Cesar Estrella F'21

Cesar  Estrella
Doctoral Candidate
Latin American and Latino Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2021
Doctoral Candidate
Latin American and Latino Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz
The Strong Arm of Capital: Protecting US National Security

As a guiding thread for US domestic and foreign policies, the protection of US national security has long shaped the world. This project analyzes the ideological roots, articulations, and continuities in US national security policy since the Cold War. Through in-depth interviews, archival research, and genealogical analysis, this study delves into hundreds of national security documents—declassified and leaked—to trace the national security establishment’s processes of meaning-making, problematization, and consensus-building amidst transfers of governmental power between the Republican and Democratic parties. By bridging political economy and cultural studies, this dissertation argues that national security doctrine has served as a catalyst to build bipartisan consensus in US politics, promote profit-driven geopolitical interests, and normalize non-democratic practices. This study also provides a novel approach to national security for more thoroughly understanding the lasting consequences of US national security doctrine and the challenges it has posed for world peace and global democracy.