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  • #16
    Do you gentlemen think that the prevalence of mercenaries after the Arab Spring is further evidence of a deteriorating political situation in the World?

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    • #17
      It's changing. It's the return of corps and individuals that are more powerful than whole nations that is the issue. Instead of the CIA and KGB, we have Bezos and Musk

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      • #18
        Originally posted by feeder View Post
        It's changing. It's the return of corps and individuals that are more powerful than whole nations that is the issue. Instead of the CIA and KGB, we have Bezos and Musk
        Companies have tried using Mercs before. De Beers most infamously. Results have been... mixed.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by BaronIveagh View Post

          Companies have tried using Mercs before. De Beers most infamously. Results have been... mixed.
          Arguably the Pinkerton's.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Konst Humm View Post
            Do you gentlemen think that the prevalence of mercenaries after the Arab Spring is further evidence of a deteriorating political situation in the World?
            The manpower pool from mercenaries stems mostly from "discarded/ obsolete" people.
            Aka criminals, adventurers, soldiers of fortune... Even countries that did run on mercenary economies like medieval swiss cantons didn't send people that were non-discarded ones. (discarded in this means the fact that only the oldest son could for a very long time inherit, coupled with population growth since the 12th century you can imagine that a lot of sons were oboslete in a way, which then chose the mercenary work, which was until the 1700s rather well paid even for rank and file).

            Instability promotes all three of these, and the situatioin in the middle east did recently detiroate and the new governments, if they even managed to topple the former regimes often are not very well capable ... but so does when you have a quality name for certain types of soldiers.

            World wide the situation isn't deterioating, but rather it becomes duopolistic again, partially because China rises and the USA seems to be falling down a bit more. However with these shifts the situation might overall detirioate again like the Coldwar.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by BaronIveagh View Post

              Companies have tried using Mercs before. De Beers most infamously. Results have been... mixed.
              I will agree with the "mixed" opinion. Mercs get a bad rep, but there have been a number of companies that have done rather well and made the world a better place using Mercs. EO , which I want to say is short for Executive Opportunities???, put down violent African rebels that bested an actual military and slaughtered thousands of civilians. They did it quickly, cheaply, and got the major respect of the civilian population.

              This garnered them so much credibility that they were ready to jump in to stop the Tootsie genocide in it's tracks, but then they got labeled as "Mercenaries", and basically got blackballed and banned from doing it. The Clinton administration lead that charge, and I view it as a major stain on the Clinton record.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by cuda1179 View Post

                I will agree with the "mixed" opinion. Mercs get a bad rep, but there have been a number of companies that have done rather well and made the world a better place using Mercs. EO , which I want to say is short for Executive Opportunities???, put down violent African rebels that bested an actual military and slaughtered thousands of civilians. They did it quickly, cheaply, and got the major respect of the civilian population.

                This garnered them so much credibility that they were ready to jump in to stop the Tootsie genocide in it's tracks, but then they got labeled as "Mercenaries", and basically got blackballed and banned from doing it. The Clinton administration lead that charge, and I view it as a major stain on the Clinton record.
                Executive Outcomes from South Africa. From my understanding, they had basically stabilized Sierra Leone (or at least contained the Revolutionary United Front, something the country had not been able to do on its own) until they were forced out and replaced with a peacekeeping force that failed to stop a resurgence of the RUF. Executive Outcomes operated in Angola as well, and from what I've seen, the outcome was rather similar: EO began operating in the country and made significant progress, EO was forced out and replaced with peacekeeping troops, peacekeeping troops failed.

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                • #23
                  Maybee their effectiveness has something to do with the will to combat the enemy, something many peacekeepers actually lack. Often they are delegated out from their country into a foreign country, not excactly a banger for the fighting spirit.
                  Also in regards to nation building its a questionable method, considering our own efforts in the Kosovo in regards to swisscoy. And whilest we generally had good relations with all sides in that conflict, teaching them a thing or two about democracy and well multicultural acceptance is not really happening. basically politically you can't really transplant ideals against the will of the local important deciding factor, and in the case of Kosovo that 'd be the corresponding elites which have no real interest to avoid the partisanship politics...

                  Especially against asymetric fighting enemies, you require the need for constant push and attack on them so that they can't organise.
                  Failing that you will have a growing problem until the assymetric side wins due to having crippled your political situation to become untennable.
                  Peacekeeping missions often lack the necessary agressive attitude.

                  I rekon that Executive Outcomes had that attitude.
                  However in regards to EO, the problematic aspect is that they have an attitude not dissimilar to the thirty years war general Albrecht von Wallenstein. Get paid in concessions, use concessions after stabilising that part of the country, enrich themselves. That doesn't necessarily make them bad, since they can significantly contribute to the local industry and stability... questionable however it becomes when they become very monolithic in local economies, since then they can just well, putsch (btw swiss german word, one of the few that made it into international lingo) governments that they don't like out of the way.

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                  • #24
                    Executive Outcomes was less a mercenary company and more a mining company with guns. They were paid very little, but also were given exclusive mining rights to areas they liberated, which their parent company gleefully exploited. Also were big on letting African forces do the actual dying for them while taking the credit.

