Base Nation How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 8/25/2015
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books

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From Italy to the Indian Ocean, from Japan to Honduras, a far-reaching examination of the perils of American military bases overseas

American military bases encircle the globe. More than two decades after the end of the Cold War, the U.S. still stations its troops at nearly a thousand locations in foreign lands. These bases are usually taken for granted or overlooked entirely, a little-noticed part of the Pentagon's vast operations. But in an eye-opening account, Base Nation shows that the worldwide network of bases brings with it a panoply of ills—and actually makes the nation less safe in the long run.

As David Vine demonstrates, the overseas bases raise geopolitical tensions and provoke widespread antipathy towards the United States. They also undermine American democratic ideals, pushing the U.S. into partnerships with dictators and perpetuating a system of second-class citizenship in territories like Guam. They breed sexual violence, destroy the environment, and damage local economies. And their financial cost is staggering: though the Pentagon underplays the numbers, Vine's accounting proves that the bill approaches $100 billion per year.

For many decades, the need for overseas bases has been a quasi-religious dictum of U.S. foreign policy. But in recent years, a bipartisan coalition has finally started to question this conventional wisdom. With the U.S. withdrawing from Afghanistan and ending thirteen years of war, there is no better time to re-examine the tenets of our military strategy. Base Nation is an essential contribution to that debate.

Author Biography

David Vine is the author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia and an associate professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Mother Jones, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1. The Birth of Base Nation 17
2. From Little Americas to Lily Pads 45

3. The Displaced 63
4. The Colonial Present 83
5. Befriending Dictators 97
6. In Bed with the Mob 115
7. Toxic Environments 135

8. Everyone Serves 151
9. Sex for Sale 163
10. Militarized Masculinity 181

11. The Bill 195
12. "We're Profiteers" 215
13. The MilCon Con 233

14. "Masters of Extortion" 255
15. "It's Enough" 277
16. The Lily Pad Strategy 299
17. True Security 321

Author's Note 339
Notes 341
Online Resources 390
Acknowledgments 396
Index 405

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