Privatising Protection

Privatising Protection is the name of the second article written by about the use of mercenaries. I’ve uploaded a copy of it – privatising-protection.

This one was written three years after the 1998 “Outsourcing War” article – in 2001.

What is really interesting is that in 2001 he was an Adviser to the New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. And who was that? of course.

Now I have worked in a Ministerial office. I find it hard to believe you could be an advisor to the Foreign Minister, and submit an article to Chatham House on private military forces without the Minister giving it an okay. The article is summarised by Chatham House as:

When people in the world’s conflict zones need protecting, it is the United Nations which is most frequently charged with ‘doing something’. Often short of soldiers, it should be given another option, to call on professional military companies to provide human security – for a fee.

Pretty clear – advocates the UN hiring private mercenary armies. But as the NZ Herald reports, Phil Goff said just two years later:

Mr Goff conversely referred to mercenary work as “paid murder” in 2003, when introducing legislation banning mercenaries.

So did Goff know of the article before publication? If so, how does he reconcile it with his statement in 2003?

I give full kudos to David Shearer who is not resiling from his views:

He said he was still supportive of using private security forces for peacekeeping as a last resort.

“If you have got a situation where thousands of people are being mutilated and it’s your only option, then your first priority is the protection of women and children.”

I agree with Shearer. But Shearer has also advocated that they may have a useful role in countries with civil wars. He said:

As a result states’ monopoly on dealing with civil violence has persisted unchallenged.

So Labour argue the state has to be a monopoly in corrections and workplace accident insurance, but their likely candidate says there should be no state monopoly in dealing with civil violence or the military.

Now I agree with Shearer, but I can imagine it is going to be very uncomfortable for Labour when he is an MP.  Everytime Goff or King gets up to accuse the Government of having a agenda, the Nats will laugh and remind them that they have an MP who supports privatising the army. And when you consider Labour’s entire strategy is to basically label everything National does is as privatisation, well Naional can’t wait until Shearer is an MP. Hell, they are probably tempted to endorse him themselves.

I mean look at his free market logic here:

Many factions are increasingly motivated by economic gain through the control of diamonds, gold or minerals. Why not award the concession to a company that will mine and protect the resource, thereby keeping diamonds out of the hands of rebels who will sell them to finance their war?

I love it – profit sharing with the mercenaries. This guy understands free markets and incentives and best of all has no ideological opposition to them. He sure is no Helen Clark.

Of course not being a woman may harm him. The Herald reported:

The Service and Food Workers Union’s northern region secretary, Jill Ovens, said the affiliated unions would not be endorsing any particular Labour candidate.

She said her personal view was that it should be a woman, as Labour no longer had a female electorate MP in Auckland with the departure of Helen Clark.

That is true – they don’t. Cunliffe, Carter, Hawkins, Robertson Goff and Su’a hold the other seats.

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