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Why are U.S. foreign military bases good/bad?:

 1 Grain, Wed, 16th Feb '11 3:10:40 PM from South Northwest Earth
Only One Avatar
I've occasionally heard that the U.S. has an empire of foreign military bases, and that this is a bad thing. Well, the U.S. must have them for a reason, right?

I'm largely ignorant about the subject, but I know that Tv Tropes has a significant global population, as well as a collection of pro-military people. Can you enlighten me?
 2 Barkey, Wed, 16th Feb '11 3:17:42 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
For the US it's great, it means we have a secure place to put military assets, and a convenient jump-off point for operations in hostile nearby places. For instance, bases in Turkey, Kyrgystan, and Kuwait are a great place to jump off to Iraq or Afghanistan. That's where most of our shit flies in from.

For the country it's good, because military base = thriving economy. Tons of troops will go out and spend fucktons of money in the local economy. It also means that if someone fucks with that country militarily, they fuck with us. So it's assured protection, which is very valuable in a country that has neighbors who might want to fuck them up.

Now the part that's bad.. Well, It can be bad for us, we might end up spending tons of money to pay off the country in question so we can stay, as in the case of Manas AB in Kyrgystan. So the Rent factor is in play. International opinion can be turned against us if one of our guys fucks up and commits a high profile crime or something.

If the country in question doesn't like us.. Well, shit gets difficult. We're willing to do lots of things to keep a foreign base up and running.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 3 Tzetze, Wed, 16th Feb '11 3:23:49 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
DUMB
A couple times, soldiers have committed crimes in the country, and when they're tried it's in a US military tribunal, which locals don't necessarily like.
 4 Barkey, Wed, 16th Feb '11 3:25:42 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Even though US locals don't usually like that either when we do it to misbehaving troops in the US, but tough titty, there's a reason we have our own system of punishments.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
Long Live the King
@Tetze

Well, that's a matter for the Status Of Forces Agreement(SOFA). Korea has a SOFA in place where they get to try crimes committed against Korean nationals, if they wish. So long as they pass the US burden of proof (to get possession of the accused). I believe Japan is similar. Every country the US has a base, the US has a SOFA with said country outlining the "do's and don'ts" of the military personnel and what happens in most every situation.

If civilians don't like the outcome of events... They blame the US but should probably blame their own government for getting shafted in diplomacy.

edited 16th Feb '11 3:29:06 PM by Swish

 6 Barkey, Wed, 16th Feb '11 3:33:11 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
^

Pretty much. Every country has an agreement already in place, the conditions of which depend on what both sides have agreed on, largely influenced by how much we promise to pay them in "rent".
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 7 Deboss, Wed, 16th Feb '11 3:49:45 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
The reason they were created in the first, for the most part, was for staging grounds against the Dirty Communists in the Cold War. Since a full scale conflict with the Soviet Union was inevitable, the US took the stance that having various staging grounds around the world would be crucial in it's fight to rid the world of the red menace.
Unchanging Avatar.
[up] Be fair, it seemed pretty likely at the time.
Except for 4/1/2011. That day lingers in my memory like...metaphor here...I should go.
Always Right
Kinda hard to tell if it really was likely, or just the public and media going overboard with the paranoia...

If my old teacher was correct, some people actually committed suicide due to being accused of being a communist...

Either way, it has it's ups and downs, but having the crimes done by the personels tried under US's system of punishment is a bit of a dickmove no matter how you look at it. Kinda gives an air of arrogance and elitism  *, whether it's intended to or not is another matter.

Plus since the Cold War is over, it's hard to tell if there is any reason to have some of the military bases anymore.

edited 16th Feb '11 9:59:06 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
^^Also, they started it, we only did it to keep up with the Joneses. Now that that's been done with for a couple of decades, the $533.8 billion we're spending on it every year is a tad redundant. A lot of people say we can't touch our base network any further without harming force projection ability, but that's not true for the very reason Deboss noted.

Looking over this document (1.1MB PDF) the vast majority of foreign bases are located in what are now peaceful 1st world regions with large domestic militaries of their own, such as western Europe. Of course, only 12.8% of bases are foreign, the remaining 87.1% are domestic, and seeing as how it's rather unlikely we'll be invaded in the foreseeable future, nearly all of these can be shut down with no influence on force projection.

