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Thread: 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

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    737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

    The following is excerpted from Chalmers Johnson's new book, "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic" (Metropolitan Books).

    Once upon a time, you could trace the spread of imperialism by counting up colonies. America's version of the colony is the military base; and by following the changing politics of global basing, one can learn much about our ever more all-encompassing imperial "footprint" and the militarism that grows with it.

    It is not easy, however, to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records available to the public on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department's annual inventories from 2002 to 2005 of real property it owns around the world, the Base Structure Report, there has been an immense churning in the numbers of installations.

    The total of America's military bases in other people's countries in 2005, according to official sources, was 737. Reflecting massive deployments to Iraq and the pursuit of President Bush's strategy of preemptive war, the trend line for numbers of overseas bases continues to go up.

    Interestingly enough, the thirty-eight large and medium-sized American facilities spread around the globe in 2005 -- mostly air and naval bases for our bombers and fleets -- almost exactly equals Britain's thirty-six naval bases and army garrisons at its imperial zenith in 1898. The Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD required thirty-seven major bases to police its realm from Britannia to Egypt, from Hispania to Armenia. Perhaps the optimum number of major citadels and fortresses for an imperialist aspiring to dominate the world is somewhere between thirty-five and forty.

    Using data from fiscal year 2005, the Pentagon bureaucrats calculated that its overseas bases were worth at least $127 billion -- surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic products of most countries -- and an estimated $658.1 billion for all of them, foreign and domestic (a base's "worth" is based on a Department of Defense estimate of what it would cost to replace it). During fiscal 2005, the military high command deployed to our overseas bases some 196,975 uniformed personnel as well as an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employed an additional 81,425 locally hired foreigners.

    The worldwide total of U.S. military personnel in 2005, including those based domestically, was 1,840,062 supported by an additional 473,306 Defense Department civil service employees and 203,328 local hires. Its overseas bases, according to the Pentagon, contained 32,327 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and 16,527 more that it leased. The size of these holdings was recorded in the inventory as covering 687,347 acres overseas and 29,819,492 acres worldwide, making the Pentagon easily one of the world's largest landlords.

    These numbers, although staggeringly big, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally. The 2005 Base Structure Report fails, for instance, to mention any garrisons in Kosovo (or Serbia, of which Kosovo is still officially a province) -- even though it is the site of the huge Camp Bondsteel built in 1999 and maintained ever since by the KBR corporation (formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root), a subsidiary of the Halliburton Corporation of Houston.

    The report similarly omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq (106 garrisons as of May 2005), Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan, even though the U.S. military has established colossal base structures in the Persian Gulf and Central Asian areas since 9/11. By way of excuse, a note in the preface says that "facilities provided by other nations at foreign locations" are not included, although this is not strictly true. The report does include twenty sites in Turkey, all owned by the Turkish government and used jointly with the Americans. The Pentagon continues to omit from its accounts most of the $5 billion worth of military and espionage installations in Britain, which have long been conveniently disguised as Royal Air Force bases. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1,000 different bases overseas, but no one -- possibly not even the Pentagon -- knows the exact number for sure.

    In some cases, foreign countries themselves have tried to keep their U.S. bases secret, fearing embarrassment if their collusion with American imperialism were revealed. In other instances, the Pentagon seems to want to play down the building of facilities aimed at dominating energy sources, or, in a related situation, retaining a network of bases that would keep Iraq under our hegemony regardless of the wishes of any future Iraqi government. The U.S. government tries not to divulge any information about the bases we use to eavesdrop on global communications, or our nuclear deployments, which, as William Arkin, an authority on the subject, writes, "[have] violated its treaty obligations. The U.S. was lying to many of its closest allies, even in NATO, about its nuclear designs. Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, hundreds of bases, and dozens of ships and submarines existed in a special secret world of their own with no rational military or even 'deterrence' justification."

