What Defunding the Police can Mean for U.S. Foreign PolicyRoundup
tags: imperialism, counterinsurgency, policing
Stuart Schrader is associate director of the Program in Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship and lecturer at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing, published by University of California Press in 2019.
No policy prescription has ever gained as much traction as quickly as “defund the police” did over the past few weeks. To defund police is a way to shrink the scale and scope of their responsibilities, with the goal of dramatically decreasing everyday police encounters, particularly with the economically and racially marginalized.
During the current uprisings, the police response has often included officers wearing military-style gear, as well as the occasional appearance of urban warfare tactics, confirming fears that the overseas wars of the past two decades would boomerang to the homefront.
Widespread deployment of the chemical CS by police, while it is mostly banned from use by the U.S. military, has led protesters to wonder whether police are attempting to de-escalate confrontations and disperse crowds or attack, using the painful chemical as an offensive weapon as if against an enemy.
These actions raise the question of what a more just, less cruel United States would look like. Given the increasingly apparent entanglements between overseas war and domestic policing, the common demand to defund police provides a blueprint for a new covenant at home and abroad. Defunding police could be the foundation for a new foreign policy.
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