Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing

Regular price $ 29.95

by Stuart Schrader

University of California Press

10/15/2019, paperback

SKU: 9780520295629


From the Cold War through today, the U.S. has quietly assisted dozens of regimes around the world in suppressing civil unrest and securing the conditions for the smooth operation of capitalism. Casting a new light on American empire, Badges Without Borders shows, for the first time, that the very same people charged with global counterinsurgency also militarized American policing at home.

In this groundbreaking exposé, Stuart Schrader shows how the United States projected imperial power overseas through police training and technical assistance--and how this effort reverberated to shape the policing of city streets at home. Examining diverse records, from recently declassified national security and intelligence materials to police textbooks and professional magazines, Schrader reveals how U.S. police leaders envisioned the beat to be as wide as the globe and worked to put everyday policing at the core of the Cold War project of counterinsurgency. A "smoking gun" book, Badges without Borders offers a new account of the War on Crime, "law and order" politics, and global counterinsurgency, revealing the connections between foreign and domestic racial control.


"Stuart Schrader's Badges without Borders is a stunning achievement. A conceptual tour de force that simultaneously combines political theory, sociology, and social history, Schrader's book examines how the United States pioneered a kind of professional carceral internationalism. The United States has long resisted scholarly efforts at categorical definition. How, after all, does one study a nation with borders but no boundaries? Schrader shows us how."--Greg Grandin, author of The End of Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America

"Schrader's superb and finely written book shows beyond any doubt that US law enforcement deliberately policed its own citizens like the military did Cold War 'enemies' elsewhere. Deemed counterinsurgents in both contexts, Badges without Borders illustrates precisely how the military industrial complex and the prison industrial complex came together through law enforcement in an attempt to crush anti-racist and anti-colonial activists here and abroad. Everything from riot control to stop and frisk policing and the use of military-grade weapons in U.S. cities have their roots in national security policy. In this excellent work of history, the archives finally reveal just how right Baldwin was to call Harlem 'occupied territory.'"--Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America

About the Author:

Stuart Schrader is Associate Director of the Program in Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship and Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University.