Eric,

Always Right
Something tells me that any politician who will even mention or just hint at closing them down will just be committing political suicide though.

Stupid...stupid...stupid politics.

edited 16th Feb '11 10:58:50 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
 12 Blue Ninja 0, Thu, 17th Feb '11 4:06:41 AM from The Middle of Nowhere Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
Slowly dying on the inside
soldiers have committed crimes in the country, and when they're tried it's in a US military tribunal, which locals don't necessarily like. - Tzetze
Not neccessarily - in some countries (like Japan), even though there's a SOFA, the military will allow servicemembers who commit really horrific crimes (murder, child rape, etc) to be tried in the host country's legal system. Then there's some countries (like Singapore) where there is no SOFA agreement, so if the local police catch you, you're getting tried under their laws whether the US military likes it or not.

very country the US has a base, the US has a SOFA with said country - Swish
Most of them, not all - or at least the rules are differnt for personnel stationed there vs personnel visiting.
Once the avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to cast their vote. - Ambassador Kosh
 13 Mark Von Lewis, Thu, 17th Feb '11 4:15:00 AM from Somewhere in Time Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
KCCO
I think one reason to keep the foreign bases is worst case scenario and an ally/nation we're on friendly terms with is attacked it gives us better reaction time to come to the defense of said nation.

While most 1st world nations can properly fuck up invaders, it's always better to have help in a fight than to go it alone I say.
There is no Zuul, there is only the Bear Jew.
Also, as far as I'm aware the US is the only country with so much bases all around the world - and alot of them so far from home that they can't be for defending the country. It just conveys the image of an US "world police" which thinks it has the right to interfer in business of other disregarding the international opinions on it and of the states involved. A significant amount of non-Americans have some issues with it - even when they agree that an intervention was necessary they might have wished the US would have not assumed they had the authority to make the decission alone. It's one of the major factor for unsavory opinions about the US in Europe, I think.
To emphasize the point, can you imagine another country etablishing so many bases so far away? Imagine China, Russia or Germany was doing the same thing and think how you would react to that. The US gains some protection from the superpower status. They certainly don't, at least in the Western world.
[up] In this case, would the country in question like to have the help? And at least in Europe there're enough neighbours to help each other out in less time and with more power, I imagine.

edited 17th Feb '11 4:30:09 AM by myrdschaem

 15 pagad, Thu, 17th Feb '11 4:44:47 AM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
In Britain the general perception is that we're being treated as Airstrip One or the world's most unsinkable aircraft carrier and have been since the Second World War, so some resentment stems from that. Unfortunately it very easily goes hand in hand with the perception that we're America's poodle and the fact that the Iraqi war was very unpopular, deepening the resentment even more.

It's not really directed towards the troops stationed here, though, more against the US and British governments.
 16 Silent Reverence, Thu, 17th Feb '11 4:59:41 AM from 3 tiles right 1 tile up
adopting kitteh
Of course, all that about having "US protection" sounds fine and dandy assuming that because you have an US base in your soil they are going to help you. The sad truth is, they have likely already infected your law system with weird trade and DMCA shit, next up probably being ACTA to say the least. That doesn't sound like "protection". If anything, with the current state of the world, it is more likely they will be the attackers; no other country would have such oportunity and ability to launch an attack from anywhere, nor would a motive, after all we all know that when the US decides to "liberate" a country, it is mostly because they are in need of a beauty treatment in the political image, or more likely, dominant access to very particular resources such as oil.

I mean, some of the bases are in such particular places as Colombia, Greece and Japan.

[up]Surprisingly, the base in Japan has a reason. 1) Strategic point for North Korea 2) part of the WWII rehabilation program. I can understand the justification in this case consindering 2 but I heard there was a lot of trouble about rape etc. in the same base...

Japan is not allowed really allowed to keep much of a military as part of their constitution (...that we wrote for them), so America is obligated to serve in Japan's defence in case they are ever attacked.

bitchy queen
I don't know if military bases in other countries is a good or bad thing. I can definitely see the benefits, but the image many people have of the U.S. as a "world police" makes me uneasy.
"Without a fairy, you're not even a real man!" ~ Mido from Ocarina of Time

 20 Barkey, Thu, 17th Feb '11 6:44:11 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
likely already infected your law system with weird trade and DMCA shit

What are you even talking about? What does that have to do with a military base?

