On air: Would you want the US military to operate out of your country?

US troops
Colombia’s planning to do what Ecuador decided it wouldn’t, and allow America access to the facilities at some of its military bases. Unsurprisingly, next door in Venezuela, the plan has gone down with Hugo Chavez about as well as a dinner to celebrate the Bush presidency.

After accusations that Colombian soldiers crossed into Venezuela he said, “The threat against us is growing. I call on the people and the armed forces – let’s go, ready for combat! This is a provocation by the government of Uribe. The Yankees have started to command Colombian military forces.”

Does your country have US bases, or does it allow the US military to use your country’s? How does the arrangement work for your country, and does it bring benefits?

Or maybe your country is being considered. We have the proposed US missile defence shield in eastern Europe, speculation that AfricaCom (US Africa Command) could be moved to Africa have resurfaced with Pres Obama and Sec of State Clinton’s trips to Africa this year, and the ongoing torture allegations in the UK press involve extraordinary renditions and the role that British bases, or US bases on British soil, played.

We’re hopiong that Thomas Barnett will be a guest.

85 Responses to “On air: Would you want the US military to operate out of your country?”

  1. 1 Ramesh, India
    August 10, 2009 at 14:35

    Luckily, India does not have any major oil producing countries as its neighbours. Yankees are just not interested in setting up their bases on our soil, even in case of indian leadership offering them such facilities!

  2. August 10, 2009 at 15:16

    Morocco is a close ally of the US. It has been given the status of non-NATO ally by Washington, which has praised its support for the US-led war on terror. So far it has no military basis in the country. The two countries have regular military manoeuvres.

    It is still a sensitive issue in Morocco for the US to have a military base or to operate out of it. The majority of the Moroccans will view this as a kind of being servile to the US military at the expense of Morocco’s sovereignty.

    Morocco is one of the countries faced with the danger of terrorism. Geographically, it is close to the areas where terrorists networks are operating, especially in the African Sahara. A joint military operation can be acceptable if it benefits the two countries. But it will be unacceptable for Morocco to be a land from which the US military operates for its own interests, leaving it to put up with the consequences at home and abroad.

  3. 3 patti in cape coral
    August 10, 2009 at 15:22

    My family originates from Colombia even though I was born in Chicago, and I have mixed feelings on this. I hope Colombia is getting plenty in return for this, but there is so much corruption, I doubt any of the benefits there might be will trickle down to the people who really need it. My husband, who is living there currently, says that things are so bad, it could only get better. My main feeling is uneasiness for Colombia, although I am happy living in the states.

  4. 4 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 15:33

    Yippee, another bash America topic. Just so you’ll know, many of the nations we have bases in were nations that we defeated in wars we didn’t start. We have bases in Japan, why? Because they attacked us and we beat them. We have bases in Germany because we beat them. We have bases in Korea because North Korea invaded south Korea in 1950. We have bases in the UK because the UK begged us to help them in WW2. So remember when you complain about having US bases, also remember that you complain that “you took too long to enter WW2”. Those bases are there because we entered WW2. And last time I checked, countries that get occupied by the US tend to be pretty well off, and we don’t create monuments to how great the US like the Soviet Union did. Anyone ever been to Eastern Germany and seen all the Soviet monuments and memorials there? I highly recommend people watch the mouse that roared, a funny Peter Sellers movie about a nation that wanted to lose a war to the USA so it could get a Marshall Plan type deal.

    • 5 Jessica in NYC
      August 10, 2009 at 16:26

      It’s a double edge sword for Americans and the country that is giving us access for our military to operate in their country. They ask our support, that includes monetary, supplies and military aid; in return there are “terms and conditions” for accepting American aid, just as a bank or home loan would give the borrower. Sometimes its not fair, but the US military guards the security of Americans and the requires a presence abroad and doing somethings I would not approve.

      I don’t want my military in countries that do not want us there, but I want to be safe at home. I don’t want to be worried about a bus or train exploding when I board it.

      • August 11, 2009 at 08:52

        Jessica, the best way for Americans to be safe at home is for America to stop interfering in the affairs of other countries. The American dream is to commandeer the world’s oil and mineral resources for its own use by dominating the world. In the process it wants to recreate the Middle East in its own image so it becomes easier to plunder their oil resources. Remember, terrorism is not global, as the Americans preach; it is targeted against the Americans and all those who have foolishly sided America in its exploits. NATO is an apparatus of the Cold War. In the interests of peace and goodwill, this organization should have been dismantled long ago. Instead, it is being used to bait Russia by inviting former Soviet allies to join it.

