Leander, Anna (2012) Commercial Politics of Peace. Military Markets Recasting European Engagements in Afghanistan, PRIO Policy Brief, 8. Oslo: PRIO.
Clausewitz’s famous depiction of war as the prolongation of politics by other means captures how many Europeans think their countries’ engagement in Afghanistan is to be understood. Few, however, are aware that private companies have considerable say in the political processes that define this engagement: companies make and shape peace. Indeed, private companies could be said to be (re)casting the Afghan engagements of European states. This brief explains how and why. Companies make peace in the sense that they weigh in on the formulation of strategies for Europe’s engagements in Afghanistan. They are both tokens in political processes and political actors in their own right. Companies also shape peace through their presence in international engagements. Their involvement in multilateral engagements refashions the relations that exist between the various military, civilian and local actors on the ground. This brief suggests that the reality of this situation needs to be acknowledged if we are to adequately grasp the politics of international engagements.
The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) conducts research on the conditions for peaceful relations between states, groups and people.