The Bases of Empire

The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle against U.S. Military Posts

Edited by CATHERINE LUTZ
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 378
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qffch
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  • Book Info
    The Bases of Empire
    Book Description:

    A quarter of a million U.S. troops are massed in over seven hundred major official overseas airbases around the world. In the past decade, the Pentagon has formulated and enacted a plan to realign, or reconfigure, its bases in keeping with new doctrines of pre-emption and intensified concern with strategic resource control, all with seemingly little concern for the surrounding geography and its inhabitants.The contributors in The Bases of Empire trace the political, environmental, and economic impact of these bases on their surrounding communities across the globe, including Latin America, Europe, and Asia, where opposition to the United States' presence has been longstanding and widespread, and is growing rapidly.Through sharp analysis and critique, The Bases of Empire illuminates the vigorous campaigns to hold the United States accountable for the damage its bases cause in allied countries as well as in war zones, and offers ways to reorient security policies in other, more humane, and truly secure directions.Contributors: Julian Aguon, Kozue Akibayashi, Ayse Gul Altinay, Tom Engelhardt, Cynthia Enloe, Joseph Gerson, David Heller, Amy Holmes, Laura Jeffery, Kyle Kajihiro, Hans Lammerant, John Lindsay-Poland, Catherine Lutz, Katherine McCaffrey, Roland G. Simbulan, Suzuyo Takazato, and David Vine.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6526-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Cynthia Enloe

    Get out your world map – the one that includes all the smallest island countries – and a pad of neon-colored post-it notes. Now you’re ready to chart an empire. It used to be, back in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that the world map would already have the imperial colors painted in, the most famous being pink for the colonies that comprised the far-reaching British Empire. If you were sitting in a classroom in, say, 1920 – in Mombasa, Colombo, Kingston, or Rangoon – you would look up at your teacher’s map and see a world carpeted in pink. Nowadays, however, it...

  6. INTRODUCTION: BASES, EMPIRE, AND GLOBAL RESPONSE
    (pp. 1-44)
    Catherine Lutz

    Much about our current world is unparalleled: holes in the ozone layer, the commercial patenting of life forms, degrading poverty on a massive scale, and, more hopefully, the rise of concepts of global citizenship and universal human rights. Less visible but just as unprecedented is the global omnipresence and unparalleled lethality of the U.S. military, and the ambition with which it is being deployed around the world. These bases bristle with an inventory of weapons whose worth is measured in the trillions and whose killing power could wipe out all life on earth several times over. Their presence is meant...

  7. Part I: Mapping U.S. Power
    • 1 U.S. FOREIGN MILITARY BASES AND MILITARY COLONIALISM: PERSONAL AND ANALYTICAL PERSPECTIVES
      (pp. 47-70)
      Joseph Gerson

      In May 2005, with more than 100,000 U.S. troops at war in Iraq as they sought to enforce the U.S. military occupation of that oil-rich nation, and with confrontations growing over North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs, theWashington Postcarried a disturbing report about U.S. preparations for its next war. In response to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s top secret “Interim Global Strike Alert Order,” the Pentagon’s Strategic Command had, it was reported, developed a “full-spectrum global strike ... capability to deliver rapid, extended range precision kinetic (nuclear and conventional) and non-kinetic (elements of space and information operations) effects...

    • 2 U.S. MILITARY BASES IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
      (pp. 71-95)
      John Lindsay-Poland

      The United States has operated military bases in Latin America since the beginning of the 1900s, when it first established army camps in Cuba during the Spanish–American War and in Panama at the beginning of U.S. canal construction there. These bases have served explicitly to project and protect U.S. government and commercial interests in the region, as part of a project of empire. More recently, the explosion of U.S. military interest and funding for Plan Colombia, occurring in the wake of the United States’ withdrawal from military bases in Panama in December 1999, gave rise to a proliferation of...

    • 3 U.S. NUCLEAR WEAPONS BASES IN EUROPE
      (pp. 96-130)
      David Heller and Hans Lammerant

      Since World War II, the United States has maintained a network of military installations across Europe. Throughout the 1980s, this infrastructure supported several thousand tactical, intermediate-range, and strategic nuclear weapons, as well as conventional forces. Although the number of U.S. bases in Europe is now significantly smaller than at the height of the Cold War, the U.S. troops, weapons, communication systems, and other military infrastructure remain significant politically, socially, militarily, and often economically for both the United States and the host country.

      One of the most problematic parts of the U.S. forces currently in Europe are the B61 tactical nuclear...

    • 4 IRAQ AS A PENTAGON CONSTRUCTION SITE
      (pp. 131-142)
      Tom Engelhardt

      Back in April 2003, just after Baghdad fell to American troops, Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt reported on the front page of theNew York Timesthat the Pentagon had launched its invasion the previous month with plans for four “permanent bases” in out of the way parts of Iraq already on the drawing board. Since then, the Pentagon has indeed sunk billions of dollars into building those “mega-bases” (with a couple of extra ones thrown in) at or near the places mentioned by Shanker and Schmitt.