    In Jordan, to take but one example, we have secretly deployed up to five thousand troops in bases on the Iraqi and Syrian borders. (Jordan has also cooperated with the CIA in torturing prisoners we deliver to them for "interrogation.") Nonetheless, Jordan continues to stress that it has no special arrangements with the United States, no bases, and no American military presence.

    The country is formally sovereign but actually a satellite of the United States and has been so for at least the past ten years. Similarly, before our withdrawal from Saudi Arabia in 2003, we habitually denied that we maintained a fleet of enormous and easily observed B-52 bombers in Jeddah because that was what the Saudi government demanded. So long as military bureaucrats can continue to enforce a culture of secrecy to protect themselves, no one will know the true size of our baseworld, least of all the elected representatives of the American people.

    In 2005, deployments at home and abroad were in a state of considerable flux. This was said to be caused both by a long overdue change in the strategy for maintaining our global dominance and by the closing of surplus bases at home. In reality, many of the changes seemed to be determined largely by the Bush administration's urge to punish nations and domestic states that had not supported its efforts in Iraq and to reward those that had. Thus, within the United States, bases were being relocated to the South, to states with cultures, as the Christian Science Monitor put it, "more tied to martial traditions" than the Northeast, the northern Middle West, or the Pacific Coast. According to a North Carolina businessman gloating over his new customers, "The military is going where it is wanted and valued most."

    In part, the realignment revolved around the Pentagon's decision to bring home by 2007 or 2008 two army divisions from Germany -- the First Armored Division and the First Infantry Division -- and one brigade (3,500 men) of the Second Infantry Division from South Korea (which, in 2005, was officially rehoused at Fort Carson, Colorado). So long as the Iraq insurgency continues, the forces involved are mostly overseas and the facilities at home are not ready for them (nor is there enough money budgeted to get them ready).

    Nonetheless, sooner or later, up to 70,000 troops and 100,000 family members will have to be accommodated within the United States. The attendant 2005 "base closings" in the United States are actually a base consolidation and enlargement program with tremendous infusions of money and customers going to a few selected hub areas. At the same time, what sounds like a retrenchment in the empire abroad is really proving to be an exponential growth in new types of bases -- without dependents and the amenities they would require -- in very remote areas where the U.S. military has never been before.

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was obvious to anyone who thought about it that the huge concentrations of American military might in Germany, Italy, Japan, and South Korea were no longer needed to meet possible military threats. There were not going to be future wars with the Soviet Union or any country connected to any of those places.

    In 1991, the first Bush administration should have begun decommissioning or redeploying redundant forces; and, in fact, the Clinton administration did close some bases in Germany, such as those protecting the Fulda Gap, once envisioned as the likeliest route for a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. But nothing was really done in those years to plan for the strategic repositioning of the American military outside the United States.

    By the end of the 1990s, the neoconservatives were developing their grandiose theories to promote overt imperialism by the "lone superpower" -- including preventive and preemptive unilateral military action, spreading democracy abroad at the point of a gun, obstructing the rise of any "near-peer" country or bloc of countries that might challenge U.S. military supremacy, and a vision of a "democratic" Middle East that would supply us with all the oil we wanted. A component of their grand design was a redeployment and streamlining of the military. The initial rationale was for a program of transformation that would turn the armed forces into a lighter, more agile, more high-tech military, which, it was imagined, would free up funds that could be invested in imperial policing.

    What came to be known as "defense transformation" first began to be publicly bandied about during the 2000 presidential election campaign. Then 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq intervened. In August 2002, when the whole neocon program began to be put into action, it centered above all on a quick, easy war to incorporate Iraq into the empire.

