Amer­i­can em­pire most pow­er­ful in world his­tory

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Harold Pease, Ph.D

As a col­lege pro­fes­sor for more than 40 years spe­cial­iz­ing in the Con­sti­tu­tion and cur­rent events, I have been deeply trou­bled by our na­tion’s ten­dency to be­come eas­ily in­volved in the prob­lems of other na­tions and, once mil­i­tar­ily in­volved, we sel­dom leave. For years, I pre­sented stu­dents a handout pub­lished by U.S. News and World Re­port, Jan. 19, 1998, show­ing a mil­i­tary pres­ence in 31 for­eign coun­tries, 53 years af­ter World War II. These in­cluded Ger­many (65,080), Japan (41,460), Italy (11,785) and even the United King­dom (11,380).

Un­der the wor­thy goals of stop­ping the spread of so­cial­ism, then drugs, then ter­ror­ism, we seem­ingly in­vited our­selves into ev­ery con­flict. Were glob­al­ists se­cretly us­ing these causes to build an Amer­i­can em­pire? We seemed to have moved from de­fense to of­fense. No em­pire of yes­ter­year con­trolled or in­flu­enced more ter­ri­tory than we do today.

Today Wikipedia doc­u­ments U.S. troops de­ployed in, not 31 coun­tries, but in “more than 150 coun­tries” (The New York Times says 172 — we have “troops in nearly ev­ery coun­try”) around the world with thou­sands of mil­i­tary per­son­nel still in the above-named coun­tries 73 years later. Ap­prox­i­mately a third of our troops serve out­side the U.S. in places most Amer­i­cans have never heard of, such as Aruba, Bahrain, Kenya and Qatar. And we have ap­prox­i­mately 800 mil­i­tary bases en­cir­cling the globe, all in the name of “our” national se­cu­rity.

Amer­i­can sol­diers are in ac­tive com­bat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and are “ac­tively en­gaged” in Ye­men, Niger, So­ma­lia, Jor­dan and Thai­land. “Oth­ers are de­ployed as part of sev­eral peace­keep­ing mis­sions, mil­i­tary at­taches, or are part of em­bassy and con­sulate se­cu­rity. Nearly 40,000 are as­signed to clas­si­fied mis­sions in lo­ca­tions that the U.S. govern­ment re­fuses to dis­close” (“Amer­ica’s For­ever Wars,” New York Times, 23 Oc­to­ber 2017). I have no is­sue with em­bassy and con­sulate se­cu­rity.

We have four new bases in Bul­garia. New bases are also in Camp Bond­steel, Kosovo, from where the U.S. “con­trols all of the Balkans,” and Manas Air Base in Kyr­gys­tan “from where the U.S. con­trols the airspace over Cen­tral Asia and most of the na­tions south of present-day Rus­sia” — all once “mem­ber-states of the old Soviet Union.” And new bases have been pop­ping up through­out Africa.

NASA has huge spy bases in Wai­hopai, New Zealand, and Ger­ald­ton, West­ern Aus­tralia, called the Global Elec­tronic Sur­veil­lance Sys­tem (some­times dubbed Amer­ica’s Se­cret Global Sur­veil­lance Net­work). Thus, these U.S. mil­i­tary bases “serve as sur­veil­lance and data cen­ters” on other coun­tries.

Huge naval bases through­out the world ac­com­mo­date our gi­gan­tic U.S. war­ships such as at Changi Naval Sta­tion in Sin­ga­pore. The U.S. Navy also has float­ing mil­i­tary bases called air­craft car­ri­ers that can be po­si­tioned any­where on the seven oceans. These are known for their in­cred­i­ble strike ca­pa­bil­i­ties, whether by planes drop­ping bombs in any di­rec­tion hun­dreds of miles away or by launch­ing cruise mis­siles such as the Tom­a­hawk. Then there are su­per-car­ri­ers, of which we have 12; no other na­tion has “su­pers.” The USS Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton can carry more than 6,000 sailors (a float­ing fortress), 70 war­planes and “4 mil­lion pounds of bombs” (Cora Fabros, “Bases of Em­pire — The Global Spread of U.S. Mil­i­tary and In­tel­li­gence Bases, Nov. 2008).

Bases dif­fer in size. Some are city-size as is Ram­stein Air Base in Ger­many, or Kadena Air Base in Ok­i­nawa or Diego Gar­cia in the In­dian Ocean. Oth­ers, called “lily pads,” are much smaller and house “drones, sur­veil­lance air­craft or pre-po­si­tioned weaponry and sup­plies.” But all have some in­flu­ence over the host na­tion (David Vine, “The United States Prob­a­bly has more For­eign Mil­i­tary Bases than any Other Peo­ple, Na­tion or Em­pire in His­tory,” Septem­ber 14, 2015).

Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Bush best epit­o­mized the glob­al­ist phi­los­o­phy of mil­i­tary ex­pan­sion when he wrote: “To con­tend with un­cer­tainty and to meet the many se­cu­rity chal­lenges we face, the United States will re­quire bases and sta­tions within and be­yond West­ern Europe and North­east Asia, as well as tem­po­rary ac­cess ar­range­ments for the longdis­tance de­ploy­ment of U.S. forces” (Ge­orge Bush, National Se­cu­rity Strat­egy,

2002) Un­for­tu­nately, this is the same doc­trine his­tor­i­cally ad­vo­cated by other em­pire builders, even Stalin and Hitler. When is enough, enough?

But two pres­i­dents be­fore him saw it dif­fer­ently. Iron­i­cally, each ex­pressed such in farewell ad­dresses just be­fore leav­ing of­fice. Dwight D. Eisen­hower warned of the devel­op­ment of a “mil­i­tary-in­dus­trial-con­gres­sional com­plex,” a marriage feed­ing these en­ti­ties, which is pre­cisely what we have just de­scribed. Call it glob­al­ism. Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton warned of the debt that could de­stroy the U.S. were we not to use “time of peace, to dis­charge the debts which un­avoid­able wars may have oc­ca­sioned.” Un­avoid­able wars? We seek war!

U.S. bases within a coun­try in­fer the host coun­try’s loss of ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty with­out for­mal po­lit­i­cal con­trol, as was the old way of gov­ern­ing empires. It is a form of im­pe­ri­al­ism — even colo­nial­ism. The mere pres­ence of mil­i­tary bases in­tim­i­dates the host coun­try and gives co­er­cive power to the United States, en­abling it to gain con­ces­sions from its host, even to in­ter­fere in do­mes­tic con­cerns. Some of us do not want our mil­i­tary to po­lice the world, or our in­dus­tri­al­ists to gov­ern it, or the crip­pling debt that ac­com­pa­nies it.

We would see things very dif­fer­ently if China or Rus­sia had mil­i­tary bases in the United States or even Mex­ico. John F. Kennedy al­most went to war with the U.S.S.R. when it sought to place nu­clear mis­siles in Cuba.

Harold W. Pease, Ph.D., is a syn­di­cated colum­nist and an ex­pert on the United States Con­sti­tu­tion. He has ded­i­cated his ca­reer to study­ing the writ­ings of the Found­ing Fa­thers and ap­ply­ing that knowl­edge to cur­rent events. He taught his­tory and po­lit­i­cal science from this per­spec­tive for more than 30 years at Taft Col­lege. To read more of his weekly ar­ti­cles, please visit www.Lib­er­tyUn­

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