David Shearer on Mercenaries

April 28th, 2009 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

Phil Goff has been shifting more towards the centre, with the departure of Helen Clark and Michael Cullen. He is attacking National for not sticking with tax cuts, he let Clayton Cosgrove attack over Maori prison units and he is refusing to back Maori seats on the Auckland Council. Plus are backing most of the RMA changes and voted to repeal the EFA.

But the extent to which Goff wants to pull Labour away from the left astonishes even me. As we all know, is his hand picked candidate for – his former school friend and Ministerial advisor.

Now David shares none of the antipathy most of his Labour colleagues do towards the private sector. Most of them don’t want the private sector involved in corrections, work accident insurance, health or education. They say it has no role in core state functions. Us on the right are more relaxed and support private sector involvement if it is efficient and delivers good outcomes.

Anyway, while searching for Shearer’s Lincoln university thesis on Maori values and environmental decision-making (as had heard it was interesting) we came across a couple of articles David Shearer had written for foreign policy journals. And what are they on?

“Outsourcing War” and “Privatising Protection”

Let us first look at what he says in “Outsourcing War” published by “Foreign Policy” in 1998:

The principal obstacle to regulating private military companies has been the tendency to brand them as “” of the kind witnessed in Africa 30 years ago,rather than to recognize them as multinational entrepreneurs eager to solidify their legitimacy

Legitimate multinational entreprenurs instead of mercenaries. Now that is music to my ears. Not quite so sure how aligned that is to current Labour Party activists and MPs.

Shearer goes on to recommend:

Consequently, regulation can be best achieved through constructive engagement.

I agree – far better than banning them. But Shearer has an even better idea:

The prospect that private military companies might gain some degree of legitimacy within the international community begs the question as to whether these firms could take on UN peacekeeping functions and improve on UN effort.

An excellent idea. I am sure the new UNDP Administator would whole heartedly agree that UN peace keeping forces should be replaced by Executive Outcomes and Sandline. I do hope someone asks her her view.

There is no denying that they are cheaper than UN operations. EO cost Sierra Leone’s governmen$t35 million for the 22 months it was there, versus a planned UN operation budgeted at $47 million for eight months.

And is it any more moral for the UN to be using Fijian peacekeepers than private mercenary armies?

Military companies may in fact offer new possibilities for building peace that, while not universal in applicability, can hasten the end to a war and limit loss of life. Moreover there is no evidence that private-sector intervention will erode the state.

Despite the commercial motives of military companies, their interventions, if anything, have strengthened the ability of governments to control their territory.

I think Rodney should grab David Shearer for ACT. I want this man to be our Defence Minister.

The full article is here – shearer-outsourcing-war. I’ll blog the second article tomorrow.

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42 Responses to “David Shearer on Mercenaries”

  1. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Has he got a shareholding in Blackwater as well?

    This guy is almost reaching out to the National Front.

    In the Labour Party of NZ? Are you serious?

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  2. straya (61 comments) says:

    DPF, your tone suggests you support these ideas…is this a wind-up?

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  3. Inventory2 (10,100 comments) says:

    Sheesh – when I’d heard him described as right-wing, I was thinking economically. But this is a whole new kettle of fish.

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  4. David Choat (22 comments) says:

    DPF, when you say “we came across a couple of articles”, who do you mean by “we”?

    [DPF: No one in Government or Parliament]

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  5. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    He sounds like Dick Cheney. I’d vote for him if I lived in Mt Albert.

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  6. radvad (665 comments) says:

    A Labour member with ideas outside the left’s ideologically blinkered square. All power to him.

    These ideas are worthy of mature and rational discussion. Sadly that is not possible with the retards who are frightened by such discussion.

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  7. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    By “we” do we mean http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/content/david-shearer-minister-defence

    I can relate to private custodial practices but paid private armies is not my cup of tea. A bit too much a mixture of George W and African politics.

    Do you think Goff is making a play for a Labour-Act coalition in 2011? Should National start getting worried?

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  8. Barnsley Bill (977 comments) says:

    The Haliburton candidate. Outstanding effort David and Cameron.
    If left to the MSM we would never have known about this.
    http://barnsleybill.blogspot.com/2009/04/haliburton-candidate.html

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  9. Cactus Kate (545 comments) says:

    So I guess this means as I predicted:-

    “MEG BATES FOR MT ALBERT!!!”