    By this time, civilian leaders in the Pentagon had become dangerously overconfident because of what they perceived as America's military brilliance and invincibility as demonstrated in its 2001 campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda -- a strategy that involved reigniting the Afghan civil war through huge payoffs to Afghanistan's Northern Alliance warlords and the massive use of American airpower to support their advance on Kabul.
    In August 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld unveiled his "1-4-2-1 defense strategy" to replace the Clinton era's plan for having a military capable of fighting two wars -- in the Middle East and Northeast Asia -- simultaneously. Now, war planners were to prepare to defend the United States while building and assembling forces capable of "deterring aggression and coercion" in four "critical regions": Europe, Northeast Asia (South Korea and Japan), East Asia (the Taiwan Strait), and the Middle East, be able to defeat aggression in two of these regions simultaneously, and "win decisively" (in the sense of "regime change" and occupation) in one of those conflicts "at a time and place of our choosing."As the military analyst William M. Arkin commented, "[With] American military forces ... already stretched to the limit, the new strategy goes far beyond preparing for reactive contingencies and reads more like a plan for picking fights in new parts of the world."

    A seemingly easy three-week victory over Saddam Hussein's forces in the spring of 2003 only reconfirmed these plans. The U.S. military was now thought to be so magnificent that it could accomplish any task assigned to it. The collapse of the Baathist regime in Baghdad also emboldened Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to use "transformation" to penalize nations that had been, at best, lukewarm about America's unilateralism -- Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Turkey -- and to reward those whose leaders had welcomed Operation Iraqi Freedom, including such old allies as Japan and Italy but also former communist countries such as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The result was the Department of Defense's Integrated Global Presence and Basing Strategy, known informally as the "Global Posture Review."

    President Bush first mentioned it in a statement on November 21, 2003, in which he pledged to "realign the global posture" of the United States. He reiterated the phrase and elaborated on it on August 16, 2004, in a speech to the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cincinnati. Because Bush's Cincinnati address was part of the 2004 presidential election campaign, his comments were not taken very seriously at the time. While he did say that the United States would reduce its troop strength in Europe and Asia by 60,000 to 70,000, he assured his listeners that this would take a decade to accomplish -- well beyond his term in office -- and made a series of promises that sounded more like a reenlistment pitch than a statement of strategy.

    "Over the coming decade, we'll deploy a more agile and more flexible force, which means that more of our troops will be stationed and deployed from here at home. We'll move some of our troops and capabilities to new locations, so they can surge quickly to deal with unexpected threats. ... It will reduce the stress on our troops and our military families. ... See, our service members will have more time on the home front, and more predictability and fewer moves over a career. Our military spouses will have fewer job changes, greater stability, more time for their kids and to spend with their families at home."

    On September 23, 2004, however, Secretary Rumsfeld disclosed the first concrete details of the plan to the Senate Armed Services Committee. With characteristic grandiosity, he described it as "the biggest re-structuring of America's global forces since 1945." Quoting then undersecretary Douglas Feith, he added, "During the Cold War we had a strong sense that we knew where the major risks and fights were going to be, so we could deploy people right there. We're operating now [with] an entirely different concept. We need to be able to do [the] whole range of military operations, from combat to peacekeeping, anywhere in the world pretty quickly."

    Though this may sound plausible enough, in basing terms it opens up a vast landscape of diplomatic and bureaucratic minefields that Rumsfeld's militarists surely underestimated. In order to expand into new areas, the Departments of State and Defense must negotiate with the host countries such things as Status of Forces Agreements, or SOFAs, which are discussed in detail in the next chapter. In addition, they must conclude many other required protocols, such as access rights for our aircraft and ships into foreign territory and airspace, and Article 98 Agreements. The latter refer to article 98 of the International Criminal Court's Rome Statute, which allows countries to exempt U.S. citizens on their territory from the ICC's jurisdiction.

    Such immunity agreements were congressionally mandated by the American Service-Members' Protection Act of 2002, even though the European Union holds that they are illegal. Still other necessary accords are acquisitions and cross-servicing agreements or ACSAs, which concern the supply and storage of jet fuel, ammunition, and so forth; terms of leases on real property; levels of bilateral political and economic aid to the United States (so-called host-nation support); training and exercise arrangements (Are night landings allowed? Live firing drills?); and environmental pollution liabilities.

