US military bases in other nations: worth the cost?

Politicians seem afraid to be the first to propose cuts in the Pentagon budget. Whoever tried it would surely be crucified for being “soft on defense.” I say there must be at least as much duplication and fraud in the Pentagon budget, which is one of the two largest chunks of the federal budget, as there is anywhere else.

Spiffy interactive graph

“The military of the United States is deployed in more than 150[1] countries around the world, with more than 369,000 of its 1,580,255[2] active-duty personnel serving outside the United States and its territories.”

I say overseas deployments should be cut back, especially in Iraq, Afghanistan and Europe. Europe can go take a dry dive off of a tall building for all I care. Europe needs to pay its own defense costs. We are just putting off the inevitable by remaining in Iraq. The result in Iraq will be the same if the US leaves now or in ten years. I would favor leaving a strong mobile strike capability in Afghanistan.

The US had Very large military bases in the Philippines until 1991. They were closed at the insistence of the Phillipines legislature. Good on them! WTF is wrong with Europe? Why don’t they ask the US to leave? Maybe it’s because they are getting something for free.

And maybe it’s because the US is getting something valuable in return, ie forward bases to project their power globally in times of crisis?

Would you be content for the US to withdraw and, for example, Russia or China to make agreements to establish bases in those countries? Power abhors a vacuum.

Yes. The U.S. has not realize it gives many countries security for free. Abstract ideas like “power” and “influences” don’t bring money back home.

In case of crisis local governments should cooperate. If local governments do not see fit to cooperate, some might suspect imperialism at work. Let the power vacuum be filled by local sources. Let the free market work its magic with geopolitics.

Actually, power and influence can bring money home. I think the Afghanistan action is partly about mineral wealth and a possible oil pipeline. I question whether the US benefits enough to make it worthwhile to have so many overseas bases, particularly in Europe. And the Afghan deployment could be scaled back considerably.

I don’t think US bases are in W. Europe for their defence. It’s more about having a friendly base from which to do operations in other areas such as the Caucasus, Middle East or North Africa. Once upon a time it was mainly about Russia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

For example I’ve heard 1000’s of injured soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are evacuated for surgery in Germany because it’s the closest base with highly developed medical resources. Then once they are stabilised they can be sent on to the USA for further treatment/recovery but hours count with those kind of injuries.

Ahh, the oil pipeline theory that just will not die. Is that the reason we are involved in Lybia too?

And if you think the Americans are the bad guys, just what do you think the Chinese are doing all over the third world?

I don’t know how an oil pipeline through Afghanistan could ever be made secure. I do know there are some rich mineral deposits in Afghanistan which no one has yet figured out how to develop on a large scale.

Libya has oil, without which the worldwide price of that commodity would be higher.

Please clarify your comment about China.

Do you really think that exploiting minerals in Afghanistan will pay the bills of that war? Do you know a single misile cost millions of dollars?

Anyways, the U.S. is getting poorer just because it can’t realize pride and military parades cost money.

Besides showing who is the boss in Europe.

But the point is other. Why Americans don’t realize theirs own allies laugh at the expenditures on those bases, and are waiting to that American place in the world when that country could continue paying the bills?

If US companies develop the trillion dollars of mineral wealth described in my cite above, many billions of dollars could flow into the US.

Trillions of dollars in minerals? You don’t undestand the mining industry, I am afraid. I am a Chilean and I know it a lot better. You don’t make trillions exploiting common minerals.

Believe me, the U.S. is wasting its money in armed forces, wars and the weapon industry, while smarter countries, like the Europeans, China, India and most of the world, is developing and dominating the economical part of the power equation.

If this thread continues for a couple of decades more, the U.S. will sink alone!

The Euros are sinking their money into welfare programs and they are just as troubled by debt as we are without little national glory and riots and strikes when they attempt miniscule cuts to the programs. The ChiComs and the Indians are building up their militaries though.

I would really like to agree with you, but I have to believe there are at least a few hundred billion dollars of profit to be had on a trillion dollars worth of minerals. Certainly the common people will rarely see much of it.

God know I hate to extend this, but where did you come up with the estimate of a trillion dollars worth of minerals?

I think that the world would be a safer and more stable place, if America and the West stopped jumping into every bit of trouble in the world, as some sort of unelected world policeman.

Please note that I am not a tree hugging peacenik, or anti American or anti West.

I think that we SHOULD take action to stop international terrorism, drug smuggling, piracy, and protection of strategic resources and some othere things.

But the invasion of Iraq and Afghan has achieved neither of these things, nor will do so in the future IMO.

We should stop these pointless military interventions and also take a long hard look at our aid donations to the third world which at best do nothing in real terms to improve the long term futures of the receiving states, and at worst actively destabilise the countries that we’re supposedly trying to help.

We also need to take a second look at our carte’blanche giving of political asylum to anyone who asks for it.

I’m not talking about the fake asylum seekers (of which I would not be stunned with amazement to find that there are huge amounts), but working on the idea that if things are wrong in your country and it is all too easy to cut and run to another country…

Then as soon as things get tough, you stop trying and leave .

The end result of which is, that things never get to change in your country, though you go through the motions of verbal condemnation etc. from the safetey (and comfort)of your new home.

We should learn well enough to know when to keep out of things.

The interference may be well meant, but its still interference.

nm – mineral article cited earlier by Mr. Duality

I am perfectly content in showing our military muscles. Sometimes we don’t have much else to stand on. :confused:

Question - would U.S. intelligence be as good as it is without these installments?

I think its worth considering that the NATO alliance benefits from these military bases, especially for the purposes of joint training operations between NATO-allied countries.

Whether the existence of NATO is entirely justified at this point in history is another matter.

Agreed. And as long as we’re part of NATO, it matters.