Leander, Anna (2012) Letting Others Lead. European Approaches to the Regulation of International Military Markets, PRIO Policy Brief, 7. Oslo: PRIO.
Europeans – Norwegians included – often assume that their countries take a restrictive approach to the regulation of commercial military services, and that the regulatory glitches that continue to occur must be attributable to the permissive regulations of other states, particularly the USA and the UK. These assumptions, however, are unfounded. Europe’s ‘letting others lead’ approach to regulation is directly co-responsible for the absence of effective regulation, as this policy brief sets out to explain. First, over-confidence in the restrictiveness and sufficiency of the existing regulatory framework blinds Europeans to the level of commercialization permitted by their regulations and justifies the patchy and ad hoc nature of the European approach to international regulation. Additionally, European states have relegated responsibility for regulation to other actors, and in so doing have encouraged the fragmentation of overlapping and contradictory sets of rules. Accordingly, the brief concludes that Europeans are accentuating rather than countering the ineffectiveness of regulation, and that European states’ acknowledgement of their responsibility for regulation is both necessary and long overdue.
The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) conducts research on the conditions for peaceful relations between states, groups and people.