      When questioned by reporters at the time about whether such “permanent bases” were...

  8. Part II: Global Resistance
    • 5 PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT RESPONSES TO EVOLVING U.S. MILITARY ACTIVITIES IN THE PHILIPPINES
      (pp. 145-180)
      Roland G. Simbulan

      In the past two decades, especially after the 1986 people power revolt against the Marcos dictatorship, the proliferation of people’s organizations has become one of the most prominent features of Philippine political life. Over the years, these movements have been the people’s response to the inadequacy of the government in providing for the welfare of the citizenry. They have also played a crucial role in advancing the people’s demands toward genuine change. These movements articulate what social scientists call the possibility and desire for human security and genuine development through their common opposition to neoliberal globalization (Bello 1999; Pollard 2004)....

    • 6 “GIVE US BACK DIEGO GARCIA”: UNITY AND DIVISION AMONG ACTIVISTS IN THE INDIAN OCEAN
      (pp. 181-217)
      David Vine and Laura Jeffery

      In the waning hours of the British Empire, as decolonization swept across Asia and Africa, the United States persuaded the United Kingdom to create its last colony. In 1960, U.S. government officials quietly approached their British counterparts about acquiring the tiny island of Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean as a site for a military base. By 1964, the United Kingdom agreed to detach Diego Garcia and the rest of the surrounding Chagos Archipelago from colonial Mauritius and several island groups from colonial Seychelles to create a strategic military colony,the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The United...

    • 7 ENVIRONMENTAL STRUGGLE AFTER THE COLD WAR: NEW FORMS OF RESISTANCE TO THE U.S. MILITARY IN VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO
      (pp. 218-242)
      Katherine T. McCaffrey

      This chapter examines the case of Vieques, Puerto Rico, to consider shifting power relations between the U.S. military and civil society in the post-Cold War context. Vieques is a 51-square-mile island municipality of Puerto Rico, located six miles off the southeast coast of Puerto Rico. For 60 years, the U.S. Navy maintained a stranglehold on Vieques, wedging a residential civilian community between a live-bombing range and an ammunition facility. The navy recently shut down its live-fire range on the island after four years of mass mobilization and civil disobedience made continued training on Vieques impossible.

      The chapter considers how the...

    • 8 OKINAWA: WOMEN’S STRUGGLE FOR DEMILITARIZATION
      (pp. 243-269)
      Kozue Akibayashi and Suzuyo Takazato

      On September 12, 2001, U.S. military bases on the island of Okinawa and other locations on mainland Japan went to “Delta,” their highest alert level. While the attack on the United States was broadcast live in Japan and drew intense attention from the public, to the majority of the Japanese population, these incidents were “a fire on the other side of the globe.” To the people in Okinawa, however, the threat was real. As many people in the United States who live near national landmarks feared the possibilities of another attack, people in Okinawa feared that the next target could...

    • 9 OPPOSITION TO THE U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE IN TURKEY IN THE CONTEXT OF THE IRAQ WAR
      (pp. 270-298)
      Ayşe Gül Altınay and Amy Holmes

      On March 1, 2003, the Turkish Grand National Assembly voted “no” to the deployment of both U.S. forces in Turkey and Turkish forces in Iraq. This decision marked a turning point in the war plans on Iraq and U.S.–Turkish relations, as well as the anti-war movement in Turkey. As a NATO member and “traditional ally” of the United States, Turkey had been expected to cooperate fully with the United States as it prepared for the invasion of Iraq. The price of non-cooperation was regarded as an impossible political and economic bargain for a country that relied heavily on IMF...

    • 10 RESISTING MILITARIZATION IN HAWAI‘I
      (pp. 299-332)
      Kyle Kajihiro

      In Hawai‘i, the U.S. military is an inescapable fact of life. Its iron embrace is achieved through hundreds of military installations that occupy and transform vast swaths of land, sea, and sky, including nearly a quarter of the most populated island of O‘ahu. Military troops, their dependants, and veterans have nearly overtaken the population of Hawai‘i’s indigenous people and changed the political map of Hawai‘i. But barbed wire and checkpoints do not mark the boundary of the military’s influence; it has penetrated the economy, social fabric, and very culture of these islands. And people derive vastly different meanings from this...

  9. AFTERWORD: DOWN HERE
    (pp. 333-336)
    Julian Aguon

    These stories of ordinary people fighting extraordinary battles against military colonialism are to be cherished as much for their pure wealth of information as for their subtle announcements of the presence of beauty where it has survived brutality.

    I’ve been thinking about beauty so much lately. About folks being robbed of it, folks fading for want of it, folks rushing to embrace only ghosts of it. This is the point: Empire is eating Everybody. All of us. The whole wide array of ancient narratives of what it means to be human on this planet – snack. Chomp, chomp.

    Our world today...

  10. LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 337-340)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 341-356)