Book Discussion: Laura Dickinson’s “Outsourcing War and Peace”
This week Opinio Juris is hosting a discussion on Laura Dickinson’s book Outsourcing War and Peace: Preserving Public Values in a World of Privatized Foreign Affairs.
Professor Dickinson is the Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School in Washington DC. Her book addresses issues related to the increasing privatization of foreign policy functions of government. Here is the abstract:
Over the past decade, states and international organizations have shifted a surprising range of foreign policy functions to private contractors. But who is accountable when the employees of foreign private firms do violence or create harm? This timely book describes the services that are now delivered by private contractors and the threat this trend poses to core public values of human rights, democratic accountability, and transparency. The author offers a series of concrete reforms that are necessary to expand traditional legal accountability, construct better mechanisms of public participation, and alter the organizational structure and institutional culture of contractor firms. The result is a pragmatic, nuanced, and comprehensive set of responses to the problem of foreign affairs privatization.
Each day this week, Professor Dickinson will post about a particular topic addressed in her book. Comments will be provided by Professor Allison Stanger of Middlebury College, Scott Horton of Harper’s Magazine, Assistant Dean Jeff Walker of St John’s Law School and Opinio Juris’ own Deborah Pearlstein, Ken Anderson and Chris Borgen. Our readers are of course more than welcome to add to the discussion in the comments, and we certainly hope that you will!