Why is the U.S. allowed to have military bases in other countries?

After Kerry mentioned in the first presidential debate that the U.S. was building military bases in Iraq I started wondering why the U.S. has military bases in other countries.

I know there are American military bases in Belgium, Cuba, Germany, & Japan. The denouement of World War II might explain some of the locations.

Why do other countries allow the United States to have military bases within their borders?

Easy–we negotiate a treaty.

Sometimes, the country gets its officers traided by us. Other times, we provide weapons. The presence of a base indicates a mutual defence pact, which might discourage invaders. Trade agreements sometimes happen, although we only give them if we really want a base somewhere.

In the case of Cuba, it’s because they can’t kick us out. We don’t go and set up shop in every country for the obvious reasons, but since we already had a base in Guantanamo Bay, we decided to keep that toehold even after Castro deposed the former geeks and took command.

We keep bases in other, more friendly nations because it’s easier to move troops around when we have friendly airstrips and resupply depots as close to the action as possible. Those are maintained by treaty, with the extra cachet of the business and protection a US base provides to the surrounding region. Bosda probably knows more about this side of things than I do.

Is the US the only nation with military bases in foreign countries?

I’ve always understood the bases in Italy, Germany, etc., but yeah, what’s the deal with the base in Cuba? They must not like that very much.

They hate it, but they can’t do shit about it. In short, we had the base back before Castro came to power, and we refused to vacate the premises after he ousted our goons and installed his own.

According to Unca Cece, we do still pay rent.

We had the base way before Castro came to power. We picked it up in gratitude from Cuba for our actions in the Spanish-American war.

The British still have a couple of large “sovereign base areas” in Cyprus. The French have troops based in some of their former colonies in Africa (e.g. Djibouti, strategically located on the Horn of Africa just across from the Arabian Peninsula) and over the years France has intervened in the internal affairs of various ex-colonies (helping to put down military mutinies, for example). Syria has troops in Lebanon, and in fact basically controls that country.

Oh, and Russia still has troops stationed in various areas of what they call the “near abroad” (the former Soviet republics).

Nope. The British have bases in Germany and, I’m pretty sure, in several other countries (Cyprus being one?). The French used to have bases in Germany and may still do. I think they also have bases in some African countries. The Soviets, of course, had bases in lots of countries, and it wouldn’t amaze me to find that the Russians still have bases in some ex-Soviet republics. I think that both the British and the Indians have bases in Nepal - or perhaps they have a shared base.

Basically, it’s not amazing to find that any major military power/ex-colonial power has bases in other countries.

Germany has a base in the western US for pilot training. Better weather and more room to fly around in.

Incidentally, the only foreign power to have a military base on US soil is Canada: there was a Royal Canadian Air Force base on Annette Island, off Alaska, helping to defend against Japanese air raids.

One Canadian pilot managed to shoot down a Japanese aircraft, then went on to bag one German and one Italian aircraft in Europe.


That should say “only foreign power to have had a military base…”

Because we pay them. And we hire locals to do some work on the bases, and our soldiers/sailors spend money in local businesses.

Also, some countries want to stay on our good side, and so don’t want to say no to a request to put a base there. Especially when they consider the effect on the local economy (see above).

The US has bases in Denmark. Faeroe Islands and Greenland – the Thule base just got the go ahead to a substantial enlargement on the radar equipment as part of the SDI. There’re there because Denmark is an ally with the US and because they’re a financial boon for Denmark.

One of the bigegst american bases is on “british” soil in Diego Garcia in the Indian ocean. It is important air base for the middle east. The british rather illegally and immorally dumped the native islanders off there into slums on other islands and gave it to the americans. The islanders have been agitating to have it back for the last thirty years but the british goverment recently told them to get stuffed, probably because the americans told the british to get stuffed when they asked for it back. see http://www.infoplease.com/spot/dg.html

There was a John Pilger documentary on this only a couple of days ago. It made harrowing, gut-wrenching watching and left me with even less faith in our establishment and political parties. Both Labour, Conservative and the permanent Foreign Office are demonstrably culpable, and their sheer hypocrasy both reminded me why I don’t vote, and why - in this instance at least - I felt humiliated and disgusted to be British. The Americans don’t come off too well either, it must be said.

Hasn’t been mentioned yet that the US has several bases in the UK, although they’re usually designated as “RAF” Mildenhall, Lakenheath etc … so presumably they’re shared with British troops.

Germany uses a base in the western US for pilot training, that being Holloman AFB, New Mexico. We own the base, but they have a contingent permanently ‘settled’ on the flightline for just that purpose.

A lot of the bases that we have established in overseas countries are a result of new treaties (Al Jaber AB, Kuwait, Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, or Al Udeid, Qatar), historical reasons (Rammstein AB, Germany, or Balad AB, Iraq), or some other particular need (Thule AB, Greenland).

The answer to the OP has been pretty much answered in that a U.S. military presence in a nation or region tends to have a stabilizing effect on the political structure of the region, with ecenomic benefits to match. Go ahead, lob a few mortars at Al Udeid, and you’ll see how damn quick your mortarmen are turned into swiss cheese.

I’ve done the 'Deid.

No there are no British troops on these American bases in the UK .They are wholly US staffed and run. The only exception might be a small British liaison staff actually on base, but that would be just a handful of people.