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                    • #25
                      I can see the push back on Executive Outcomes. We only need to look at history to see that relying on mercenaries as a Security strategy is a long-term, bad idea.

                      Mercenaries in general are symptoms of a de-stabilized world order where central control is weak and fragmented.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Easy E View Post
                        I can see the push back on Executive Outcomes. We only need to look at history to see that relying on mercenaries as a Security strategy is a long-term, bad idea.

                        Mercenaries in general are symptoms of a de-stabilized world order where central control is weak and fragmented.
                        except they are not... indeed large mercenary operations require significant controll. The bigger the more centralised. Indeed facilitating merc operations was and can still be a way for nation building... tbf though such nations have a tendency to become really really wierd in the grand scheme of things....

                        They are a significant step in the monopoly of power and sovereignity of a lot of states.
                        Unless of course you'd completely like to ignore the time period from 1200-1700 of europe and by extension dismiss formative years of a lot of countries. Since they are a significant upgrade in discipline, organisation and logistics. Which is also needed for states and governments to become functional

                        Further as otagian pointed out, mercenary services were only relevant as a door opener. They happened to be good at training armies and procuring equipment necessary to allow state actors to make good on their payment concessions. That inherently is a lot less "evil" as other mecenary warfare of purely mercenary centric companies in the past and right now which take what they can get in the conflict and then dodge out of, they are more Wallensteinistic, or condotieri alike. Something that can help the countries they operate in since they can be and were in many cases a stabilising factor.
                        Also EO has never really putsched someone either so that puts them already above a lot of other merc and army cliques companies.

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                        • #27
                          I have a feeling the Mercs used to kill the Haitian leader were NOT just a a door step to the country in consolidating their sovereign power!

                          Well, to counter, I will posit that Mercs in the Bronze Age to the Ancient world were a de-stabilizing force in Europe/Mediterranean Basin. Those states had all ready had their significant step in the monopoly of power, and outside Mercenaries only served to de-stabilize these political entities. Therefore, Mercs are bad for developed international systems, which is closer to where we are today. Unless you wish to ignore the timeframe from 1175 BCE to 426 AD. However, I am not an expert on this time frame, so perhaps NFE has some thoughts on how Mercs helped the transfer of societal norms and national power in the region.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Easy E View Post
                            I have a feeling the Mercs used to kill the Haitian leader were NOT just a a door step to the country in consolidating their sovereign power!

                            Well, to counter, I will posit that Mercs in the Bronze Age to the Ancient world were a de-stabilizing force in Europe/Mediterranean Basin. Those states had all ready had their significant step in the monopoly of power, and outside Mercenaries only served to de-stabilize these political entities. Therefore, Mercs are bad for developed international systems, which is closer to where we are today. Unless you wish to ignore the timeframe from 1175 BCE to 426 AD. However, I am not an expert on this time frame, so perhaps NFE has some thoughts on how Mercs helped the transfer of societal norms and national power in the region.
                            Considering the bronze age collapse had many differing sources, military is but one of them and mercenaries as a destabilising force are but one possibility of how they interacted. I think the problem there is less the warfare caused by mercenaries but rather that the warfare in conjunction with the general collapse of production and trade lead to a significant weakening of the states to the point where they fragmented.

                            Also Haiti is a parade exemple of a corrupt and failed state since pretty much its inception. The president getting assasinated is but another step in its disintegration, if it were the military or the police of paramilitaris or mercs is in that debate pretty much insignificant.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Easy E View Post
                              I have a feeling the Mercs used to kill the Haitian leader were NOT just a a door step to the country in consolidating their sovereign power!

                              Well, to counter, I will posit that Mercs in the Bronze Age to the Ancient world were a de-stabilizing force in Europe/Mediterranean Basin. Those states had all ready had their significant step in the monopoly of power, and outside Mercenaries only served to de-stabilize these political entities. Therefore, Mercs are bad for developed international systems, which is closer to where we are today. Unless you wish to ignore the timeframe from 1175 BCE to 426 AD. However, I am not an expert on this time frame, so perhaps NFE has some thoughts on how Mercs helped the transfer of societal norms and national power in the region.
                              Dunno, man. This is basically modern studies!

                              In all seriousness, my work is mostly earlier and I only some falling into a small part of this period, and mostly focussed specifically on people not usually directly involved (religious specialists and young women, pretty much). Whilst the texts in that period (more or less the 8th to 6th centuries) do refer to foreign (insofar as foreign is an appropriate term in that sense) soldiers, their specific roles and place in diplomatic relations are pretty unclear.

                              It is worth also noting that comparisons across that distance are probably pretty tenuous because of how differently people conceptualise the relationship between individual and state apparatus, and how nation, state, nationality, ethnicity, and various other identities and political concepts interact with them.

                              I think comparisons between medieval politics and modern contexts are seriously problematic for the same reason.

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                              • #30
                                nfe - Fair enough. Thanks for the thoughts.

                                Online- So Mercs are good in some places, but not Haiti?

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