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  10. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    An excellent idea. I am sure the new UNDP Administator would whole heartedly agree that UN peace keeping forces should be replaced by Executive Outcomes and Sandline.

    Nah give the lefties heart failure by outsourcing all peace keeping operations to Blackwater.

    Edit: Beat me to it Glut….

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  11. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    Ha DPF

    You are really pushing your luck. You think that you persuaded Labour not to select Phil Twyford and now you are trying to do the same with Shearer.

    UN forces are predominately groups of mercenaries, your reference to Fiji is quite appropriate. And the US must be the most bloated overpaid and over resourced army in the world, thanks to GWB and Haliburton. So mercenaries and security companies are already there. It is not as if Shearer is talking about something radical.

    I am struggling to understand the relevance of this post.

    Are you “praising” Shearer to see if you can turn the left off him?

    [DPF: I agree that Shearer is not talking something radical. However that is a different question as to how compatible he is with Labour today who say the private sector should be banned from involvement in corrections]

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  12. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Anyway, while searching for Shearer’s Lincoln university thesis on Maori values and environmental decision-making (as had heard it was interesting)

    …Interesting because he’s the likely Labour candidate perhaps? :-D

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  13. Barnsley Bill (977 comments) says:

    We are all getting in behind Shearer. I wonder what other info David and Cameron have unearthed on this fella? I can’t wait for tomorrows instalment.
    This is great, It is Roger Douglas reborn. Just what labour needs.
    As an aside; David why do you keep feeding Garner these stories? I understood the reason last year. TVNZ was out of the question, but Labour have been gone for six months. They do not have editorial control anymore. Time to start tipping them if Garner will not do the right thing and credit you guys for all the leg work.
    Oh, and Micky Savage… You are a pathetic replacement for sonic and roger nome.. Are you the best labour can do?

    Picture the phone calls and meetings this evening. All those tards at the standard dispatched to research everything Shearer has ever said and written so they can get the spin and smear prepared in his defense… Or not. He is after all the Goff candidate and not the Clark candidate.

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  14. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Perhaps Philin is doing his own outsourcing, his only hope of getting a decent candidate for Mt Albert is to hire in a mercenary, enter Mr Shearer. I mean who in their right mind would join up with the socialists anyway, shit you would need to be payed well, you would be on a hiding for nothing.

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  15. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    I wrote earlier in jest that i thought Goff might be looking at a Labour- Act coalition.

    And then I thought about Rodney’s comments on Q&A on Sunday saying that he thought some of the positions taken by John Key were to the left of the Labour Party. I am no longer sure my comments are in jest. Are we seeing a major realignment taking place?

    Let us see what tomorrow brings!!

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  16. peteremcc (341 comments) says:

    sounds good.

    we should steal him as the act candidiate.

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  17. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    Shearer for PM!
    I guess Phil Goff is thinking Tizard might not be so bad…
    Mind you, New Zealand could do well out of renting a strike wing if the time comes. Darn sight cheaper than buying one I’d guess.

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  18. clintheine (1,563 comments) says:

    Poliwatch – surely you jest. “”A bit too much a mixture of George W and African politics.”” ?

    You did know that Africa freaking loved President Bush don’t you? His policies in Africa were a resounding success and it’s only due to the left bitching about him so much that he won’t get the deserved Nobel Prize for his efforts to eliminate AIDS. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28605888/

    David – I like that you said he could join ACT, you’re right – ACT have the policies that Nats dream about :)

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  19. Tuija (220 comments) says:

    Clint my little political porn photoshopper
    “You did know that Africa freaking loved President Bush don’t you? His policies in Africa were a resounding success”
    two words Helen Epstein

    google is your friend

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  20. ZenTiger (425 comments) says:

    From my own reading, Executive Outcomes did a good job in Sierra Leone, and when the UN came in it all went downhill. And the money differential wasn’t 35M to 47M, but hundreds of millions. Throw in a whole pile of corruption allegations by UN soldiers and a failure to prevent vicious mutilations inflicted on over one hundred thousand villagers, and I’d vote Executive Outcomes over UN every time in terms of value for money.

    It’s not to say some of the UN forces are not capable, it’s that they are watered down by the many countries that are there only for the dollars, or the ROE suck, or the bureaucracy kills any meaningful action.

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  21. Barnsley Bill (977 comments) says:

    Glad somebody brought up tango mans love of porn. When are we going to see you go low again Clint? You seem to have given up since you became my blogging bitch..
    Barnsley Bill top 20.

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  22. Loco Burro (82 comments) says:

    Come on guys, I think all your back-slapping over the Twyford issue is going to your heads a bit. (please don’t tell me you are going to start a ‘Harpooned’ page as well? :) ) The idea is an old one, just keep repeating it till its true, it won’t work every time though! Interesting that Key referred to research done by his parliamentary team that seems surprisingly familiar to what you are putting out. Did you receive information from the National Party over this, or did you provide this to the National Party before posting it or is it just a coincidence and did they produce the same research without any contact and I am seeing links where there are none?
    And I am asking this only because you have made similar accusations against left-wing bloggers, like that bunch over at The Standard.

    [DPF: As I later posted, received nothing from National and did not provide it to them in advance. They probably would have preferred I did rather than give it to TV3. But I figured more fun on TV!]

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  23. Ross Miller (1,661 comments) says:

    If Shearer represents the Goff face of Labour you can imagine the BBQs being fired up and the chatter of earnest lefties as they try to reconcile the irreconcilable. ‘Cunners’ will be pleased. Probably out purchasing loads of BBQ sauce.

    p.s. lotsa new names here. All from the Standard????

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  24. Loco Burro (82 comments) says:

    Also, I disagree with some of the ideas Shearer has put forward in his writings, maybe a question put to him to see if his views are still similar might clear it up, though probably not importnat enough. Big picture I think it won’t really effect voter intentions and there are probably more important questions to ask, especially about his grasp of local issues in Mt. Albert.

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  25. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    My guess is that from the TV3 news tonight that there will be a lot of Fijians who will be looking around for a private army to join. I am seeing a market opportunity.

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  26. reid (15,947 comments) says:

    Goff’s taking a huge chance. The Sisterhood is alive and well. They won’t take this lightly. Good on you for bringing up this fatal schism in the Liarbore ranks, DPF.

    Apparently, it’s very serious indeed.

    Meanwhile…

    [Shearer:] The prospect that private military companies might gain some degree of legitimacy within the international community begs the question as to whether these firms could take on UN peacekeeping functions and improve on UN effort.

    [DPF:] An excellent idea. I am sure the new UNDP Administator would whole heartedly agree that UN peace keeping forces should be replaced by Executive Outcomes and Sandline. I do hope someone asks her her view.

    Which will be whatever her masters think it should be, spun with a furious vengeance, and damn the torpedos, by crikey. She would have made a good pirate.

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  27. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    “[DPF: I agree that Shearer is not talking something radical. However that is a different question as to how compatible he is with Labour today who say the private sector should be banned from involvement in corrections]”

    This is nothing to do with Corrections. That involves the New Zealand state setting up compulsory institutions within its jurisdiction to house individuals who it considers should be locked up. Sophisticated rules of justice apply.

    UN Peacekeeping is a process normally of trying to keep warring factions apart. All that is required is trained personell with big guns. Contributions are voluntary, the UN does not have the power to require contributions. And it pays countries to get involved. Ask Fiji.

    Why not pay companies to do this job?

    [DPF: He also advocates Government use mercenaries for their own wars and civil wars. That is far more a core function than Corrections. But I agree UN would be better to use mercenaries than peacekeepers!]

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  28. Inventory2 (10,100 comments) says:

    So Phil’s trying to lead Labour back to the right eh. Sheesh, I can’t see all those who have spent the last 18 years exorcising the ghost of Sir Rog taking too kindly to this lurch rightwards. As Ross said above, the BBQ’s will be cooking overtime from here on in, and I noticed on Twitter that a few of the blokes are going to a hangi – Jones, Cunliffe and Mallard – make of that what you will :-)

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  29. Loco Burro (82 comments) says:

    [DPF: As I later posted, received nothing from National and did not provide it to them in advance. They probably would have preferred I did rather than give it to TV3. But I figured more fun on TV!]

    Fair enough, thanks for the reply.

