleptocrats? Central Asia—including a certain former dictator of Kazakhstan.)…
One lesson from the War on Terror that’s been overlooked (or forgotten) is just how effective financial measures were at disabling terror networks—and how those (unsurprisingly) follow similar pathways to the kleptocratic networks now operating.…
Read 5 tweets
22 Aug
NEW: For years, the US aided and abetted swelling corruption in Afghanistan, turning a blind eye to the kleptocracy it fostered.

And now we’re watching the results of what happens when you ignore corruption in the name of “security.”…
For a deep dive into how the US fanned the flames of corruption in Afghanistan, tough to beat the 2016 @SIGARHQ report, which got little attention at the time:
There was a ridiculous amount of elite corruption the US helped sweep under the rug in Afghanistan:

“A pattern had been established: High-level Afghan officials who were suspected of corruption often evaded arrest or prosecution.”
Read 12 tweets
16 Aug
One potential silver lining of the U.S. pulling out of Afghanistan: Maybe Washington will finally—finally—be willing to actually go after kleptocrats and regimes in Central Asia, rather than prioritize security relations over absolutely everything.
In five years, a grand total of *two* Central Asian figures have been sanctioned under Global Magnitsky. No one from Turkmenistan. No one from Tajikistan. No one from Kazakhstan.

That's insane!
If the Biden admin wants to prove it's serious about elevating corruption to a core national security threat, it should also absolutely start launching sanctions salvos against leading corrupt regime insiders in the region.

No reason to hold back now.
Read 5 tweets
15 Aug
Sarah Chayes had an entire book years ago on how elite corruption in Afghanistan—and Washington's unwillingness to do anything about it—severely undercut the U.S.'s mission there:…
Deprioritizing fighting corruption will always, eventually, blow up in our faces.
Read 6 tweets

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