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Title: Militaristic Solutions in a Weak State: Internal Security, Private Contractors, and Political Leadership in Papua New Guinea 
Author: Dinnen, Sinclair
Date: 1999
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Dinnen, S. 1999. Militaristic Solutions in a Weak State: Internal Security, Private Contractors, and Political Leadership in Papua New Guinea. The Contemporary Pacific 11 (2): 279-303.
Abstract: Papua New Guinea's Sandline affair provides the most dramatic illustration of
militarization among the Pacific Island states. Although this was the first resort
to mercenaries, there have been other examples of PNG governments hiring private
military contractors for assistance in internal security matters. Recent years
have seen an increasing reliance on militaristic solutions to crime and other
forms of conflict. This trend is partly a response to the well-documented weaknesses
of the police and defense forces. Political leaders have shown a marked
preference for "tough," "quick-fix" solutions. Reliance on militaristic responses
can, at one level, be viewed as a way of compensating for state weakness by relying
on its ostensibly strongest aspect. At the same time, the militaristic orientation
of government actions in this area cannot be separated from wider societal
tolerance of violence as a strategy for resolving conflict. Militaristic solutions
have not only failed to resolve problems of order but have often ended up aggravating
them. They have also had a debilitating impact on many of the government
agencies concerned. Ministerial autonomy allows senior political leaders to
initiate and pursue militaristic schemes that have often been little more than vehicles
for the advancement of the individual leader's electoral and other interests.
Such initiatives in the area of internal security illustrate the reinforcing nexus
between political patronage and the weakness of the PNG state.
ISSN: 1043-898X
Keywords: leadership, militarization, Papua New Guinea, police, political patronage, Sandline affair, security
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals.

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