        If America stops warmongering, curbs its greed, minds its own business and conducts it self like the rest of the world there is bound to be peace and Americans will be safer in their homes.

    • 7 Ramesh, India
      August 10, 2009 at 18:32

      Steve, you didn’t conclude it properly. May be you want to say those getting american bases are very liucky?:))

  5. August 10, 2009 at 15:42

    The whole practice of the US basing itself all over the world may have CLAIMS to be honorable. But our country is merely meddling in others’ affairs for reasons of power and control… aka money. Might the day ever come when complacent sheeple wake up to the fact that hidden agendas, glossed over with noble-sounding proclamations are just that?
    And the blame should not rest on our government/military-industrial complex. They are merely doing what they, like corporations always do, trying to gain market. I blame the American People and other World Citizens for falling for the ruse. But they always have and always will. It is a system that works.

    -Sumshee Kirken
    US Patriot / World Citizen “I Don’t Bleat!”

  6. 9 Gary Paudler
    August 10, 2009 at 15:48

    Yes! I want the US military operating out of my country. Completely out. My country is the US and you wouldn’t believe the hundreds of huge facilities – each many square miles in area – all over the country, some in the most beautiful places imaginable, all incredibly wasteful and practically immune from environmental over-site.

  7. 10 Chintan in Houston
    August 10, 2009 at 15:58

    USA and the rest of the west always talks about how countries should not test ballistic missiles or other weapons because that might lead to arms race in that area. Opening new military bases definitely fuels an arms race in the region because countries in the area feel a hostile presence and want weapons to defend themselves in case a war breaks out.
    This exactly is what the East India company did in thru the mid of the 19th century into the beginning of the 20th century offering protecting to nations and eventually colonizing them. Does anyone else see any similarity with that tactic? This practice needs to be stopped, period!

  8. 11 Anthony
    August 10, 2009 at 15:58

    @ Gary Paudler

    Yes, that would be the smartest thing we could do, get rid of our military with all the enemies we have around.

    Most of our military are out of our country anyways, in other parts of the world.

    And who would you rather have as the worlds largest military? North Korea, or how about Iran. Imagine one of those (and many others) with the dominating force….not a pretty world my friend.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  9. 12 Elias
    August 10, 2009 at 16:11

    If its in the best interest of peace, YES!.

  10. 13 Tony from Singapura
    August 10, 2009 at 16:16

    If you have a nice relationship with USA, having the an aircraft carrier park up for a few days at a time and on a regular basis means you get to sell them a lot of fuel, food, landing and handling charges.

    And while you are busy selling them goods and services, they take real good care of your women-folk.

    • 14 patti in cape coral
      August 10, 2009 at 18:45

      Funny you mention the women folk, in my experience, Colombian women are eager to meet Americans they can marry, and consider me backward for being an American woman marrying a Colombian Man!

  11. August 10, 2009 at 16:23

    There are many countries that need US military presence for their protection and survival. Gulf States, because of their huge wealth and relatively small native populations, need US presence to protect them from invasion. Kuwait would have become part of Iraq if the coalition forces -led by the USA -hadn’t intervened to free it by operating from Saudi Arabia.

    Bahrain would have become a part of Iran if half of its territory wasn’t a military zone where the US have a military presence. The biggest US military base in the Middle East is in Qatar. Maybe, it will be replaced by Iraq where there are over 120,000 US soldiers. Without these bases, the US military would have great difficulties shipping its forces and equipments inside Iraq.

    In short some countries have to accept the US military presence -for manoeuvre and operations- to ward off the domination of a neighbour country. Bahrein, for example, is more than happy to be a close ally of the US, giving it all military facilities, than become a simple a province of Iran.

  12. 16 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 16:33

    How about doing a show on overseas territories? Why in the 21st century to Britain and France still have territories in the Americas? French Guiana is literally a part of France, it uses the Euro, yet it is in South America. The UK still controls many islands. If we’re the criticize the US for making contracts with sovereign nations, why can’t we at least talk about actually having overseas territories which basically are colonies?

  13. 17 Dave in Florida
    August 10, 2009 at 16:35

    I agree, take our military out of ALL your countries! All any of you ever do is ask for our help — then bash us while our sons and daughters are dying. Why don’t all these other countries just fight their own fights instead of dropping to their knees and crying for the U.S. to help.

