I just started reading Meredith’s ‘The Fate of Africa’ hoping, unrealistically I know, it finish it before my next class starts on the 7th. Even if I don’t, I’m hoping there might be some applicability to the subject matter of the class, titled ‘Foundations of Peace’.
I haven’t even gotten fifty pages into the 750+ page behemoth yet but I have to say that the author’s writing style is quite inviting. Perhaps it’s just me but it seems like history and political science writing has gotten much, much better over the past 20 years and reputable authors no longer view accessibility to a general audience as synonymous with selling out.
A preview of the book is available from google here.
The International Peace Operations Association (the lobbying organization for private military companies) has held the position that they could do an effective peacekeeping mission (at lower cost and higher efficiency that traditional alternatives) if nations or international organizations (like the U.N.) would pony up the money. For some reason, I began wondering if such a mission could be raised if private citizens raised the money instead. Then I saw this article (linked from here) that talks about George Clooney and Don Cheadle offering to raise $20 million out of $47 million needed to equip the arriving UN force with 24 helicopters.
I think the offer is a moot point because it doesn’t seem that money is the problem but rather political reluctance (and here let me recommend Samantha Powers’ The Problem from Hell for more examples of such behavior).
So what if the $47 million was entirely financed by private individuals? If Ron Paul supporters (relatively few in number, burdened by campaign finance laws on donation size and not exactly overflowing with high income supporters) can raise $12 million in one quarter, how much could a semi-organized movement raise to support something as widely supported as peace in Sudan?
If one or more PMCs were offered a significant amount of money to conduct peacekeeping missions (or, more likely, peace enforcement missions since the Khartoum government would not be open to such a mission and some sort of combat would be required) would they do it?
I haven’t thought this through but it’s an interesting idea.