Outsourced Empire: How Militias, Mercenaries and Contractors Support Us Statecraft

Andrew Thomson (Author)


The way that imperial power is enacted around the world today has changed, but it has received little attention. Outsourced Empire aims to change that, re-evaluating the history of empire from the Cold War to the present by looking at the influence of para-state actors. A para-state is a region that seeks or claims, but does not officially have, the status of an independent state. From the Guatemalan coup to the Bay of Pigs, from Syrian rebel factions to the Soviet-Afghan War, Andrew Thomson pulls together seemingly disparate events and groups to reveal the ways that para-states have become central to US imperialism, enabling the United States to influence political and economic conditions abroad in secret. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including US training manuals, CIA communiqués, and National Security Agency archives, Thomson reveals the hidden workings of contemporary empire.

Product Details

Pluto Press (UK)
Publish Date
June 20, 2018
5.2 X 0.9 X 8.3 inches | 0.61 pounds
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About the Author

Andrew Thomson is a lecturer at Queen's University Belfast and a research fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.


"A timely and critical look at the evolution, formation, and role of U.S. propelled paramilitarism... a vital study."--Jep Sprague, University of California, Santa Barbara
"Existing works which seek to explain US foreign policy in imperial terms do not pay sufficient attention to the consistent use of para-state networks. Thomson correct this lacuna, through detailed empirical analyses... an original and distinctive book."--Sam Raphael, University of Westminster