    Bring our troops home now! Let everyone else take care of themselves.

  14. August 10, 2009 at 16:37

    I know that the British and the American Armies have bases here in Germany. They’re large, too. But I don’t know the immediate benefits we get, I never considered it. Maybe because those bases are remnants of the post-WWII era and the division of Germany in the four administration zones. But the presence of them is nothing disturbing, though I think we’re slowly but surely moving into the spotlight of terrorism. But that’s also because of the German engagement in Afghanistan.

  15. 19 Lamii Kpargoi
    August 10, 2009 at 16:53

    Hi Ros,

    I definitely would not have problems with the US Army operating out of my country, despite the risk of terrorism that it may bring. I think their presence, in the case of Liberia, would mean a greater degree of stability, both economically and military, considering that we are a country just putting back the pieces after a devastating civil war.

    The Americans would be targets for terrorist, but I guess that would be the opportunity cost that we would have to pay if they operated out of our country.

  16. August 10, 2009 at 17:00

    Yes, though they do not presently operate in Nigeria.

  17. 21 James Turner
    August 10, 2009 at 17:02

    “Unsurprisingly, next door in Venezuela, the plan has gone down with Hugo Chavez” I feel he has reason to be concerned! He would be a fool not to be concerned, look at our history of trying to nation build! Yes, we should pull back to friendly nations and the US!

  18. 22 Ana Gongora, Colombia
    August 10, 2009 at 17:14

    Hi, everyone! 😉
    I’m from Colombia, and I’ve been paying attention to this conflict. Personally, I don’t agree at all with American forces settling down in my country. However, it’s not because of Mr Chavez’s thoughts – he’s a freak! . I don’t agree because, as many of you have mentioned, the only purpose is to take possession of the few things that still belong to us, to Latin American people. It is not a secret that they’re keen on sources in this continent, and establishing their forces is just one of many steps in which they want to remind us they keep on ruling militarily.
    On the other hand, I wish the intention for this decision were peace. Nonetheless, corruption and tricks will be the only result of this game. They show the Plan Colombia off as a sample of how effective the American support is but, to tell the truth, our government is not reliable at all: it’s just one more trick to say things are going well and, therefore, consolidate Uribe’s dictatorship. That’s why he’s been struggling for the re-election and playing with our Constitution.

    Anyway, six of one and half a dozen of the other, there’s no way back and it doesn’t matter how opposed our neighbours are, this will happen and no one will ever change it.


  19. 23 Tracy in Portland, OR
    August 10, 2009 at 17:15

    An American perspective.

    I do think it is good to have US military bases around the world. The military is a tool. In the right hands it is a force for good. In the wrong hands those same facilities can be used for evil, like rendition. With our new president I am comfortable with how he would use these assets.

    I am curious to hear from countries that do house our bases. What do they get out of it? Are we good neighbors? Do our soldiers behave in their off time?

    Portland OR

  20. 24 rob z.
    August 10, 2009 at 17:16

    Interesting views.Here is mine.
    Chavez openly admits he does not like the USA,Ortega is back in power in Nicaragua;ex-Soviet buddy(Honduran conflict 80’s).These two leaders harbor drug lords and terrorists,that are trying to distabilize Colombia,Mexico and other central and south american governments.
    Colombia and Panama are very important to the USA;Panama is more important to the world for trade.
    The Colombian government is fighting drug lords and gangs and needs help.
    Chavez is doing what he can to expand his power,he has total control of Venezuela,and wants more.
    I don’t like my government building bases all over the world.The USA is not Superman.The U.N. should have more authority and more respect from it’s members.The U.N. resolutions should be honored by all.
    Drug lords and related gangs should be classified as terrorists,and those harboring them,should be delt with accordingly.
    Rob in Florida.

  21. 25 Ros Atkins
    August 10, 2009 at 17:27

    Hi all. this subject seems to have seen a few of you slip into ‘essay mode’. if your comments get really long (Ana is above is right on the edge) we’re not going to post them. sorry but we have to quite strict about this else it becomes a series of long articles rather than a conversation. thanks

  22. 26 Tom K in Mpls
    August 10, 2009 at 17:27

    Having been in the US military, I want to point some things out. It will bring quite a bit of money to the locals that are willing to put up with a military town. When the US decides to leave, there are always some useful facilities left behind. With the major exception of Iraq, the only people that need to fear the US military are those that attack. The country gains security.