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  30. peteremcc (341 comments) says:

    TV3 clip here (thanks whale!): http://actoncampus.org.nz/blog/labour_support_private_armies

    So why do Labour think the private sector is an acceptable solution when women and children are dying overseas in wars, but when women and children are dying here in New Zealand’s hospitals, only the state will do?

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  31. coge (176 comments) says:

    Clearly Shearer is from the right wing of labour, & he is Phil’s boy. I agree with him wholeheartedly about the use of PMCs. Governments that are afraid of PMCs don’t understand them.

    Looks like it’s Nanny Bates for Labours nomination.

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  32. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    So, more good news for the Russel and the Greens. We in the Greens (unlike the Lab/Nats) don’t do mercenaries!

    More votes for Russel.

    Goodie, goodie!

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  33. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    Loco Burro said: Also, I disagree with some of the ideas Shearer has put forward in his writings…

    So, why not back Russel Norman?

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  34. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    “We in the Greens (unlike the Lab/Nats) don’t do mercenaries!”

    Ever done a stint on a Greenpeace boat?

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  35. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,811 comments) says:

    toad says on April 28th, 2009 at 10:50 pm:

    We in the Greens (unlike the Lab/Nats) don’t do mercenaries!

    Yeah, I think the “Urewera 17″ disproves that point.

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  36. Flashman (184 comments) says:

    Take a deep breath, team.

    Shearer was simply replaying a nascent idea that others were working on in the mid-1990′s aimed at making conventional armed forces more cost-effective. The gist of it all is that any cost-analysis of the armed forces reveals that the lion’s share of the budget goes into “tail” administrative and lines of communication activities – thus at the expense of “tooth” frontline combat troops. Consequently, instead of carrying a huge fixed cost of uniformed clipboard clerks and bridge guards on the books, you get better economic and combat results by passing this work onto private security firms on a fixed term contract basis. [This avoids the classic scenario of the fully costed army budget paying $150 for $30 screwdrivers.]

    Ten years later, private security sub-contracting today is a key part of a modern armed force. Private secuirty contractors now takeup all manner of administrative, maintenance and low-grade protective tasks: from running the payroll admin, to servicing helicopters, to protecting facilties and escorting road convoys. It’s all very, very old hat stuff now.

    So there’s now nothing dark, dangerous and radical in all this – except it seems in the fevered imaginations of certain sections of the sheltered, uniformphobic NZ chattering classes.

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  37. reid (15,947 comments) says:

    It’s faintly ridiculous to seriously discuss contracting out national security to a private firm, regardless of the aspect under discussion.

    I mean, what if the enemy offers to pay your army a bonus for deliberately losing the battle, for example. That wouldn’t happen?

    No, of course it wouldn’t.

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  38. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    So, why not back Russel Norman?

    Just because he disagrees with one or two of his writings is no reason to vote for another candidate whose policies are bat-shit crazy.

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  39. Loco Burro (82 comments) says:

    “Toad:So, why not back Russel Norman?”

    Thanks Bevan, I do agree with certain Green policieis, but not all. I also have these reasons:

    Firstly – I don’t live in Mt. Albert :)
    Second: several parties (including Labour/National) haven’t announced their candidates
    Third: Russel Norman has provided no policy outside of disagreeing with Nat and Labs transport policies so I cannot make a decision on such little info.
    Fourth: The Nat/Green MOU which Norman has not fully explained to green voters, especially the lack of disclosure of discussions and the silencing of Green voices on issues the Green Party do secretive deals on with the National Government. The Greens were respected in the past for their openness and accountability, come on guys, give us more info to work with, and don’t just shut up when the National Government asks you to, even legislation you agree with can be amended and commented on surely?
    Fifth: The Greens reasoning for standing a candidate seems to be based on publicising the Green Party rather than providing a voice and support in parliament to the people of Mt. Abert (though I am willing to be corrected on this).

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  40. clintheine (1,563 comments) says:

    Tuija – you’ve lost me. You’re sounding like a certain Robinsod.

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  41. thedavincimode (6,532 comments) says:

    indeed clint

    tuijiboard has certainly blown the cunning reincarnation. lasted ’bout 2 days. they just can’t help themselves.

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  42. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,811 comments) says:

    reid says on April 29th, 2009 at 7:22 am

    what if the enemy offers to pay your army a bonus for deliberately losing the battle

    Market forces in action. :lol:

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