Do as we say, not as we do: breaking up banks --- in Afghanistan

Do as we say, not as we do

by digby

... over there:

Americans have, however, wielded influence on many occasions, and President Karzai is still smarting from many of them. When an aide to Mr. Karzai was arrested by an American-backed corruption task force, the president intervened to secure his release, and then eviscerated the anticorruption body, the Major Crimes Task Force. But from Mr. Karzai’s point of view, the Americans never gave him the courtesy of warning that they planned to arrest a top official.

Bette Dam, a Dutch author who interviewed Mr. Karzai extensively for her book, “Expedition Uruzgan: Hamid Karzai’s Journey Into the Palace,” says that what the Americans saw as corruption, Mr. Karzai and his family saw as simply patronage. Because the government was weak, with the Americans providing all the muscle, patronage was the only thing Mr. Karzai had to maintain his power base.

“Then you have President Obama, who says we have to do it differently. But the only thing that changed was Obama criticizing Karzai, making his government transparent, setting up task forces openly attacking his corruption,” she said. “It was not likely something would change; Karzai’s patronage system that was built up was too strong, and he himself too proud.”

The inquiry over the apparent embezzlement of nearly a billion dollars from Kabul Bank, which implicated Mr. Karzai’s brother and the brother of his first vice president, was deeply embarrassing, and he blamed American officials for leaking it to the press — and then using the threat of aid cuts to force him to dismember the bank.

From the point of view of the United States and its Western allies, they have only been trying to push Mr. Karzai to do the right thing.

Karzai should have had a chat with Tim Geithner the last time he was in Washington. I'm sure he could have shown him to handle this little bit of business.