Fascinating article over the Intercept recently. In The Complete Mercenary, Matthew Cole looks at the curious case of Erik Prince, brother of Betsy De Vos and founder of the Blackwater mercenary company. In the piece, Cole looks at how Prince brought himself and his company back from the brink thanks to his connections with the Trump administration, and to wealthy Arab states in need of a few hired guns.
Prince originally made his money by providing soldiers for hire, particularly to beleaguered African nations during the bad old days of warlords and failed states. To give him his due, his troops seem to have actually helped matters. They stabilized governments that otherwise might have collapsed into warfare and violence.
But, by the first years of this century, that market was beginning to vanish. Prince faced the real possibly of irrelevance.
Fortunately for him, if not for the world, Trump was elected president and his sister, Betsy, became 45’s Secretary of Education. Now, says Cole, Prince is riding high again, finding contracts and fighting wars all over the world, and particularly in the Middle East.
What remains to be seen is how long the gravy train will last. A Democratic president in 2020, or even a significant realignment of political loyalties in the Arab World might well deprive Prince of his role of lord of the modern mercenary.