I'm very pleased to share my new article "Defund the Global Policeman," just out from @nplusonemag. nplusonemag.com/issue-38/polit… Here's a brief thread with some background. #longreads
The purpose of the article is three-fold. First, I explain what the term "police" practically means when we use the phrase "global policeman," focusing on US security assistance. Second, I explain how US assistance to police has evolved over the past century.
Third, I argue that the contemporary global policeman is a massive and relatively uncoordinated set of programs: a blob of appropriations to match the blob of foreign-policy groupthink. Because the latter is finally losing its luster, it's now time to rethink security assistance.
My main hope with this article is that it connects a few dots and gives a big picture overview. I also hope that it will be useful for undergraduate classes.
It's hard to believe it, but I first started writing this article in Aug. 2019! Then, I was thinking about a Bernie presidency, but as I completed the article, with that prospect off the table, the protest mobilization of 2020 was at the forefront. It should change everything.
Security assistance is rarely a focus of conversations about US foreign policy, but it should be central. Arms sales get the most attention (though not enough), but it was depressing that the Trump impeachment was premised on the fundamental legitimacy of further arms sales.
Yet the police assistance aspect has a way of continually popping into our feeds. Consider, eg, the recent protests in Nigeria. I have yet to read a full accounting of the US influence on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, but there are numerous indications that ain't zero.
Or consider the recent story about CBP advisors violating their mandate in Guatemala, engaging in operational activities to deport asylum seekers. This sort of rule-breaking mission creep is constant; little oversight means we rarely learn about it. vice.com/en/article/wxq…
Anyway, the historical portions of my article of course build on Badges Without Borders (@ucpress) but add some new perspectives and arguments. ucpress.edu/book/978052029…
I also published a related couple pieces over the summer, including this one for @RStatecraft responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/06/26/wha…
I've learned so much over the years from the research of @SAMonitorOrg on this topic, and I couldn't have written the article without their work. I've also relied on @WOLA_org (and especially @adam_wola). Thanks!
And I have to thank @petersenplusone and the team at @nplusonemag for their great editorial assistance along the way.

Anyway, hope y'all find the article useful and please let me know what you think. /end

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More from @stschrader1

11 Oct
I appreciated this @schwartzapfel article on the history of the term "law and order," drawing on the insights of several colleagues. No question: the term is racist & Trump uses it to attack BLM. But I have a small addendum...
THREAD themarshallproject.org/2020/10/07/wha…
The article shows that "law and order" became mainstream in the mid-1960s as a slightly more acceptable way to proclaim that the Civil Rights Movement was causing social breakdown & leading to street crime. In other words, it was a way to politicize crime/criminalize politics.
I dealt with a bit of the 1960s history of this term in Badges Without Borders, but I left a lot on the cutting-room floor. I think that there are two add'l key pieces to the history of the widespread, bipartisan adoption of "law and order" as a catch phrase in US politics.
Read 18 tweets
17 Jul
50 years ago today, July 17, 1970, Life magazine published photos taken inside a prison in South Vietnam. The photos depicted so-called “tiger cages,” holding prisoners in wretched conditions. See my new article: ucpress.edu/blog/51234/tig… THREAD below.
The Republic of Vietnam operated the prison, on Con Son island in an archipelago about 60 miles off the coast. The conditions on the prisons were deplorable. Malnourishment, shackling, and beating were all common.
Tom Harkin, who five years later would be elected to Congress, leaked the photos. He took them on an official visit to the prison when he discovered the hidden wing with the tiger cages. The experience put him on his path to being a big defender of human rights in Congress.
Read 21 tweets
7 Jun
I almost forgot that I published a journal article a few years ago about what happened when a police chief in California tried to "demilitarize" his force. It's in the Journal of Urban History. Conclusion: the experiment succeeded a little but then failed. THREAD!
I'll summarize what I found. But first, the chief, Victor Cizanckas, was progressive as cops go. Second, he was in Menlo Park, which was not nearly as rich as it is now, but it was divided, mainly white and middle class, with one majority-Black and lower-income neighborhood.
There were FOUR impediments to demilitarizing: 1) the town's police officers themselves, who rejected it (50% quit in 2 yrs); 2) local law and order conservatives, as well as the Far Right, which planned/staged bombings to prove the police needed to be prepared for war; and...
Read 14 tweets
25 Jan
There are many insightful reactions to the critiques of the #1619Project circulating, and I thought I might add one small contribution. Wilentz's latest concludes w/ Du Bois, and that rubbed me the wrong way. I'll explain in this thread. theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
Wilentz is still arguing against @nhannahjones (and her editor), ie, against the Black woman who is behind the project and who is not a History prof. He is unwilling to concede that she might have a different (but legit) interpretation of history than he does.
I also think he misreads her essay. He says she didn't argue that advances in freedom in the US have come from Black political mobilization. But she did. That is the primary takeaway that I gleaned the day it was posted online.
Read 22 tweets
18 Aug 19
This is a pretty interesting article about the contemporary US role in supplying tear gas to Hong Kong's police, explaining the complicated bureaucratic routes for export of such chemical weapons. So here's a thread on some imperial policing history. cnn.com/2019/08/15/pol…
It's notable that in 2019 the US is the source of a so-called non-lethal weapon used by Hong Kong police. As I found in my research, after the massive "riots" that swept the territory in May 1967, the US learned about such weapons from Hong Kong.
One example I mentioned in my 2014 @jacobinmag piece was the wooden bullet, deployed in Hong Kong and recommended by the Kerner Commission in its 1968 report. jacobinmag.com/2014/09/polici…
Read 23 tweets
17 Feb 19
Just learned about a forgotten 1963 right-wing conspiracy theory. There was a counter-guerrilla warfare training exercise in Georgia called "Water Moccasin," The US Army invited 124 soldiers from 17 allied countries to observe and learn, including a handful from Liberia. And so..
Some on the right claimed, using very racist language about "cannibals" and "savages," that these soldiers--now all "African"--were the UN's shock troops, preparing to take over the US. The number of African soldiers supposedly participating in "Water Moccasin" rose to 16,000!
Letter-writing campaigns began, with congressmen (and probably JFK) receiving boatloads of mail about the impending communist takeover that was organized by the UN, spearheaded by the US Army, and which would use African soldiers.
Read 12 tweets

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