Perfecting Tyranny: Foreign Intervention as Experimentation in State Control
The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy, Forthcoming
38 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2014 Last revised: 8 Aug 2014
Date Written: June 17, 2014
This paper analyzes how foreign interventions can result in a broadening of government powers and a concurrent reduction of citizens’ liberties and freedoms domestically. We develop an analytical framework to examine the effects of coercive foreign interventions on the scope of domestic government activities. Facing limited or altogether absent constraints abroad, coercive foreign interventions serve as a testing ground for domestically-constrained governments to experiment with new technologies and methods of social control over foreign populations. We identify several mechanisms through which these innovations in state-produced social control can boomerang back to the intervening country. We apply the logic of the “boomerang effect” to two episodes in the U.S.: (1) the origins of domestic surveillance, and (2) the rise of SWAT teams and the militarization of domestic police.
Keywords: Boomerang effect, Coercive foreign intervention, Drones, Militarization, NSA, Scope of government, Surveillance, SWAT
JEL Classification: F50, H10, H56
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation