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Interview with Stuart Schrader

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In this wide ranging interview, Stuart Schrader discusses the research and writing of Badges without Borders and responds to his criticisms and questions raised in the review essays. He discusses counterinsurgency and policing; history and theory; racialization in the post-1945 US world order; the interplay between domestic and foreign in both scholarship and US policy; and the place of policing in US grand strategy.

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  1. 1.

    Forrest Hylton “Death, Destruction, and Rebirth in Brooklyn” NACLA Report on the Americas 41, no. 6 (2008): 36–41; Christian Parenti, Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis (New York: Verso, 1999); Nikhil Pal Singh, “The Black Panther Party and the ‘Underdeveloped Country’ of the Left,” in Charles E. Jones, ed. The Black Panther Party Reconsidered (Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1998), 57–105; Tracy Tullis, “A Vietnam at Home: Policing the Ghettos in the Counterinsurgency Era” (PhD diss., New York University, 1999).

  2. 2.

    Timothy Mitchell, “Society, Economy, and the State-Effect” in State/Culture: State-Formation After the Cultural Turn. George Steinmetz, ed. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999), 76–97; Stuart Schrader, “Policing Political Protest: Paradoxes of the Age of Austerity,” in “Is This What Democracy Looks Like?” Social Text: Periscope (2012);; Micol Seigel, Violence Work: State Power and the Limits of Police (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018).

  3. 3.

    Stuart Schrader, “To Protect and Serve Themselves: Police in US Politics since the 1960s” Public Culture 31, no. 3 (2019): 601–623.

  4. 4.

    Stuart Schrader, Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing (Oakland: University of California Press, 2019), hereafter, BWB, 104–105.

  5. 5.

    National Security Action Memorandum 162, “Development of U.S. and Indigenous Police, Paramilitary and Military Resources,” June 19, 1962, John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, MA.

  6. 6.

    United States Overseas Internal Defense Policy, September 1962, Annex C; Airgram CA-13974, Internal Defense Plans – Revised Format, June 18, 1963, IPS 7-2, Entry 18, Box 5, Record Group 286, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD.

  7. 7.

    Bundy quoted in Editorial Note, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–63, VIII, 135; BWB, ch. 1 and 3.

  8. 8.

    Even critical studies of developmental states posit both a society-state dividing line, to produce a self-contained state apparatus, and a world economy–nation-state dividing line, to produce a self-contained nation-state; see Hae-Yung Song, “Marxist Critiques of the Developmental State and the Fetishism of National Development” Antipode 45, no. 5 (2013): 1254–1276.

  9. 9.

    Terence Hopkins, “World-System Analysis: Methodological Issues,” in Social Change in the Capitalist World Economy, ed. Barbara Hockey Kaplan (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1978), 199–217, 205.

  10. 10.

    Stuart Schrader, “American Streets, Foreign Territory: How Counterinsurgent Police Waged War on Crime” (PhD diss., New York University, 2015), 25.

  11. 11.

    Adam Goodman, The Deportation Machine: America’s Long History of Expelling Immigrants (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020).

  12. 12.

    Alfred W. McCoy, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009).

  13. 13.

    The most interesting new work on the FBI in this period is: Aaron J. Leonard and Conor A. Gallagher, A Threat of the First Magnitude: FBI Counterintelligence & Infiltration From the Communist Party to the Revolutionary Union, 1962–1974 (London: Repeater, 2018).

  14. 14.

    Max Boot, The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam (New York: Liveright, 2018); Stuart Schrader, “Another White Man’s Burden” Public Books (October 16, 2018);

  15. 15.

    The full history of US police assistance to South Vietnam, from 1954 to 1974 remains to be written. In much of the historiography on South Vietnam, the Nguyen Van Thieu presidency is underanalyzed. For a focus on police assistance to the Diem regime, see William Rosenau, U.S. Internal Security Assistance to South Vietnam: Insurgency, Subversion, and Public Order (New York: Routledge, 2005).

  16. 16.

    Jim Glassman, Drums of War, Drums of Development: The Formation of a Pacific Ruling Class and Industrial Transformation in East and Southeast Asia, 1945–1980 (Boston: Brill, 2018).

  17. 17.

    Memorandum for the Special Group (CI), June 18, 1963, Counterinsurgency-Police Program 1961–1963, Box 413, Robert W. Komer, National Security Files, John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, MA.

  18. 18.

    Stuart Schrader, “The Long Counterrevolution: United States–Latin America Security Cooperation” SSRC Items (September 18, 2008); Alan McPherson, Ghosts of Sheridan Circle: How a Washington Assassination Brought Pinochet's Terror State to Justice (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019).