    While nothing is perfect, most people will agree it is more good than bad. I see very little reason to fear the US military. Fear the CIA. Not having bases will not slow the CIA.

  23. 27 John Henry - Trinidad and Tobago
    August 10, 2009 at 17:31

    Semantics aside, I definitely have no problem with the USA military operating out of my country. I would however have a real problem if it operated “in” my country.

    Fact is, a military presence in any country should be most unwelcomed. Reality is that such a presence becomes necessary when the scale of disagreement between opposing sides cannot find agreement by way of negotiation.

    How does one negotiate successfully when different philosophies, religious beliefs, greed and corruption are brought to the table? And, under the table guns are pointed at the genitals of opposing negotiators?

    Depending on a country’s state of political, economic, social and cultural norms, then if the might of the American military is invited to or decides to operate out of any country in which the USA has an interest, there is precious little that can be done to prevent Uncle Sam from having his own way.

  24. 28 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 17:41

    How do spaniards feel about Gibraltar?

  25. 29 Bert
    August 10, 2009 at 17:46

    Now that the cold war is over, it’s perhaps not as clear why US forces are still in Western Europe as it might have been 25 years ago. However, perhaps you should ask the South Koreans why there are 10s of thousands of US troops still stationed there.

    The reason is really quite compelling, but unfortunately, of late, it has become confused with this “nation building” frenzy the Democrats and the Republicans have gotten stuck on.

    The reason for having US troops in foreign countries is that it deters some third power, an enemy of that foreign country, from attacking. For example, with US troops stationed in West Germany, it was impossible for the Soviets to invade West Germany without dragging the US into a war., Because it would be obvious that the US would not stand by idle while its soldeirs and its bases were being attacked.

    No amount of mutual defense treaties can beat such a setup. All at US taxpayers’ expense. Such a deal.

  26. August 10, 2009 at 17:55

    American bases could ensure global security. American forces play a vital global protectional role on land, air and sea. That has to be fully recognised. So while the pros outnumber the cons, one should also try and understand the reasons why a number of world leaders are not enamoured by the US presence in their territorial waters.The Obama Administration is bending itself backwards and is trying to reach out to nations all over the globe, even to rogue states. It is fully prepared to show the olive branch. So rather than being the bully, America is showing its gentler face by adopting multi-lateral policies. The previous Administration was particularly harsh with President Chavez, President Castro etc. One should not paint the current Administration with the same brush! Of couse American servicemen should not misbehave in the areas they are sent to as there have unfortunate incidents

  27. 31 T
    August 10, 2009 at 17:56

    Why not ask, would people in the States want their miltary to operate in the States? Bush wanted this to happen. And so far Obma hasn’t done anything to overturn these Executive Orders.

  28. 32 nora
    August 10, 2009 at 17:58

    Two issues: Occupation and US in Colombia.

    On having your neighborhood militarily occupied: unless you have tried it, you may not know just how much you won’t like it.

    On Colombia: where will the lines be between the death squads we funded, the government war on the left we funded, the corruption we funded and the US military guys and gals on the ground?

  29. 33 william
    August 10, 2009 at 18:03

    Hello, I am from Colombia and recognize the need to rely on the US troops support in order to fight the drug traffickers who are affecting our democracy. Of course, they have to do their job in their country so that drugs demand can be decreased there.

    It is not acceptable that these drug traffickers, similarly to what is happening in Mexico, threaten and kill people for gaining access to what they call “routes” that make them easier to send the drug overseas.


  30. 34 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 10, 2009 at 18:05

    Probably not, but from time to time they do come here in coordination with the local army to do joint ventures. Personally I think it’s a smokescreen for keeping an EYE on Venezuela and Chavez.

  31. 35 Helen
    August 10, 2009 at 18:07

    I just hope an adequate military presence is in place in the countries where military protection is needed. Otherwise America and other willing allies will have to fight their way in -Later. That is the way it works out.

  32. 36 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 18:07

    @ T

    Uh, we have plenty of military bases. I live across the street from an army base. The world’s largest naval base is in the state I live in.

  33. 37 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 18:09

    I’m curious, would you rather have Russian bases on your territory? In the news read before the show, they stated that Russia reserves the right to invade sovereign nations to protect ethnic russians in those countries. So guess what Ukraine and Georgie are going to have to deal with, given that Russia considers these people to be Russian civilians? US Bash all you like, but ask people in europe what they think of Russia and how horribly Russian treated nations they occupied and controlled.

