The Connection Between Policing in America & US Foreign Affairs

As the US is coming to a turningpoint with a new administration, Joe Biden must decide between diplomacy or policing.

American special forces soldiers at the scene of an attack on a health facility in Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 12, 2020. Photo: Jim Huylebroek/The New York Times/Redux

The US government is getting away with war crimes after the Human Rights Watch released reports of CIA back Afghan forces committing abuses and executions of innocent Afghan civilians. Most of whom were young boys and speculated to be future members of the Taliban. These strike forces conducted 10 raids from 2017 to 2019 which resulted in at least 51 civilian casualties.

In a desperate attempt to block further investigations, Donald Trump sanctioned senior officials of the International Criminal Court with an executive order. This is the first time in American history where the US government exerted such power on an official from the ICC. Despite the magnitude of this atrocity, the lives of innocent people around the world fails to be prioritized in our foreign policy.

As someone who served 6 years in the Marine Corp, I’ve seen my share of ununchecked bureaucracy. As an enlisted marine and a civilian, we are taught to trust the system — believe experienced leaders are doing the right thing. A staff sergeant in my platoon would tell me to sit back on some training exercises. Weapons were involved in the drills and had to double check my background coming from a Muslim family. My observation of systemic injustice taught me how bad decisions are made when no one is watching. Transparency is a catalyst for accountability. Powerful people want to avoid it at all costs.

During my 2018 asylum rights mission, in my volunteer work for the Al Otra Lado organization at the San Ysidro border crossing, I assisted families looking for a safe home in the US. They left broken homes created from poverty, violence, and government persecution. Decades of CIA coups fractured stability in Central and South America. As a result, families were sprayed with tear gas for crossing the border. US Border and Customs and ICE have been tearing families apart, locking children in cages. Detained individuals are held in hazardous detention facilities without proper medical attention.

In our own streets, people are harassed and killed by the police for the color of their skin. Even through protests and public shaming, courts fail to hold police liable for their crimes. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor accompany a long list of Black Americans murdered by the police in 2020. No matter how visible the evidence has been, the officers accused and the criminal justice system side-step responsibility.

For the first time, insurrection of right-wing militias is hitting close to home. Viewers left in shock and fear with what transpired in the nation’s capitol this past week, is what our own nation has been responsible for decades, as other democratic governments were overthrown. If we will not be idle and let this happen here, then we must stand in solidarity with people everywhere.

Erasure of human rights in other countries, immigrants, and black lives have a common theme. Their safety is predicated upon the watch of authority. Guns and badges hallmark an aggressive and frightening sense of power over communities subjected to institutional racism, greed, and imperialism. It is no coincidence, Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and Department of Defense are well funded to recruit, hire, and deploy patrols in particular communities at home, at the border, and throughout the world. Prison investors and police precincts do not make money if Black and poor people are not in prison. The US government fears the loss of political and economical capital if other countries are able to independently compete against capitalism. Weapon manufacturers cannot profit if there are no wars in sovereign nations. Powerful institutions need policing to become systemic beneficiaries and it is at the expense of Black, brown, indigneous, and poor people.

Expectations for change will fall on the desks of the Joe Biden administration and the 117th Congress. If Biden is to undo the damages of the Trump presidency, then he must make a decision on ending a war that has no end in sight. Completely withdrawing US troops, ending CIA operations, ending sanctions on ICC senior officials, and finding justice for Afghan families who lost their loved ones is a step towards putting America on a new path of accountability, and not just rebuilding it.

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Educator. International Relations Graduate student at NYU. Marine Corps Veteran. Former Congressional Candidate.

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Shaniyat Chowdhury

Shaniyat Chowdhury

Educator. International Relations Graduate student at NYU. Marine Corps Veteran. Former Congressional Candidate.

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