    When the United States is not present in a country as its conqueror or military "savior", as it was in Germany, Japan, and Italy after World War II and in South Korea after the 1953 Korean War armistice, it is much more difficult to secure the kinds of agreements that allow the Pentagon to do anything it wants and that cause a host nation to pick up a large part of the costs of doing so. When not based on conquest, the structure of the American empire of bases comes to look exceedingly fragile.


    Chalmers Johnson is president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, a non-profit research and public affairs organization devoted to public education concerning Japan and international relations in the Pacific.

    Source: AlterNet


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    Re: 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

    I actually saw this book at a Barnes and Noble and totally agreed with it. I didn't have enough money to buy it though. I remember my 8th grade final paper was on how the United States was imperialist and continuing to do so.

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    Re: 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

    I think it is wrong for one nation to garrison the entire planet, and I also feel sorry for American taxpayers who foot the cost.

    These bases are against the founding principles of the US, where the watchword was non-interventionism. The military - any military - should exist to only defend the home territory, not to protect commercial interests (IOW taxpayers funding corporate security), not to replace dictators, fight communism or fight Islam.

    American presence in these countries increases the dependency of those regimes upon the United States. F.e. when the Americans threatened to remove troops from Germany (hence damaging the German economy) as punishment for opposing the Iraq war. Not only this, but a vicious cycle can develop when a regime becomes associated with the US "invaders", and so the regime relies on American security even more.

    To say nothing of off-base incidents with local women or property owners which increase hatred of Americans.

    Also worth mentioning that the British military is effectively an unofficial extension of the US military, all the way from intelligence sharing down to US use of British bases at Gibraltar and Diego Garcia. This is not the good type of English-speaking co-operation.

  4. #4

    Re: 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

    This opinion piece dates back to January 26, 2007, but it remains relevant to today's thread:

    The Pentagon hunkers down in Africa

    Charles Cobb Jnr

    26 January 2007 09:18

    The stance of the United States with respect to the rest of the world has changed radically under the “conservative” administration of George W Bush. The latest indication of the militarisation that is at the forefront of this shift came on December 13, when then-defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that within “one to two months” the US military would establish an African Command -- adding a sixth region to the existing five US geographic combat commands.

    In the thinking of Pentagon and White House officials, the world today is too dangerous a place not to be policed by Washington. And given this notion -- viewed by Bush administration decision-makers as an urgent global political necessity -- there are not enough American policemen (indeed, there can never be enough). So a restructuring of the capacity for force and violence has been under way for the past seven years.

    One of the important shifts within this process is abandonment of the post-World War II idea that the US and Europe are co-equal partners in military matters. Rumsfeld “had a certain contempt for the Europeans,” the International Herald Tribune recently quoted Jens van Scherpenberg, an expert on trans-Atlantic relations at Berlin’s German Institute for International and Security Affairs, as saying.

    In Rumsfeld’s view -- and despite his politically expedient departure, the administration continues to believe -- the US government requires a second tier of more pliable allies accepting of American leadership. A quick sense of this thinking can be gained by observing who is allied with the US in Iraq. The United Kingdom’s support notwithstanding, Western Europe in general and France in particular have been, to put it mildly, cool toward this US effort. In the admini-stration’s view, they are unreliable.

    Back in 2003, Rumsfeld performed the remarkable feat of unifying France and Germany, angering both continental powers when he said they were part of an unrepresentative “old Europe”. The Bush admini-stration counts heavily on the “new Europe” of former Soviet satellites for support of its Iraq mission.

    The White House is also counting on a “new Africa”. The establishment of “Africom,” as the Pentagon and state department are already calling it, is being driven by two main strategic concerns: first, the growing demand for African oil and gas (Africa is expected to be supplying 25% of US hydrocarbon imports by 2015) and the vulnerability of those supplies, concentrated as they are in some of Africa’s most unstable states; and second, the perceived danger of Islamic radicals.

    The top brass have concluded that the old Nato concerns are outdated: in the 21st century, threats will come from the South and East.

    The location of the Africa Command is “still in the planning process”, says Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, as is the timing of its launch. State department personnel have also been deeply involved in planning for Africom, and the European Command’s Deputy Commander, General William E (Kip) Ward heads the list of possible commanders.

