Armies without States: The Privatization of Security

Armies without States: The Privatization of Security

Armies without States: The Privatization of Security

Armies without States: The Privatization of Security

Excerpt

The amazing proliferation across the globe of mercenaries, private armies, militia, vigilante squads, transnational criminal organizations, self-defense forces, and survivalist enclaves in recent years has caught scholars, policymakers, and the mass public largely unprepared. Posing a basic challenge to the structure of the entire international system, with its underlying assumption that national governments should hold a virtual monopoly on instruments of coercive force, the privatization of security merits sustained analysis to describe its overall scope, delineate its many different forms, place it in a theoretical and historical context, understand its causes and consequences, and figure out how to cope with the transformation.

My desire to write this book stemmed primarily from a fascination about this coercive development. It seemed incredibly urgent to place prevailing trends in a conceptual context that would allow both understanding of and response to the developments. Notably absent from my motivations was either, on the one hand, a predetermined sense of horror at its occurrence and a desire to stamp it out, or, on the other hand, a sense of unbridled pleasure that state security authority was finally receiving a sustained challenge.

In exploring what others have written on the topic, it became increasingly clear that most people either downplay the importance or novelty of this trend, or alternatively construct arguments to prove its consummate worthiness or utter danger. Neither approach seems ultimately helpful, so instead my intent is to explore in as open-minded a manner as possible not only the broader sources and implications of security privatization but also its linkages with other changes in the post–Cold War security environment. Polemical emotional reactions to . . .

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