  19. 19.

    Robert K. Thierry and Robert J. Weatherwax, Report on the National Police Forces of the Republic Of Ecuador (Washington, DC: International Cooperation Administration, January 1959), 93; Diana Jean Schemo, “Files in Paraguay Detail Atrocities of U.S. Allies” The New York Times (August 11, 1999).

  20. 20.

    Evelle J. Younger, “February Graduation” IPA Review 3, no. 2 (April 1969): 8–10; Byron Engle, “Law Enforcement in our Changing World” IPA Review 6, no. 4 (October 1972): 7–9, 14–15.

  21. 21.

    In a separate article I show how, rather than dividing the “hearts and minds” and the “kinetic,” it would be more appropriate to focus on the through-line of participation in counterinsurgency, whereby community development, as much as assassination programs, rely on the (forced) participation of the pacified in their own pacification. Stuart Schrader, “To Secure the Global Great Society: Participation in Pacification,” Humanity 7, no. 2 (2016): 225–253.

  22. 22.

    Patricia Owens, Economy of Force: Counterinsurgency and the Historical Rise of the Social (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 282, 280.

  23. 23.

    U.S. Overseas Internal Defense Policy, 21.

  24. 24.

    BWB, 187.

  25. 25.

    Matthew Guariglia, “‘The Most Difficult Police Problem on Earth’: The New York City Police Department Encounters Racial, Cultural, and Linguistic Difference, 1890–1920,” paper presented at Urban History Association Meeting, Columbia, SC, October 19, 2018.

  26. 26.

    Julian Go, “The Imperial Origins of American Policing: Militarization and Imperial Feedback in the Early 20th Century” American Journal of Sociology 125, no. 5 (2020): 1193–1254.

  27. 27.

    Mark Neocleous, The Fabrication of Social Order: A Critical Theory of Police Power (London: Pluto, 2000).

  28. 28.

    Gwen Prowse, Vesla M. Weaver, and Tracey L. Meares, “The State from Below: Distorted Responsiveness in Policed Communities” Urban Affairs Review (August 2019) 10.1177/1078087419844831.

  29. 29.

    BWB, 49–50. John A. Hobson, in a line that would influence Vladimir Lenin, already in 1902 recognized this “parasitic” and racializing form: “the white races, discarding labor in its more arduous forms, live as a sort of world-aristocracy by the exploitation of ‘lower races,’ while they hand over the policing of the world more and more to members of these same races.” The Cold War US police assistance program entrenched this form upon the dissolution of the old imperialisms Hobson observed. Lyndon Johnson’s War on Crime apotheosized the form by reinvigorating federalism for the purpose of the control of disorder. John A. Hobson, Imperialism: A Study (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1902); Albert Toscano, “‘America’s Belgium’: W.E.B. Du Bois on Race, Class, and the Origins of World War I,” in Cataclysm 1914, ed. Alexander Anievas (Boston: Brill, 2014), 236–257.

  30. 30.

    Randolph B. Marcy, The Prairie Traveler: A Hand-Book for Overland Expeditions (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1859).

  31. 31.

    Andrew J. Birtle, US Army Counterinsurgency and Contingency Operations Doctrine 1860–1941 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2009), 67.

  32. 32.

    Edward G. Lansdale, “‘Pacification’ in Vietnam,” July 15, 1958; Folder 26; Box 17; Douglas Pike Collection; Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX; McCoy, Policing America’s Empire, 377.

  33. 33.

    Oscar Salemink, The Ethnography of Vietnam's Central Highlanders: A Historical Contextualization, 1850-1990 (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2003), 189.

  34. 34.

    U.S. Marine Corps, Small Wars Manual (Washington, GPO, 1940), 1–11: 19.

  35. 35.

    Michael E. Peterson, The Combined Action Platoons: The U.S. Marines Other War in Vietnam (New York: Praeger, 1989), 15–19.

  36. 36.

    Charles Bohannan, Handwritten notes, nd [1964?], MAAG, Charles T. R. Bohannan Papers 1915–1985, Box 2, Hoover Institution Archive, Stanford, CA. Birtle, US Army Counterinsurgency and Contingency Operations Doctrine 1860–1941; Andrew J. Birtle, US Army Counterinsurgency and Contingency Operations Doctrine, 1942–1976 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2006).

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Correspondence to Tarak Barkawi.

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Barkawi, T., Schrader, S. Interview with Stuart Schrader. Int Polit Rev 8, 41–56 (2020).

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  • Counterinsurgency
  • Policing
  • Race
  • Cold War
  • United States