Friday, May 21, 2004

Humanitarianism, Sudan, and Private Military Contractors

Chris Bertram over at the excellent Crooked Timber has noticed that the Muslims in the North of Sudan are butchering the non-Muslims in the South and West. In the aftermath of the Iraq debacle, we cannot expect that any western state will intervene militarily to put an end to this particular chapter of human misery. Nor can we count on any form of non-military multilateralism to be of much help. Sanctions, anyone? Soft power? (What a crock that concept is.)

My suggestion is that we rely upon private military contractors. While PMC's have been controversial in Iraq, not least because of their role in Abu Ghraib, their is no reason to think that, if properly controlled, they cannot be used for humanitarian purposes. Why don't liberal humanitarian interventionists simply club together, raise the cash, and send a bunch of PMCs over to Darfur to protect women and children from the Janjaweed currently butchering them? Doubtless the wishy-washy liberals will object. But in the future PMCs will probably be our only option for projecting power abroad for humanitarian purposes. The Iraq debacle certainly brings to an end the brief period in the 1990s when humanitarian intervention was advertised as a central component of a new global order.

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