It is interesting how the idea of international security has evolved into its current state. What is simply assumed among western nations is some Pollyanna notion that civil and reasonable discourse will solve all the problems of the world (or at least delay tough solutions until someone, somewhere, with some new engine for economic growth appears...the odds of which are quite good actually as incentives work).
It is also interesting to note the particular aversion to Mercenary armies has been jettisoned in favor of efficiency and expediency. I applaud this development.
I have been reading quite a bit about Africa (which has always been a beacon of curiosity to me since I read "The Power of One" as a child, to say nothing of the spectacular sounds and visuals of the movie "Zulu".) and in particular the actions of Executive Outcomes in Angola and especially Sierra Leone.
The important point being that a 200 man force costing around $20 Million U.S. secured peace in a very dangerous place at a very dangerous time...and when they left, a "Peace-Keeping" force from the U.N. of 17,000 (costing an order of magnitude more at the least) could not preserve these accomplishments in the slightest.
So mercenaries are useful...the problem with the U.S. is that they do not burnish "Brand U.S.A.", and so are contracted out and absorb far too much blame if anything goes awry.
It is remarkable that Africa served as the laboratory for this experiment...it has always been thus. So pay special attention to the myriad conflicts and property interests playing out in the Dark Continent, dear readers. They will have ramifications.