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The history of United Nations peacekeeping is largely one of failure. The causes are endemic, persistent and unlikely to be remedied. It seems reasonable to consider two ideas in response: whether ad hoc peacekeepers might be augmented or even replaced by competent contract labour; and whether well-trained contractors might in future subdue by force those who inflict gross human rights abuses on others. Alternatives to ad hoc forces are not new. Nevertheless, theoretical or practical substitutes have not been evaluated alongside the merits of a private corporation. Military contractors are frequently misrepresented as an affront to states' authority. This is misleading. There has never been a clear divide between public and private resources in armed conflict and states have always employed both. There exists no compelling reason why the UN should not devise modern contracts that evolve from historically ubiquitous arrangements amongst its members and their more ancient predecessors.