WSJ: Defense Industry Pursues Gold in ‘Smart Power’ Deals

The Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine comes to mind reading this article from the WSJ:

The U.S. government has hired the defense contractor to test an emerging tenet of its security policy. Called “smart power,” it blends military might with nation-building activities, in hopes of boosting political stability and American influence in far-flung corners such as Liberia.

U.S. officials are concerned that nations imperiled by poverty and political strife could spark regional conflicts and foster terrorist networks. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the problem posed by failing states “is in many ways the ideological and security challenge of our time.”

One notes immediately, that now big corps have a vested interest in some of those conflicts actually coming about, and as things are going economically with all these formerly prosperous nations going down the drain, there will be a lot of work and thus profits.

The article goes on (emphasis mine):

The Pentagon and the State Department are now leaning on defense contractors to come up with ways to stave off crises before they occur, with programs as simple as mentoring lawyers or teaching auto repair. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has advocated for “smart power” initiatives abroad. In a speech earlier this month, the Pentagon’s top officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen, talked about the need for more civilian efforts—or “soft power”—overseas, instead of just military muscle.

“Secretaries Clinton and Gates have called for more funding and more emphasis on our soft power, and I could not agree with them more,” Adm. Mullen said. “Should we choose to exert American influence solely through our troops, we should expect to see that influence diminish in time.”

Sounds like someone wants to impose their value system on every one. I guess if you disagree, you’ll be treated as an enemy bellingerent.

Since 2006, contractors hired by Lockheed have mentored Liberian prosecutors as part of a project to bolster the country’s judicial system. They also helped establish a cadre of public defenders. PAE remodeled parts of Monrovia’s battle-scarred Temple of Justice, installing a new roof and new electrical wiring.

“They’ve come in to really strengthen the system,” said Liberia’s Justice Minister Christiana Tah, who has been on the job since July. “We can see the difference in the performance of the prosecutors, which was terrible.”

Criminals prosecuted by the Lockheed-trained lawyers were caught by Liberia’s national police force whose members were trained by Lockheed’s PAE.

I am wondering how having built fighter planes qualifies you to ‘mentor’ prosecutors, defenders and the police. Oh, wait. Sure, in a police state that makes complete sense.

I am being just to negative again, am I.

Note: A short description of Naomi Klein’s book Shock Doctrine can be found on Wikipedia. If you haven’t read the book, please do so now. It is an eye opener.