Base Politics

Base Politics: Democratic Change and the U.S. Military Overseas

Alexander Cooley
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 328
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Base Politics
    Book Description:

    According to the Department of Defense's 2004 Base Structure Report, the United States officially maintains 860 overseas military installations and another 115 on noncontinental U.S. territories. Over the last fifteen years the Department of Defense has been moving from a few large-footprint bases to smaller and much more numerous bases across the globe. This so-called lily-pad strategy, designed to allow high-speed reactions to military emergencies anywhere in the world, has provoked significant debate in military circles and sometimes-fierce contention within the polity of the host countries.

    In Base Politics, Alexander Cooley examines how domestic politics in different host countries, especially in periods of democratic transition, affect the status of U.S. bases and the degree to which the U.S. military has become a part of their local and national landscapes. Drawing on exhaustive field research in different host nations across East Asia and Southern Europe, as well as the new postcommunist base hosts in the Black Sea and Central Asia, Cooley offers an original and provocative account of how and why politicians in host countries contest or accept the presence of the U.S. military on their territory.

    Overseas bases, Cooley shows, are not merely installations that serve a military purpose. For host governments and citizens, U.S. bases are also concrete institutions and embodiments of U.S. power, identity, and diplomacy. Analyzing the degree to which overseas bases become enmeshed in local political agendas and interests, Base Politics will be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the extent-and limits-of America's overseas military influence.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-5847-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. Preface
    (pp. XI-XVIII)
    Alexander Cooley
  5. CHAPTER 1 Political Change and the Overseas American Military Presence
    (pp. 1-28)

    In March 2004, just days after his surprising election victory, Spainʹs president-elect José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero ordered the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq. Zapateroʹs dramatic decision fulfilled an election campaign pledge but also created acrimony between Spain and the United States; the previous administration of José María Aznar had offered nearly unqualified support for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Less noticed at the time was that during Spainʹs withdrawal, the United States continued to fly daily sorties and logistical missions in support of OIF from the Morón airbase and Rota naval station on Spanish territory. Yet the Spanish media and...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Overseas Military Basing Agreements: Issues and Methodology
    (pp. 29-55)

    Before we can assess the evolution of U.S. base contracts in particular cases, we need to identify the issues that the contracts cover. In this chapter I provide a framework for understanding the dimensions of basing agreements and for tracking how these provisions change across time and case, as well as a methodological justification for my selection of case studies. International legal scholars have examined some of these governance issues, and much of their work offers useful analytical insights.¹ Here I focus on the features of basing agreements that have been most frequently politicized and place them in a theoretical...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Philippines and Spain: In the Shadow of the Dictator
    (pp. 56-94)

    The evolution of the U.S. basing presence in Spain and the Philippines offers strong support for the theory of base politics advanced in chapter 1. In both countries, patterns of contesting or depoliticizing the issue of U.S. bases were heavily influenced by periods of democratic transition or consolidation in the base hosts. In both countries, the basesʹ association with the regimes of high-profile authoritarian figures would eventually undermine their contractual legitimacy. To this day, a segment of public opinion in both countries attributes the political longevity of Francisco Franco and Ferdinand Marcos to the U.S. military presence and American political...

  8. CHAPTER 4 South Korea and Turkey: From Common Defense to Political Uncertainty
    (pp. 95-136)

    U.S. forces in South Korea and Turkey, unlike those in Spain and the Philippines, were first deployed for mutual defense and to deter the aggression of a common enemy. During the 1950s, the regimes of Syngman Rhee in Korea and Adnan Menderes in Turkey strategically used the U.S. military presence and the accompanying heavy flow of aid to solidify their military alliances and to consolidate their internal political rule. After this initial period, however, with its clear, common purpose of security, the political status of the bases in these two countries diverged as domestic political change and democratization undermined the...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Okinawa and the Azores: Island Hosts and Triangular Politics
    (pp. 137-174)

    The most geographically remote, yet perhaps most analytically instructive, pair of base hosts are the island groups of Okinawa and the Azores. As with the other cases, base politics on these islands have been highly conditioned by domestic political change, especially periods of democratic transition and consolidation. However, the base politics of these islands have been mediated by an additional factor absent in the other cases—the political relation between regional island governments and their respective national governments. Okinawans and Azoreans have developed distinct political identities that often have clashed with the prevailing mainland conceptions of nation and state held...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Japan and Italy: The Politics of Clientelism and One-Party Democratic Rule
    (pp. 175-216)

    The United States defeated and then occupied both Japan and Italy during the latter stages of World War II. Since the 1950s, Japan and Italy have hosted an extensive network of military bases and facilities used by U.S. armed forces and, with some instructive exceptions, have done so without contesting the terms of the U.S. basing presence. Accordingly, these cases offer the opportunity to examine the evolution of base politics in two ʺclientʺ states whose internal and external affairs have been heavily influenced by the United States. In this chapter I assess whether these countriesʹ dependence on the U.S.-led security...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Central Asia and the Global Defense Posture Review: New Bases, Old Politics
    (pp. 217-248)

    The theory of base politics advanced in this book explains the political evolution of the issue in many of the southern European and East Asian base hosts. Beginning in about 2005, however, the United States has been undergoing a fundamental restructuring of its overseas basing network. As part of the Global Defense Posture Review (GDPR), U.S. defense planners are downsizing large cold war–era facilities and replacing them with a chain of so-called lily-pad bases, a global network of smaller facilities of a nonpermanent nature that can be quickly expanded when needed.¹ These bases will host fewer permanent troops, rely...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Conclusion: America’s Past and Future Base Politics
    (pp. 249-274)

    Over six decades across different continents, rulers and politicians in countries hosting U.S. military bases have played two-level base politics; they have used the benefits provided by basing contracts to further their domestic political goals and have invoked domestic institutions to improve the terms of their security contracts with the United States. The phases during which these basing contracts were contested and politicized by various domestic groups or were ignored and subsequently depoliticized have varied according to the host regimeʹs dependence on the base and the contractual credibility of its political institutions. Cases drawn from southern Europe, East Asia, and...

  13. References
    (pp. 275-300)
  14. Index
    (pp. 301-310)