Repository logo

Privatised peacekeeping : a necessary evil?

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The rise of the Private Military Industry has been cemented in modern global political reality, but where next will this multi-billion dollar industry go and what form will it take after the market boom of Iraq? Post-Colonial Africa is considered the birthplace of the modern mercenary and historically features prominently as a testament to the potential for immoral privately sponsored military activities within unstable states. Moreover, it is a rich market that the Private Military Industry is increasingly turning its attention to, albeit focussing on support functions for now, but a massive industry with a competitive and poorly regulated market environment will invariably begin to explore different avenues as competition grows. With market diversification grows the ethical risk of abuse. At the same time, peacekeeping efforts across the continent are hampered by numerous factors, not least of all a chronic lack of trained personnel. Could the legal and political legitimacy, not to mention the sustainable market environment sought by the PMI potentially exist in multilaterally sanctioned, privatised peacekeeping and peace support operations in Africa? Can the ethical challenges of mercenarism be suspended or even bypassed for the sake of expedient intervention in potential genocides, or be perhaps pragmatically accepted as an inevitable development that should be embraced rather than condemned, for strategic security reasons? Can the ethical condemnation of the proposed means of peace support be overridden by the potential ends generated by such a move? Is the world ready for privatised peacekeepers? This dissertation explores the ethical background to the privatisation of military operations and how these foreign policy trends and social perceptions of control of force impact on the notion of privatised peacekeeping, particularly in the context of operations in Africa. It investigates the philosophical implications of privatised peacekeeping by way of a constrained pragmatic form of consequentialist evaluation that warns against reckless expediency. Ultimately, this dissertation offers a more philosophically suitable argument to justify and control this seemingly inevitable next step in the trend of privatisation of force.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2008.


Private security companies., Mercenary troops., Private security services., Peace-building., Peacekeeping forces., Private military companies., Theses--Philosophy.