    The five existing commands -- which in their areas of military responsibility cover the globe -- are the Northern Command, based in Colorado; the Pacific Command, based in Hawaii; the Central Command, based in Florida; the European Command, based in Germany; and the Southern Command, also based in Florida.

    It’s easy enough to see that having one command for Africa makes for a certain logistical coherency. Currently, three of the commands share responsibility for the continent.

    Discussion of the need for an Africa Command began long before the Bush administration -- Bill Clinton’s military people talked about it too. But the question is whether this development will be a good thing for the continent.

    I think not.

    First, without significant and protective checks and balances, excessive “security” tends to erode, if not crush, civil liberties, and those governments on the continent that already show little inclination to support democratic freedoms will almost certainly use “security” as an excuse to clamp down on things they don’t like. This is already happening in the US, where despite checks and balances there is a steady erosion of constitutional rights in the name of “homeland security”.

    A second and related point is that no other command will be as politically defined. None of the five other military commands will require as much, or as direct, intervention in the political affairs of their region. We already see this in Somalia, where US strategic concerns trump local needs. US money helped prop up the warlords, enabling them to continue the chaos that keeps that tragic nation trapped in failure as a state, even though the transitional government the warlords are part of was trying to install itself in Mogadishu. The US needed the warlords to help fight Islamic “terrorists”. Never mind that those warlord militias were terrorising Somalis.

    A few years ago, this was played out in a different way in the effort to crush Algeria’s Islamist rebel organisation, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. A chase across the Sahara in 2004 involving US, Algerian, Malian and Chadian soldiers resulted in a huge swathe of the Sahara-Sahel today being described as an anti- terror front aimed at al-Qaeda. In the future, Africom would be involved in such an operation. The problem is that the Salafist Group has little to do with al-Qaeda and a great deal to do with trying to topple the Algerian regime in order to set up an Islamist state -- a local matter from my viewpoint, although I personally would not like to see the Algerian government toppled, nor am I in favour of religious states. Still, you cannot say that if a state is Islamist, it is by definition, “terrorist”. And US soldiers certainly don’t belong on the ground in local conflicts.

    After years of reporting, the cynic in me concludes that there is no more dangerous combination than foreign-backed military power and foreign alignment with the political goals of local regimes. You can always count on the worst oppression rising to the surface as the norm in the name of security and stability.

    And that leads to the final reason for looking with suspicion at Africom. Ultimately, it simply does not seem to serve genuine US interests in Africa: fostering economic growth, fighting chronic disease, conveying the idea that military muscle and the willingness to use it ruthlessly is not a path to stability.

    All these will surely be reduced to rhetoric about what needs to be done after Africa is “secure”.

    Charles Cobb Jnr is senior correspondent for allAfrica.com. His book Civil Rights Trail: A Movement Veteran’s Travel Guide and Narrative, will be published in December
    Source

  5. #5

    Re: 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

    Africa and the 'war on terror'

    Virginia Tilley: COMMENT

    07 March 2007 11:59

    The Bush administration is signalling yet another war, issuing dark warnings of an Iranian nuclear threat and crying foul over the alleged presence of Iranian weaponry in Iraq.

    Washington has backed this alarmist diplomacy by transferring the USS Enterprise, USS Stennis and USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier groups to the Persian Gulf region. Carrying squadrons of F-14s, Hornets, Prowlers, Vikings, Hawkeyes and Sea Hawks, each carrier is escorted by an entourage of guided-missile destroyers, frigates, fast combat-support ships and submarine escorts. The fleet includes the expeditionary strike group 5 and 2 200 marine special operations expeditionary forces, who are not sailors, but tactical invasion troops.

    The only conceivable target of this massive deployment is Iran.

    While many people believe a United States attack on Iran would be financially and politically impossible, the “neo-conservatives” have so far proved impressively immune to realist logic. But perhaps they have found a way to get around these obstacles. One possible scenario in the coming months includes an initial assault on Iran by Israel.

