Reports about mercenaries and private security companies appear again and again, which over-dramatize their real importance in the wars. The mercenaries from the Middle Ages to Sir Francis Drake are often cited as historical examples. Or the 200,000 strong private army of the East Asia Company, which was allowed to exist until it plunged the neoliberal British Empire into a deep economic crisis and was therefore nationalized. As I said, mercenaries are not a new phenomenon, rather the many supposedly private security companies that have emerged since the 1990s. Be it Military Professional Resources Inc, (MPRI), BDM, Executive Outcomes (EO), Vinell, SAIC, Blackwater or now Wagner in Russian. But they are only auxiliary troops and not decisive for the war, i.e. rather supportive of the war, moreover some have shifted more to organizing building and personal protection and military advice for states as well as multinational corporations and also mostly do not carry out any operative or decisive war acts.
That they are closely intertwined with high representatives and ex-representatives from politics, business, the military and secret services, especially since BDM had the Carlyle Group consisting of ex-Foreign Secretary James Baker, and ex-Defense Minister Carlucci or others on their boards similar to SAIC which had with the ex-defense ministers Willam Perry and Melvin Laird as well as the ex-CIA chiefs Deutsch and Robert Gates as leading members is logical, but says nothing about the importance of these mercenary and security companies. The MPRI denies to this day that it organized the Krajna offensive of the Croatian army and the mass expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the Serbian civilian population. With EO this is clearer, because the head of the troops, a former military and secret service agent of apartheid South Africa,conquered and “liberated” the diamond fields of Sierra Leone from „rebels“ on behalf of the South African Anglo-American Company with his own soldiers and air force in 1998 within 18 days. But these days these stories have become rare in the media and at most Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan still attracts attention in films and books.
But as I said: it is more of an entertainment factor for the media or for people who see the craft of war become independent and want to see it under total state control. The chief ideological pioneer of such international privatization of the military, Thomas Barnett, who wanted the complete privatization of the US military as a service provider for multinational corporations, especially globalized and with Asian and European armies, to serve the noble goal of globalization and the elimination of the disconnected gap states. never got through with his proposals and the Bush Jr. administration and the Pentagon fired him for such proposals. No, nobody wants back to the private armies of the East Asian Companies (200,000 )and back to Sir Francis Drake. Nevertheless, Dr. Wolfgang Sachsenröder shows in his contribution “The little man has no profit” that the number of troops in the private security companies in Afghanistan with 120,000 sometimes exceeded that of the US armies with 100,000. So again tendencies towards an outsourcing of security services, although these private security services are armed and can defend themselves, but they have no active and offensive combat missions or are real boots on the ground.
The advantage of mercenaries and private security companies is that they can be used by the state via its secret services, but the state can distance themselves diplomatically at any time and dead mercanaries are then not counted as fallen soldiers similar to Putin´s Green Men or Wagner. Especially since during the Cold War you could always read the American mercenary magazine Soldier of Fortune under the legendary US chief mercenary leader Robert „Bob“ Brown. One always knew exactly which “secret” wars the US government was waging, from Afghanistan to Burma to Angola, via its CIA and its mercenaries. Mercenaries only become a problem when,they like the Reichswehr agent Hitler or Osama Bin Laden initiate their own political movements and act against their former sponsors such as the Frankenstein monster. Otherwise not, they are just willing and well-paid assistants.
The fact that Erdogan is now also recruiting mercenaries for his neo-Ottoman empire is not surprising – now allegedly 4,000 Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan, like Russia with Wagner and with Erdogan also some to Libya, especially since Erdogan is still sending the Turkish military into the war. But Erdogan´s so-called mercenaries are Islamist militias who fight not for money, but for a religious God state, the Ummah and a neo-Ottoman empire, especially since Erdogan tries to integrate and centralie these various Islamist murderer militias of the Syrian war from the Muslim Brotherhood to Jayesh el Islam or Jayesh el Fatah,etc. into a common unit, including the Syrian National Army, which executes the services of Istanbul. Membership estimates range from 17,000 to 100,000 fighters who cannot even be called mercenaries, even if they get their money from Erdogan. To set up a mercenary company or a private security company, you always need the license or the silent consent of a state. Nevertheless, most western mercenaries and private companies are mainly motivated by economic and opportunistic interests and not out of ideological reasons, they are not new crusaders like the motivation of Erdogan’s and Qatar’s „mercenaries“ is just ideological and also their will to fight for a God state, Ummah and possibly a neo-Ottoman Empire. They are not „mercenaries“, but jihadists and it also explains the difference to the pirvate western security companies and the so quickly collapsing Afghan army, which seems to have been more of a mercenary army than a real one national and state army.
In addition, the idea of war Keynesianism, according to which the armaments companies start wars and earn money from them, is questionable. Politicians still decide about war and peace and one cannot equate the fact that the arms industry earns money from wars with the fact that it also makes war decisions in Washington. This is more of a state monopoly capitalism theory and forgets the autonomy of the state and of the politicians who make the decisions. That does not rule out certain lobbying and attempts to exert influence, and if a war is decided, certain exploitation of the situation. Especially since most of the business is not done in arments production, but in civilian production and according to that sort of logic logic eternal peace should actually rule or, conversely, eternal war. In addition, the arms sector in the USA only accounts for 10% of GDP, as there are hardly any pure arms companies, but many even have significantly higher civilian production lines. And the vulgar Marxist idea of a capitalist crisis and therefore war is not correct either. The First World War came during a worldwide economic boom, while the Second World War came in the shadow of the world economic crisis of 1929. Therefore, the conceptual and automatic equation of politics and economics is wrong.