Q&A Friday #79: Are Private Armies The Wave Of The Future?

Question: “Are private armies like Blackwater the wave of the future? Will they replace our current armed forces?” — BrightHorizons

Answer: Will private armies replace our armed forces? No.

Are they likely to be used more and more in the future? Yes. Why? Because most European nations are no longer willing and/or able to make a significant military contribution.

Typically, all we get for doing diplomatic loop-the-loops with most of our “allies” in Europe, such as they are, are a few hundred useless troops who sit in a baracks somewhere out of the way. In fact, the only point of bringing them in at all is so we can say another country is part of our “coaliton,” which for all practical purposes exists mostly on paper. So, if we can bring in a private company that is, unlike most of our “allies,” actually able to help us, it makes sense to do so.

Also consider that the size of our military has dramatically shrunk since the Cold War ended and, to be truthful, it’s no longer big enough to fight two wars at a time, which is what it’s supposed to be capable of doing. Private contractors help fill that gap.

Last but not least, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to actually use private contractors for peacekeeping duties that the US doesn’t want to get involved in. Allowing the UN to have a standing army would be a terrible idea, but if let’s say the US were to give companies like Blackwater permission to go to places like Sudan with the UN’s blessing — they could make a real difference doing the peacekeeping that America and Europe doesn’t want to do.

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