    Israeli jets have been flying practice bombing runs on mock-ups of Iran’s Natanz reactor for the past year and the Israeli government is reportedly now arranging for clear passage through Iraqi airspace. If the plan is for Israel to strike Iran, the US fleet is being positioned to protect Israel from counterattack. Continued US congressional support for a new war in the Middle East is virtually assured once it becomes a mission to “protect Israel”.

    Yet a US attack on Iran would unleash violence on a scale that would plunge the entire region into a security crisis, with widespread international ramifications. How should South Africa respond to this new stage of the “war on terror”?

    The African Union (AU) and South Africa itself have already been drawn incrementally into Washington’s wake. Compliant counter-terrorism laws have been passed. AU forces are moving into Somalia, which voices in the US media opine is “the new front in the war on terror”. The announcement of the new US central command for the continent, Africom, suggests that more insistent American demands for military and intelligence cooperation will soon be heard in more African capitals.

    Some analysts, such as Greg Mills, laud greater US military involvement in Africa. In a recent essay in a business newspaper, Mills welcomed Afri-com’s role, citing approvingly General James Jones of the US European command, who said: “the breeding grounds of terrorism and illicit activity on the continent of Africa require our attention.” Mills suggested that, by “building local security capacity”, Africom will even “improve the interface between those government departments concerned with development, health, the creation of viable economies and the military”.

    Mills should pay more attention to the range of expert voices now deploring the results of US military policy. In recent testimony before the US Congress, for example, Cold War mandarin Zbigniew Brzezinski not only called the occupation of Iraq “a historic, strategic and moral calamity”, but condemned the Bush administration’s entire foreign policy for its “Manichean principles and imperial hubris” and “simplistic and demagogic” Islamophobia that is “intensifying regional instability”. Similar denunciations now pervade the US media.

    We know that the “war on terror” has shattered international law. According to the Bush administration, pre-emptive strikes can now be launched on accusations that a country’s rulers merely want weapons of mass destruction, whether or not such weapons are being built. The “war” also has alarming effects on civil liberties. White House edicts have authorised illegal surveillance of US citizens’ private communications, arrest on secret evidence, indefinite detention without trial, torture and assassination.

    This approach does not solve conflicts — it breeds them. In its main laboratory of Iraq, the “war on terror” has killed hundreds of thousands of people, brought the economy to collapse, inspired sectarian civil war and triggered the world’s greatest refugee flow since 1948. In its other major target, Afghanistan, international forces are scrambling to contain a Taliban/Pashtun resurgence.

    Will stepped-up collaboration with such policies bring greater security to Africa? Where is all this heading?

    Perhaps Somalia is a good test case. An unrepresentative government is installed and made dependent on continuous supplies of US funds and arms. A proxy force (Ethiopia) is authorised to expel the Islamic opposition (the only authority that could bring civil order to shattered Mogadishu), which is demonised by unsubstantiated claims that it was hosting al-Qaeda elements. The conflict is “Vietnamised” by foisting its management on to the AU.

    Faced with the return of warlords and anarchy, African states are indeed anxious to contain the damage, if possible. But in the “war on terror”, each security crisis inevitably breeds another and AU interventions must expand accordingly. And Africom will be there to help the US steer their direction.

    Renewed crisis in Somalia and the coming showdown with Iran suggest that the Bush administration’s agenda offers little but mounting expense and new dangers for African security. The urgent question for South Africa is not how to join that war, but how to help protect Africa from it.