And we don't have a base in Colombia, we might have had some dinky little air station at one point, but nothing that's legitly on the map. Our trips that we do take down there are all at civilian airports. My base goes to South America a ton, no US bases there.

edited 17th Feb '11 6:44:42 AM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
[up] I think it was implied that trade agreements are the way of payment/coercion for letting the US build a base in a country. If true or not I don't know.

We're hardly the only G8 country guilty of peddling GAT's trade liberalism garbage, and in fact some of it was imposed on US by other nations.

Roman: Japan is not allowed really allowed to keep much of a military as part of their constitution
AHAHAHA… Oh my, constitution aside, Japan has one of the biggest militaries on the planet. That said, they aren't really capable of singlehandedly intimidating China, North Korea, Russia, and Vietnam into behaving, so they act as something of a staging area for us much as Britain did in WWII.

Eric,

 23 Silent Reverence, Thu, 17th Feb '11 8:23:36 AM from 3 tiles right 1 tile up
adopting kitteh
Barkey: what? Serious? My records count Colombia as "country with a US military base" and I recall the President admitting early in 2010 that it was (paraphrasing) "a good thing that we have the US inside our borders". Something about the Chavez situation.

As for the Japan base, that's precisely what I'm talking about, although I do understand the commercial and culture benefits there. It is its position relative to China (considering that there are also US bases in the Philipines) what worries me. Also, rape? What a surprise...

↑Well, for a very recent example the "Sinde Law", the equivalent to the MAFIAA's "we close your webpage if we don't like it" law in Spain, was approved very recently. Same law that Anonymous revealed the S Panish parties were agreeing to mostly to avoid being listed in the US's list of "countries who don't fight piracy the way we like it" or Code 301 I think... whiich happened last week anyway.

edited 17th Feb '11 8:26:39 AM by SilentReverence

 24 Barkey, Thu, 17th Feb '11 11:15:40 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
^

I just discussed this topic with a friend of mine who's been all over the place as a Raven, and he said there's at least one place he knows of, though he told me the name and I've never heard of it, and can't pull it up on any sort of search, so... Yeah.

United States law allows up to 500 US military personnel and 300 civilian contract personnel to be deployed in Colombia at any given time. According to US officials, as of late 2002 there were on average about 120 American pilots and other private contractors in Colombia's anti-narcotics program at any one time. They provide counterinsurgency instruction, maintain listening outposts, or monitor air traffic from any of five US-built rural radar stations, among various other tasks. American personnel serve as liaison officers at the Colombian Joint Intelligence Center in the southern base of Tres Esquinas, which the US helped set up.

Military personnel also are deployed in Peru at three U.S.-built radar stations, in addition to hundreds of troops helping to refurbish an air base in Manta, Ecuador, and to construct several military bases in Bolivia. The United States also runs military surveillance flights from the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Curacao. No information is available about the number of CIA and other intelligence personnel operating in the region.

Ecuador seems to have moved into the fore-front of integrated US military planning and operations. New facilities have been established at the port city of Manta, Special Force units from the US Southern Command operate alongside some 5, 000 Ecuadorian troops of the 19th Napo and 21st Condor Jungle Infantry Brigades on the borders of Colombia, while other specialist US forces operate radar stations tracking the drug-cartel's aircraft and man secret listening posts on behalf of the NSA to monitor communications.

The US military mission occupies a small building on the sprawling Fuerte Tiuna military base, Venezuela's Pentagon. In August 2001, the Venezuelan armed forces announced that the mission would be shut down. The government said it needed the office space, but observers here took it as a clear sign that Chavez wanted to distance his generals from their American allies.

Seems like mostly joint bases are what we operate out there, with the exception of a few small bases like Soto Cano, Comalapa, Curacao, Howard, Manta, and Tres Esquinas. Those are all pretty small.

edited 17th Feb '11 11:17:56 AM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 25 Kino, Thu, 17th Feb '11 3:24:51 PM from NC/NYC Relationship Status: 700 wives and 300 concubines
Connoisseur of redheads
As someone who spent the majority of his life moving from bases to base, I can tell you they're awesome; great way to put your passport to good use. It's been mentioned earlier, we get a staging area, and the host nation gets money and protection; for the most part it's a good setup.

If we were really an empire we'd put some bases on Fiji.waii
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