February 8, 2012: A major military problem in most of the world is corruption. This means refusal to follow the rule of law and a willingness to lie, cheat, and steal for personal gain. The corruption often becomes highly organized with politicians, business tycoons, tribal, military, and ethnic leaders all agreeing on who shall have what. Most of the population is screwed and at the mercy of corrupt power brokers who do what they want, no matter what the law, or public need, demands. This sort of thing is the cause of most internal disorder and civil wars and the unexpected poor performance of armed forces in the early stages of a war.
Corruption is a way to use the law and government for personal gain. Hypocrisy aside, many practitioners insist that without the corruption the country would fall apart. All those interconnections between corrupt players are a way to keep the strong from going after each other in an effort to have it all. That's how it was in the dark old days when kings, princes, warlords, and tribal chiefs were always fighting each other over real estate and such. The real rationale for corruption is not for public consumption but to explain to all the power players in a country why it's important to keep the scam going. The crooks, some of them, believe this and insist that this is the most effective way of getting the money distributed. After all, each corrupt player has subordinates that also have to be taken care of. What is forgotten here is that the majority of people in a corrupt country are simply paying and not receiving anything (except lies) in return.
But because so many powerful individuals and groups are part of the corruption in a country or international organization (like the UN), it's very difficult to clean up the mess. It can be done, it has been done. International surveys show that there are dozens of countries with relatively little corruption, although most still have a lot.
So how does one get from corruption to clean government? It takes a lot of effort at the top and at the grass roots. It also takes time, usually decades. There's no easy way out of corruption, and that's why most countries have a lot of work to do.