    Virginia Tilley is a chief research specialist at the Human Sciences Research Council
    Source

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    AW: 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

    February 07, 2007
    US to Set Up Military HQ for Africa in Germany
    The US has announced plans to set up a new military command headquarters for Africa, reflecting the continent's increasing strategic importance in the war against terror. The HQ will initially be based in Stuttgart, according to media reports.
    With the end of the Cold War, Germany lost much of its strategic importance for the United States military, a development reflected in the ongoing drawdown of US forces from bases here. But Germany hasn't lost all of its significance -- it is still home to the US forces' European headquarters and soon it will also serve as temporary host to the US military command for Africa, Africom.
    "This new command will strengthen our security cooperation with Africa and create new opportunities to bolster the capabilities of our partners in Africa," US President George W. Bush said, announcing the plan on Tuesday. "Africa Command will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy and economic growth in Africa."
    Fear of Islamists
    The move reflects increased US interest in the continent as a result of fears that Islamist militants could find havens in countries with weak governments such as Somalia. US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania were targeted in simultaneous al-Qaida attacks in 1998, killing over 250 people, and US forces recently targeted al-Qaida militants in Somalia with air strikes. Washington is also keen to foster stability on the continent with an eye to Africa's oil reserves which could provide an alternative to Middle Eastern oil.
    The new unit will initially be based in the western German city of Stuttgart, also home to the military's European Command, and it is expected to be in full operation by September 2008. The first members of the team, which will initially comprise around 45 people, began moving into Kelley Barracks last week, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.
    "This command will enable us to have a more effective and integrated approach than the current arrangement of dividing Africa between Central Command and European Command -- an outdated arrangement left over from the Cold War," US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the US Senate's armed services committee.
    However, after two to three years in Stuttgart, the command is expected to move to an as yet undetermined location in Africa. "The goal is for (Africom) to be on the African continent," a military official told the newspaper.
    dgs/reuters
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,464827,00.html

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    Re: 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

    I think the bases are a waste of tax-payers money. The bases did not stop N. Korea to get the bomb, the bases did not stop Ortega to come back, the bases do not stop Pakistan to foment terrorism, the bases do not solve the Palestinian/Israeli problem, let us see how far the bases are successful in stopping Iran from getting the bomb. Nobody is going to attack U.S. in the near future. It is economy which will rank nations in the future. India hopes to do better than U.S. by 2050.

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    AW: Re: 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Aupmanyav View Post
    I think the bases are a waste of tax-payers money.
    On the contrary: the bases are worth their money tenfold.

    Why is the whole world accepting paper dollars as payment for everything? Because the US is respected as the most powerful and potent country in the world. POWER is a mix of several capabilities, one of which - and not the least - is military capability.

    Why you yourself mentioned a few days ago that India has the third biggest army, the forth biggest air force, the fifth biggest navy???

    Think it over - was it just for fun? Or did you want to impress others with your might??

    Why China still can not really match the US, though everybody - incluging US Americans - is impressed by its economic performance? It's simply because the Chinese, at the moment, can not transform their economic power into military strengh so as to transmit their strengh onto the body of others. And they can not do this because they are unable to project the power they may have to remote places.
    The bases did not stop N. Korea to get the bomb,
    This is really childish. US ground forces in South Korea prevented for 62 years the reunification of Korea, and will do so for as long as they stay there.
    the bases did not stop Ortega to come back,
    Ever heard of Panama's Noriega back in 1989?? Ever heard of Grenada in 1983??? They can overthrow Ortega whenever they think.
    the bases do not stop Pakistan to foment terrorism, the bases do not solve the Palestinian/Israeli problem, let us see how far the bases are successful in stopping Iran from getting the bomb.
    Nobody is going to attack U.S. in the near future. It is economy which will rank nations in the future.
    It's economy and military. Linked by superior policy.

    That's so difficult to understand, not only for you, but also for most of the peaceful German citizens.
    India hopes to do better than U.S. by 2050.
    Yes. And if this comes true, I think we will see Indian military bases in Africa.

    BTW: the new African Command is not directed against Iran, and only partly against Islamic terrorism. It is, quite obviously, an antidot against growing Chinese influence in Africa.

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    Re: 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

    Euro is stronger than dollar. Economic situations change. How fast after WWI Germany or Japan became strong? Tomorrow Indian Rupee or Rinminbi could grow strong. I do not say they necessarily will, but they could. America is borrowing very heavily, living on debt. Chinese, Indian, and Russian economic strength is growing. War is hardly an option now.

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