Do away with mil­i­tary bases abroad

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

Jmil­i­tary APANESE pro­tes­tors on Sun­day demon­strated against the heavy US

pres­ence on the Is­land of Ok­i­nawa, as ten­sions run high af­ter a base em­ployee was ar­rested fol­low­ing rape and mur­der of a twenty-yearold lo­cal woman. In fact this demon­stra­tion on the part of Ja­panese is not an iso­lated or new one as they have long been protest­ing against the pres­ence of th­ese bases whose per­son­nel have of­ten been found in­volved in a se­ries of crimes such as rapes, as­saults and hit and run ac­ci­dents.

De­spite strong op­po­si­tion from the gen­eral pub­lic, the US con­tin­ues to main­tain a strong mil­i­tary pres­ence in Ja­pan on dif­fer­ent pre­texts es­pe­cially cit­ing the threat posed by North Korea. Ac­cord­ing to some es­ti­mates about 47,000 US per­son­nel are sta­tioned in the coun­try and the Ja­panese govern­ment each year is pay­ing bil­lions of dol­lars to meet their cost. It is not only in Ja­pan or the Korean penin­sula but Wash­ing­ton - de­sir­ing to main­tain its clout and sway in dif­fer­ent re­gions - has spread its ten­ta­cles, mean­ing mil­i­tary pres­ence, to al­most all re­gions in­clud­ing Europe, South Asia, Western Hemi­sphere etc. Some re­ports sug­gest that it has about eight hun­dred bases out­side of its borders in eighty dif­fer­ent coun­tries. The im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment, how­ever, is that over the past few years, there are now peo­ple in coun­tries ev­ery­where who are ex­press­ing re­sent­ment and chal­leng­ing the very pres­ence of th­ese bases on their ter­ri­to­ries. Ja­pan is just one ex­am­ple where peo­ple are tak­ing to the streets against the US foot­prints. Sim­i­larly in our own re­gion, the peo­ple are wary of pro­longed pres­ence of US troops in Afghanistan de­scrib­ing it as a per­sis­tent threat to re­gional peace and se­cu­rity. In re­al­ity, the mil­i­tary bases are the form of mod­ern day colo­nial­ism that af­fords a means to Wash­ing­ton to pro­tect its in­ter­ests while dic­tat­ing terms to oth­ers. Given the growing anger and anti Amer­i­can sen­ti­ments, the US ad­min­is­tra­tion must start see­ing the writ­ing on wall and do away with mil­i­tary tac­tics, if it is re­ally in­ter­ested to see this world a cra­dle of peace.

THE Bri­tish peo­ple will vote in a ref­er­en­dum on June 23, 2016 whether Bri­tain re­mains in the Euro­pean Union (EU) or leaves it. Dubbed as “Brexit” (stand­ing for Bri­tain and exit), a neg­a­tive vote on con­tin­ued EU mem­ber­ship will re­sult in far-reach­ing con­se­quences not only for Bri­tain but also for Europe and the world. Bri­tish mem­ber­ship of EU, for­merly known as EC or the Euro­pean Com­mu­nity, and pre­vi­ously as EEC or Euro­pean Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity, aka Com­mon Mar­ket) has had a very topsy-turvy his­tory. Bri­tain had stood aloof from the early moves to­wards Euro­pean in­te­gra­tion af­ter the World War-II.

Bri­tish na­tion­al­ism, and an in­abil­ity to grasp post-WW-II re­al­i­ties, kept Bri­tain away from the new Europe where France and Ger­many, the old en­e­mies, had de­cided to bury the hatchet. They be­came the main driv­ing force be­hind in­te­gra­tion. It took Bri­tain some years to com­pre­hend that it had been greatly en­fee­bled by WW II and two Su­per Pow­ers (USA and Soviet Union) had eclipsed Bri­tish power. When Euro­pean in­te­gra­tion be­gan to pro­duce re­sults, Bri­tain de­cided to ap­ply for mem­ber­ship in 1961 but it was blocked by French Pres­i­dent Charles de Gaulle, who viewed Bri­tain as a Tro­jan horse for US in­flu­ence in Europe. Af­ter the de­par­ture of de Gaulle in 1969, Bri­tain re­newed its bid for mem­ber­ship and af­ter pro­longed ne­go­ti­a­tions, it en­tered the EU in 1973. Bri­tish en­try


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