Melbourne Journal of Politics 32 (2007): 6-24
The rise and proliferation of private military companies (PMCs) came in response to the changing political, strategic and economic environment following the Cold War. Certain places more than others, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, have required the services of such external actors to maintain even a minimum level of order. PMCs however represent an uneasy dilemma insofar as our present understanding of international relations and international law is concerned, facilitating highly-sought on-call military capability on the one hand and creating immense ethical and even socioeconomic complications on the other. What is certain is that the privatisation of military affairs reflects, rather than merely accelerates, the changing nature of state centric politics and of warfare, and is thus a fixture of the present era. Rather than categorically condemning them, a nuanced and balanced approach is required that takes into consideration potential benefits especially amid intractable conflicts.
Photo credit: Saurabh Das/AP
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