  34. 38 Stephen in Portland/Oregon
    August 10, 2009 at 18:09

    This case is all about Mucho Dinero! Bases bring truck loads of cash.

  35. 39 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 10, 2009 at 18:10

    Maria the US wants a base in Colombia so that they can demonstrate they are a military threat towards Chavez if he decides to become more provocative.

  36. August 10, 2009 at 18:11

    If Americans don’t understand why others would be nervous about the U.S. military in their country, they should ask themselves how many armies from a foreign country have a base in America? (Answer: none.)

  37. 41 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 10, 2009 at 18:13

    Hierro is naive tainted by the offer of money. The US will definitely have a powerful influence over Colombian policy and the army.

  38. 42 Vijay
    August 10, 2009 at 18:14

    Would you want the US military to operate out of your country?
    Yes,in the interest of common security.

    We should all be grateful to the US military for stepping up and taking responsibity for policing the world.

    They are the hegemonic power and have a duty to act when necessary.( a failure to act is worse thana misguided intervention)

    In South America the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well,the USA must intervene to counter the Russian ,Chinese and Iranian potential prescence(oh of course there is the War on Drugs to consider)

    I must declare an interest,both my parents worked for the US military in th UK,that is where they met .

  39. 43 Ryan Bushek
    August 10, 2009 at 18:18

    Do the presence of US bases really guarantee security?

    Would Russia have invaded Georgia last year if there had been US bases on Georgian soil? Would US bases as part of a missile shield really guarantee the protection of Poland and Czech Republic? Or just make them bigger targets?

    Ryan Bushek

    Portland, Oregon

  40. 44 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 18:18

    @ Mortimer

    Every time I go to Dulles Airport, here in Virginia, I see Luftwaffe airplanes. There is a Luftwaffe building there by the parking lots. There is German military presence in the US. I see foreign soldiers here all of the time.

    Also, NORAD is jointly staffed by Americans and Canadians. Please know what you’re talking about before you say it.

  41. 45 Charley in Portland
    August 10, 2009 at 18:20

    America’s world image & the cooperation she receives from other nations would improve greatly if we reduced our overseas military deployments wherever possible.

    For example, we could resolve two problems at once by giving the obsolete Guantanamo Bay naval base (along with all the remaining detainee) back to Cuba. They would regain sovereignty over Cuban territory along with a large developed base in exchange for taking the jihadi prisoners off our hands.

  42. 46 Peter in Jamaica
    August 10, 2009 at 18:20

    I’m British but live in Jamaica and to tell you the truth, to have an American base here wouldn’t be a problem as long as they respect the laws of this land, respect its inhabitants and if they are here to help then whats the problem. The one thing that they must understand though is that they are on a foreign soil and not to treat it like sovereign territory like an Embassy were its solders can run back to if they do wrong in the country. To me those guide lines would need to be a must if they were to set up base here

    • 47 Tom K in Mpls
      August 11, 2009 at 13:56

      Every US military base has a ‘military town’. In a military town you constantly have a wide variety of activities going on that are illegal in most counties. Both sides are very lax on the laws as long as there is no violence or big money involved.

      It is not abusive, the people there want to be there with the exception of some original residents that do not like it and will not sell and leave. These people are respected, but often in the form of apologies.

  43. 48 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 18:25

    Can you get a guest from Iceland on and ask them how horrific it was for the US have a base there and for the US to provide defense for Iceland given it has no standing military? Can they please describe the atrocities that Americans committed before the Naval Base closed in 2006? That’s right, there were no atrocities at all, and you never even really heard about the base there. For being such a horrible nation, countries like Canada, Greenland, and Iceland rely on the USA for their defense.

  44. 49 Keith Chima
    August 10, 2009 at 18:25


    Why would the US volunteer to operate a military base in another country if it wasn’t gaining something from the deal? It’s ridiculous to expect a country to be completely altruistic. You think in black and white- you think that just because the US benefits from this deal, Columbia must be a victim. This is a mutually beneficial deal. I assure you, without these military alliances, the world would have much more conflict.

  45. 50 Keith Chima
    August 10, 2009 at 18:28

    With that being said, I will recognize that American military presence in certain countries has previously been a burden on countries such as Vietnam and Iraq, but this usually is a result of war. I do not think Columbia has anything to fear.

