This chapter presents a synthesis of the discussions in the preceding chapters. It shows that the norm against mercenary use has explained four different puzzles in international history. First, anti-mercenary feeling can help illustrate why states gained control over the independent mercenary and established a controlled international trade in mercenaries. Second, it can help explain why, even though the controlled trade in private fighters was effective, it was abandoned in favour of citizen armies across Europe in the 19th century. Third, it is impossible to understand why international law on mercenaries is so flawed without understanding that states were attempting to adhere to a very strong norm against mercenary use which was difficult to translate into law, and was simultaneously supported by the norms of national self-determination and undermined by the norms of state responsibility and freedom of movement. Fourth, the growth of PMCs, their disappearance, and the rise of PSCs cannot be understood without understanding the normative obstacles modern-day mercenaries face, and the international community's response to the emergence of PMCs is likewise impossible to understand without attention to widespread normative discomfort with the use of private force.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.