Estimates suggest that maintaining America’s ‘empire of bases’ overseas costs at least $156 billion annually.
In a Sept. 13 report for Tomdispatch, based on his book “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World,” David Vine explained that, while many bases were built during the Cold War era, American military might has spread to almost every part of the world:
“Seventy years after World War II and 62 years after the Korean War, there are still 174 U.S. ‘base sites’ in Germany, 113 in Japan, and 83 in South Korea, according to the Pentagon. Hundreds more dot the planet in around 80 countries, including Aruba and Australia, Bahrain and Bulgaria, Colombia, Kenya, and Qatar, among many other places. Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.”
Vine noted that the purpose of this “empire of bases,” and its massive cost to American taxpayers, seems to be largely overlooked by the mainstream media:
“Rarely does anyone ask if we need hundreds of bases overseas or if, at an estimated annual cost of perhaps $156 billion or more, the U.S. can afford them. Rarely does anyone wonder how we would feel if China, Russia, or Iran built even a single base anywhere near our borders, let alone in the United States.”
In an analysis for the July/August issue of Politico Magazine, Vine reported that the size of these bases varies dramatically, “from giant ‘Little Americas’ to small radar facilities.”
The foreign military presence of other nations pales in comparison. “Britain, France and Russia, by contrast, have about 30 foreign bases combined,” according to Vine.
Watch “Why Does The U.S. Have So Many Military Bases Overseas?” from TestTube News:
The Obama administration, in particular, has overseen a massive expansion of the U.S. military presence in Africa. In November, Richard Reeve, a member of the London-based think tank Oxford Research Group, told Nick Turse, an expert on U.S. empire, that most of these bases had few standing personnel, but were instead designed to allow for rapid deployment of troops almost anywhere on the continent. The Pentagon had turned its Africa Command, or AFRICOM, into “basically a laboratory for a different kind of warfare and a different way of posturing forces,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the expansion of U.S. and NATO military presence in Eastern Europe and Asia is likely part of an American strategy to increase pressure on Russia and China in what many have termed a new Cold War. In a 2010 report for Counterpunch, military analyst Diana Johnstone explained the origins of this strategy and how it’s contributing to global instability:
“Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia retains the largest arsenal outside the United States, and China is a rapidly rising economic power. Neither one threatens the United States or Western Europe. On the contrary, both are ready and willing to concentrate on peaceful business.
However, they are increasingly alarmed by the military encirclement and provocative military exercises carried on by the United States on their very doorsteps. The implicit aggressive strategy may be obscure to most Americans, but leaders in the targeted countries are quite certain they understand what it is going on.”
In November, independent geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser, publisher of StopImperialism.org, appeared on MintPress News’ “Behind the Headline,” where he told Mnar Muhawesh that the U.S. hopes to cut off Russia’s military and economic power through this strategy of encirclement:
“We’re seeing a series of what could be called proxy conflicts, where the U.S. is doing what it can to undermine Russia’s political and economic development, trying to undermine Russia’s growing ties with Europe.”
Watch “Are We Careening Toward WWIII?” from MintPress News’ “Behind the Headline”: