Every year in the region, the military conducts around military exercises and port visits. And Asia is just the beginning.
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Elsewhere, the Pentagon has funded the creation of military and police bases capable of hosting U. In , the Navy reactivated its Fourth Fleet, inactive since , to patrol the region. The military may want a base in Brazil and unsuccessfully tried to create bases, ostensibly for humanitarian and emergency relief, in Paraguay and Argentina.
The Pentagon is now developing installations capable of supporting rotating, brigade-sized deployments in Romania and Bulgaria, and a missile defense base and aviation facilities in Poland. While Beijing, in particular, has pursued this competition in a largely economic fashion, dotting the globe with strategic investments, Washington has focused relentlessly on military might as its global trump card, dotting the planet with new bases and other forms of military power. Military planners see a future of endless small-scale interventions in which a large, geographically dispersed collection of bases will always be primed for instant operational access.
With bases in as many places as possible, military planners want to be able to turn to another conveniently close country if the United States is ever prevented from using a base, as it was by Turkey prior to the invasion of Iraq. In other words, Pentagon officials dream of nearly limitless flexibility, the ability to react with remarkable rapidity to developments anywhere on Earth, and thus, something approaching total military control over the planet. Beyond their military utility, the lily pads and other forms of power projection are also political and economic tools used to build and maintain alliances and provide privileged U.
Washington is planning to use lily-pad bases and other military projects to bind countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America as closely as possible to the U.
In short, American officials are hoping military might will entrench their influence and keep as many countries as possible within an American orbit at a time when some are asserting their independence ever more forcefully or gravitating toward China and other rising powers.
While relying on smaller bases may sound smarter and more cost effective than maintaining huge bases that have often caused anger in places like Okinawa and South Korea , lily pads threaten U. Second, despite the rhetoric about spreading democracy that still lingers in Washington, building more lily pads actually guarantees collaboration with an increasing number of despotic, corrupt, and murderous regimes.
Third, there is a well-documented pattern of damage that military facilities of various sizes inflict on local communities. Although lily pads seem to promise insulation from local opposition, over time even small bases have often led to anger and protest movements. Finally, a proliferation of lily pads means the creeping militarization of large swaths of the globe.
Like real lily pads -- which are actually aquatic weeds -- bases have a way of growing and reproducing uncontrollably. After all, how would the United States respond if China, Russia, or Iran were to build even a single lily-pad base of its own in Mexico or the Caribbean? For China and Russia in particular, ever more U. Most troublingly, the creation of new bases to protect against an alleged future Chinese military threat may prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: such bases in Asia are likely to create the threat they are supposedly designed to protect against, making a catastrophic war with China more, not less, likely.
With everyone looking for ways to trim the deficit, closing overseas bases offers easy savings.
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Great Britain, like empires before it, had to close most of its remaining foreign bases in the midst of an economic crisis in the s and s. The United States is undoubtedly headed in that direction sooner or later. Of course, the consequences of not choosing another path extend beyond economics. If the proliferation of lily pads, special operations forces, and drone wars continues, the United States is likely to be drawn into new conflicts and new wars, generating unknown forms of blowback, and untold death and destruction.
He is currently completing a book about the more than 1, U. You'll receive 3 to 5 mailings per week and we'll never sell or share your email address. Hostilities engulfed the globe. Mobilization extended to virtually every sector of every nation. Air war, including the terror bombing of civilians, emerged as a central strategy of the victorious Anglo-American powers. The devastation was catastrophic almost everywhere, with the notable exception of the United States, which exited the strife unscathed and unmatched in power and influence.
The death toll of fighting forces plus civilians worldwide was staggering. The Violent American Century addresses the U. In contrast to World War II, postwar death and destruction has been comparatively small. By any other measure, it has been appalling—and shows no sign of abating. Julian West, looking backwards from , tries to understand why the world and his family have fallen apart.
Homeward Bound: Identity, Consumption, and Place 5. Outposts under Construction 6. Reinforcing the Southern Flank: Aviano 7. Online Table of contents only Broken link? In the Library Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. Details Collect From YY Order a copy Copyright or permission restrictions may apply.
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Can I get a copy? Can I view this online? Ask a librarian. Similar Items Les Nations unies et la securite colective internationale : le probleme du controle international des ba Our military deploys well over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents, and civilian contractors in other nations. To dominate the oceans and seas of the world, we are creating some thirteen naval task forces built around aircraft carriers whose names sum up our martial heritage -- Kitty Hawk, Constellation, Enterprise, John F. Kennedy, Nimitz, Dwight D.
Stennis, Harry S. Truman, and Ronald Reagan. We operate numerous secret bases outside our territory to monitor what the people of the world, including our own citizens, are saying, faxing, or e-mailing to one another. One task of such contractors is to keep uniformed members of the imperium housed in comfortable quarters, well fed, amused, and supplied with enjoyable, affordable vacation facilities. Whole sectors of the American economy have come to rely on the military for sales.
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On the eve of our second war on Iraq, for example, while the Defense Department was ordering up an extra ration of cruise missiles and depleted-uranium armor-piercing tank shells, it also acquired , bottles of Native Tan sunblock, almost triple its order and undoubtedly a boon to the supplier, Control Supply Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and its subcontractor, Sun Fun Products of Daytona Beach, Florida.
Official records on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department's annual "Base Structure Report" for fiscal year , which itemizes foreign and domestic U. The military high command deploys to our overseas bases some , uniformed personnel, plus an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employs an additional 44, locally hired foreigners.
The Pentagon claims that these bases contain 44, barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and that it leases 4, more. These numbers, although staggeringly large, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally. For Okinawa, the southernmost island of Japan, which has been an American military colony for the past 58 years, the report deceptively lists only one Marine base, Camp Butler, when in fact Okinawa "hosts" ten Marine Corps bases, including Marine Corps Air Station Futenma occupying 1, acres in the center of that modest-sized island's second largest city.
Manhattan's Central Park, by contrast, is only acres. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1, different bases in other people's countries, but no one -- possibly not even the Pentagon -- knows the exact number for sure, although it has been distinctly on the rise in recent years.
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For their occupants, these are not unpleasant places to live and work. Military service today, which is voluntary, bears almost no relation to the duties of a soldier during World War II or the Korean or Vietnamese wars. Where possible everything is done to make daily existence seem like a Hollywood version of life at home. According to the Washington Post, in Fallujah, just west of Baghdad, waiters in white shirts, black pants, and black bow ties serve dinner to the officers of the 82nd Airborne Division in their heavily guarded compound, and the first Burger King has already gone up inside the enormous military base we've established at Baghdad International Airport.
Some of these bases are so gigantic they require as many as nine internal bus routes for soldiers and civilian contractors to get around inside the earthen berms and concertina wire. That's the case at Camp Anaconda, headquarters of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, whose job is to police some 1, square miles of Iraq north of Baghdad, from Samarra to Taji.
Anaconda occupies 25 square kilometers and will ultimately house as many as 20, troops. Despite extensive security precautions, the base has frequently come under mortar attack, notably on the Fourth of July, , just as Arnold Schwarzenegger was chatting up our wounded at the local field hospital. The military prefers bases that resemble small fundamentalist towns in the Bible Belt rather than the big population centers of the United States. For example, even though more than , women live on our overseas bases -- including women in the services, spouses, and relatives of military personnel -- obtaining an abortion at a local military hospital is prohibited.
Since there are some 14, sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults each year in the military, women who become pregnant overseas and want an abortion have no choice but to try the local economy, which cannot be either easy or pleasant in Baghdad or other parts of our empire these days. For generals and admirals, the military provides seventy-one Learjets, thirteen Gulfstream IIIs, and seventeen Cessna Citation luxury jets to fly them to such spots as the armed forces' ski and vacation center at Garmisch in the Bavarian Alps or to any of the military golf courses the Pentagon operates worldwide.
Our "Footprint" on the World Of all the insensitive, if graphic, metaphors we've allowed into our vocabulary, none quite equals "footprint" to describe the military impact of our empire.