  46. 51 brinda,India
    August 10, 2009 at 18:29

    I don’t think i will be okie with other country troupes in My country,,,,,,, espl these days ,,,,,,,, no one has peace on their mind,,,,,,,,,, as everyone is suggesting it is all about oil ,,,,,,,,,,or some other benefit,,,,,,,,,,,,,,so i guess unless the such country is paying(big) for the such access No i dont think it is a good thing.

  47. 52 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 10, 2009 at 18:29

    Bases are strategic geopolitical positions that serve the interest of the US first. When I was younger the US Invaded Greneda to remove a coup leader who was sympathetic to Communism. At the time I naively thought that the Americans really cared about them only to realise later they were trying to prevent the rise of communism in their backyard.

  48. August 10, 2009 at 18:32

    I an an activist lawyer, Indonesian. We have dealt many difficult matters in Philippines, Viet Nam, Thailand, S. Korea — all situations grown, and cultivated naturally, in places where young American men with (relatively) lots of money and excessive power have caused great harm to women and children.

    There are dependent cultures grown and exploited just outside barbed wire perimeters of US military bases. Great intergenerational and international harm is done by army boys with money in far-far away places.

    • 54 Tom K in Mpls
      August 11, 2009 at 14:05

      When I was in the US military, I saw what you are talking about. It seemed that there was always a new case popping up. But it should also be noted that to my eyes it was well under one percent of the US enlisted personnel that had/caused problems. In four years I personally knew of no more than three cases. It happens just as much in the US as abroad. While this should not be denied or ignored, it is not a major factor.

  49. 55 Minh Pham Duc
    August 10, 2009 at 18:33

    Yes, I would love to have US Military operate here, in Vietnam, since this will somehow prevent China from invading our country. A very good example here is the political and diplomatic dispute about Paracel Island and Spratly Island (which belongs to us). If we had US navy doing sea patrol here, China wouldn’t have chance to bully Vietnam

  50. 56 jan from Prague
    August 10, 2009 at 18:33

    For last two years the Czech government tried to persuade the majority of the citizens to welcome US base – anti-rocket radar which should be located 40 kilometers close to the capital city. But 75 % majority remind firm in their refusal. Even PR agency! was hired for public money to do the spin. People are no so stupid. One of the starting FOR argument – that radar will be used to protect USA against North Korea rocket (geographical nonsense) attack no one bought. Everybody knows – it is aimed against Russia but no one is saying it publicly.

  51. 57 CJ McAuley
    August 10, 2009 at 18:33

    NO, but they probably do as I am Canadian. For you see, Americans have a long history of not understanding or even caring about the cultures&sensibilities of whatever country they are in. My Mom was in the North of Ireland during WWII when the Americans arrived to “save” them all from Hitler and she has told me they were like “bulls in a China shop” way back then! The beginning of the Iraq war tells me that not much has changed. Their arrogance bothers many! I live in NORTH AMERICA, in the country of Canada. Only people from the United States of America have the audacity to refer to themselves as they do: Americans! For they think of themselves as “the City on the Hill”; chosen somehow by god.

  52. 58 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 18:33

    @ Charley

    So just the US? The US should return Guantanamo to Cuba but it’s okay for Britain to hold onto Gibraltar despise Spanish objections to the British presence in Spain? Or is the UK exempt from trying to get people to like them, or is it because Spain isn’t communist?

  53. 59 Bert
    August 10, 2009 at 18:33

    Mortimer seems to miss the point entirely.

    The US is not expecting the taxpayers of another country to fund its own (i.e. US) defense. Get it? The US pays for its own defense, and by the way, also that of many other countries.

    How much money, for example, with South Korea have to invest in its own defense, were US troops not stationed there? That’s the equation you’re looking for.

  54. 60 Zach
    August 10, 2009 at 18:38

    I am an American and my opinion is that the United States must scale down our attempts to be the “global police.” We are in a period now where the US is overstretched and vulnerable on many levels. One way for the US to attempt to overcome these vulnerabilities would be to scale back our “defense” forces, especially in the sense of operating in other countries.

    In an aside, I could see problems rising out of the attempts of interaction between the US soldiers and the local citizens.

  55. August 10, 2009 at 18:39

    I am a veteran of two long tours in Europe, Athens Greece and Ramstein Germany.

    The base in Greece is a small base of mainly using the airport. Even then, we drilled and built a water tower that is shared locally, sewage, and road improvements. We did not control any politics. this was the election of Papandrao and 7 other parties actually used Soviet flags. There were demonstrations and occasional car bombs. We even paid quite a bit of money in rent.

    The huge base in Germany also has huge economic benefits to the local economy as the 85,000 American military personnel and plus their families do very much shopping and renting local housing.

    If a country wants us; and they want the benefits we can provide, then it is in American interests also. We do not stay in countries where the government wants us to leave.

    • 63 Ramesh, India
      August 10, 2009 at 19:05

      Bil, you are right. Nicaragua wanted you to leave and you are leaving. And you are going to Colombia is just because Nicaragua thrown you out and not because you really want to help the Columbians!!

  56. 66 brian in NYC
    August 10, 2009 at 18:40

    The most important thing is for both US citizens and the larger world community to monitor the US military. It seems that people’s historical experience with the US military colors their perception of it. It has gone both ways: Germany, Europe, South Korea and Japan greatly benefited from US presence. Vietnam and Cambodia did not. Also the US contributed to major human rights violations throughout Latin America in the 1980’s, so it is not surprising that many are hostile to the idea of US bases in that rgion. Whatever one’s feeling on the US presence in Iraq, I think that public and media scrutiny has forced it to improve its approach in dealing with the local population. For reasons of feasibility, the US is likely to remain “the world’s police force”, in the near future. As such we must as world citizens must hold them to a strict standard of accountability.

  57. 67 Mig
    August 10, 2009 at 18:46

    If a state in any given region is concerned that a neighbor is aggressive they most certainly would accept U.S. presence. Only states that view the U.S. as a competitor in the region or a threat to their power as preceived by other states in the region will deny U.S. presence and will use as many instruments of power as they can to keep the U.S. out of not only their state but any border state that they exert control over. The choice isn’t the peoples but the governments that are in power.

  58. 68 brian in NYC
    August 10, 2009 at 18:47

    CJ, I think you have a really good point. As comfortably left of center person myself, I feel that it is time to help develop better practices for US military intervention, rather than simply fighting against them. Given the history, I too am nervous about US military bases around the world, but I feel like stopping it is unlikely, and the important thing is to fix the policies and then mentalities. The Iraq fiasco seems to have been a real wake-up call as far as sensitivity. While I do think there is a long way to go, its is a start.

  59. 69 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 18:50

    Your guests seem to think that the US only has/had bases in 3rd world nations for the US to flex it’s muscle, to show it’s juice? I guess if you ignore the fact that we are the military for Iceland, and that Iceland isn’t a 3rd world nation. We are basically Japan’s military as well. And we know what a third world, failed state that Japan is.

  60. 70 Tom D Ford
    August 10, 2009 at 18:53

    Read the essay by Marine Major General Smedly Butler if you want to learn some truth about US military presence around the world.

    Also, The Prize” by Daniel Yergin, a history of Oil.

  61. 71 steve
    August 10, 2009 at 18:53

    @ CJ

    Classic america bashing, contributes nothing to this topic other than you venting your hatred of a nation of 300,000,000 people. Now you people actually criticize the US for entering WW2? This is absolutely hilarious. Thanks for the laugh. Normally the whining is that the US waiting too long, but oh no, N. Ireland was tainted by having US soldiers set foot there. Go to a military graveyard in Europe, tens of thousands of Americans died in Europe in WW1 and WW2, far away from their homes, many having never left the country before. You insult them all.

  62. 72 Tom D Ford
    August 10, 2009 at 18:56

    Sadly, some people think that their nations resources belong to them. They actually belong to Global Corporations who use the US Military to enforce their Contractual Ownership Rights.

    It is all about business, not freedom, human rights, or any other of the phony excuses bandied about.

  63. 73 MBW
    August 10, 2009 at 18:58

    I’m prior military and I just have a hard time listening without getting a little upset. The USA helps the countries that we are in, both financially, with our volonteer work that we do. We have lost so many people to help this world out! And everyone complains, UP TO INCLUDING OUR OWN, that say we are trying show we bigger than everyone else. That is 100% incorrect. We help train your people threwout the world, here in the us, up to include host foreign nations on our bases. We have helped local communities, we bend over backward for you! And you complain! Top that off, the bases are small, and really don’t take up much space! Look at the big picture and everything that we have done for you before you judge.

  64. August 10, 2009 at 19:02

    I was in the us army for three years after high school and I spent two years overseas in both Iraq and South Korea. It was my experience that the for the most part the people citizens of both Iraq and especially South Korea were glad we were there to support them. The us military’s presence in South Korea and our support for their people has prevented the North Korean military from invading the south for over 50 years.

  65. 77 Anna in Melbourne
    August 10, 2009 at 19:10

    If my country had fostered a movement that prevented women from being educated, insisted we wear burkhas and summarily executed people for crimes like reading ‘revolutionary’ books, yes I would want American troops in my country.

    There is a fascinating Australian soldier who has worked with Patreus and Condy Rice – David Killcullen has an especially enlightened approach to these issues – this link will take you to a lecture he recently gave in Oz –


  66. August 10, 2009 at 19:19

    Dear Mr. Atkins,

    American troops are welcomed anywhere if they are under a United Nations command structure wearing a blue helmet. However, if we choose to put troops in other countries without the blue helmet, it is always perceived as an occupation. Locals never like seeing a Foreign power patrolling their streets. I feel if the Russian troops were patrolling St. Louis streets, the locals would in out roar just like other locals around the world.

    We in the US have sufficient domestic problems which need addressing but they are overlooked and our government focuses on playing strategic war games while majority of us don’t have health coverage or decent schools compared to any western Nation like Canada, France, New Zealand who actually look after their populations first.

    Our government needs to focus on its populations happiness and overall well being.

    Ravi in St. Louis. MO

  67. August 10, 2009 at 21:20

    I want to thank you for having Thomas Barnett on to articulate a very informed and generous intuitive view, both overview from his professional position and temperament and underview from the history of the USA as we matured into what we are today thru our wild and wooly experiment in uniting a bunch of craggy and independent teenage states which has now expanded beyond our control into “globalization”. I would hope that some of the people who have here responded can get a hold of his books and see what a truly different world they display than the knee jerk empire conspiracies that are so often blathered onto the airways these days. His is a humbling and formidable way to see ourselves in the mediated light of how things are.

    Thank you for your hard work, WHYS ers, in finding coherent, resilient and creative ways thru this all.

  68. 80 Jim Newman
    August 10, 2009 at 21:25

    Hello again
    A few years ago Europeans were asked which country they thought was the biggest threat to world peace. Guess who won.
    Judging from the number of almost obsessive pro USA military contributions and drawing on my own experience I can easily calculate that at least 60% of contributions have been censored.
    In my opinion the USA is the world bully and countries who have USA bases have been bullied into accepting them.
    I think that the world should build a barrier around the USA and only those who promise to be decent human beings should be allowed out.

  69. August 10, 2009 at 23:05

    what ever military coperation that may exist between nigeria an america, it would serve as a much needed check on the tendecies of extremism to extend from north africa to sub saharan africa. the experiences in tanzania and kenya to remind of the evil that is close to us. one thing we have to offer is a good military cv in maintaining peace. this of course will depend on how the government is able to sell this to the public.

  70. 82 Howie from Florida
    August 11, 2009 at 00:10

    Yeah no one wants the US Military in their country when it is for our (US) benefit, but each and every one of your leaders will be on that red phone to The White House as soon as you need our military.

  71. 83 Michel Norman
    August 11, 2009 at 05:58

    Mr Mcauley – I read your comments on Americans behaving like bulls in a china shop in England during WW2 – and to be honest my first reaction was to remember that if it had not been for those soldiers then the Germans would have been packing my parents and their families into cattle trucks for shipment to Poland.

    Britain’s army may be very professional, but it is tiny and Britain has for years sheltered behind the American military umbrella – It amazes me how so many people want to rely on America to defend them but complain about their physical presence.

  72. 84 osuagwu
    August 11, 2009 at 08:37

    I want the USA and possibly the UK to esterbulish bases in many countries in Africa,fron Nigeria (my country) to Zaire . The presence of US bases transforms countries that are lucky to have them economically as the political stability it brings is creat excellent conditiopn for investiment and hence economic growth.

  73. 85 Jim Newman
    August 12, 2009 at 13:38

    Hello again
    And hello Michel Norman. The intentions of Hitler concerning the Jews were well known from the beginning. That means from the moment he gained power. For the western capitalist governements the most important thing was his animosity against the soviets that is why they turned a blind eye to alll other things. The capitalist countries actively helped Germany rearm and helped silence the enormous opposition that there was against fascism.
    The peace pact between Hitler and Stalin was a desperate attempt by Stalin to avoid war. It didn’t work and 20 million soviet lives later they were victorious. Your famous soldiers who we need to ‘protect us’ waited till the moment when it was obvious that the soviets were winning before invading Europe.
    To finish I would like to say that no country needs foreign troops on it’s soil and especially not the USA military.

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