The United States has a long history in the modern era of maintaining military bases in foreign countries. Similarly, there has also been a long history of people protesting the operation of American bases on foreign soil. These protests often came from the citizens of those countries, but there have also been many Americans who have protested this practice.
Today, these protests have not subsided much. The protests and the bases themselves are not often discussed in the mainstream media. Nevertheless, many see these bases as a 70-year mistake. Do you?
Military Bases Abroad
The establishment of U.S. military bases abroad began in the 1940s when America decided to enter World War II. During World War II, a network of bases abroad was seen as a requirement by American military officials if they were going to stop the global expansion of the Nazis.
Once the Nazis were pushed back and ultimately defeated, the U.S. military bases did not recede back to America’s shores. Instead, the number of bases abroad grew. This time, proponents of the American military’s global expansion felt that it was needed in an effort to combat Communism and the Cold War. From then on, the number of military bases, not only across Europe, but across the globe, snowballed into nearly 1000 bases across the earth.
Even during the earliest beginnings of America’s global military expansion, there were many (in America and abroad) who opposed it. For example, in 1959, a letter was written to Allan Dulles, Director of the CIA at the time, outlining and demanding answers for the hypocritical policy the U.S. maintained at the time.
The author, John Alexander, posed several questions regarding America’s insistence on having a base in Berlin even to the objection of the Russians, all the while knowing that if Russia deployed forces in Canada, America would demand its immediate removal.
Alexander sums his letter up best with a simple question that is still applicable today: “Why do we feel we are justified in enforcing our Monroe Doctrine and at the same time feel that foreigners are not justified in objecting to our maintaining our armed forces in about 47 countries?” (Note: this figure is from 1959. It is estimated that the U.S. has military bases in about 130 countries today.)
Same Ole Tactics?
There are many that carry this same sentiment today. Many contend that the military is using the same tactics as they did during World War II and the Cold War and only the villains have changed. The excuse the military uses today is terrorism.
According to GlobalResearch.ca:
“US strategists, in an attempt to justify their military interventions in different parts of the World, have conceptualized the greatest fraud in US history, namely ‘the Global War on Terrorism’ (GWOT).”
The site contends US officials have conjured up this global boogie man in an effort to garner support for their bases across the globe. Bases that are not used to protect the masses, but to further the policy of American Imperialism. This is only one example of such a sentiment, and the site is not alone.
The Guardian writer, Seamus Milne, contends that it is time to close the bases; especially in Britain. He cites the creation of a global boogie man to further the US cause of American Imperialism. However, an interesting twist to his theory is not that American Imperialism is a bad thing, but that the American empire is in decline. Therefore, it would be better for Britain to jump ship and distance themselves from America in an effort to create their own global relationships.
Though it is true that no foreign power maintains a base on American soil, it is important to point out that America is not the only country that maintains military bases on foreign soil. There are several countries that maintain bases outside of their own borders. These countries include France, India, Japan, Russia, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Since the United States is being accused of global imperialism, can these countries be accused of the same agenda? Should the US close it foreign bases? If the US does not, should the host countries call for their immediate closure?