30.06.2016 Author: Martin Berger

US Bases – the Dangerous Weapon of Western-style Democracy


As it has been noted by American analysts, war defines the United States. Even despite the fact that the United States has not officially declared war against any other state since 1942, and the fact that Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in the last decade US troops have invaded the territories of numerous states and have been steadily increasing their presence abroad.

US military expenditures exceed the expenditures of the next nine countries following the US, with 598 billion dollars, 54 per cent of discretionary spending, in fiscal year 2015.

95% of all overseas military installations globally are American, many of them are designed to ensure “protection” from external threats. At the same time, garrisons of these bases themselves create new threats, becoming a primary cause of increased civil discontent, radicalism, wars and instability. The Nation would report:

While there are no freestanding foreign bases permanently located in the United States, there are now around 800 US bases in foreign countries. Seventy years after World War II and 62 years after the Korean War, there are still 174 US “base sites” in Germany, 113 in Japan, and 83 in South Korea, according to the Pentagon. Hundreds more dot the planet inaround 80 countries, including Aruba and Australia, Bahrain and Bulgaria, Colombia, Kenya, and Qatar, among many other places. Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.

It’s mind boggling that more than a quarter-million American troops are stationed at military bases around the world. In Europe the US has up to 75,000 battle-capable servicemen, not counting technical staff and supplies, which are usually represented by local civilian contractors (85%). In this region the US has the most significant military presence in Germany, with nearly 50,000 men stationed in this country.

The total cost of maintaining these bases, according to RAND Corporation estimates, approaches 156 billion dollars annually, and American taxpayers are paying an average of 40,000 dollars a year for the stationing of a single US soldier abroad.

However, those installations haven’t been transformed in the “bulwark of American democracy”, instead they are serving as a symbol of lawlessness and crime that provoke massive civil protests among the population of the state that host such bases.

In 2011, the US Department of Defense prepared a report at the request of Congress, which showed the horrendous situation in the US Army with a staggering number of sexual offenses being committed every year. The report left aside all the other types of offenses committed by US servicemen. However, no measures have been taken, so one can safely assume that sexual offenses along with a number of other offenses are being committed regularly both overseas and in the US.

This fact has been clearly seen in the latest incident on the Japanese island of Okinawa, where at the end of May Japanese police officers arrested an American soldier for the murder of 20-year-old Japanese girl Rina Shimabukuro. It was established during the investigation, the offender first rendered the girl unconscious with a blunt object, then raped her only to stab her with a knife later on, after which he allegedly left her body in the woods.

This horrendous crime led to new waves of anti-American demonstrations in Japan, and the Japanese people seem to be determined to achieve the closure of US military bases on Okinawa no matter what. The situation became so tense that the Japanese government, in the face of growing number of crimes committed by US servicemen, was forced to establish a special unit within the Japanese police that would begin patrolling the territory on the island of Okinawa to prevent new incidents involving US troops.

One should recall that the territory of Okinawa constitutes only 0.6% of all Japanese territory, but at the same time 74% of US military facilities and more than half of all US forces in Japan are stationed there. According to the administration of Okinawa, a total of 25,800 American soldiers and 19,000 armed service family members are residing on the island.

However, Japan is not the only state where large-scale demonstrations against America’s military presence are being held. According to Deutsche Welle, a total of 5,000 protesters lined up in a human chain near the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany on 12 June. The rage of German activists was provoked by the use of drones over German territory.

The initial euphoria surrounding the establishment of US bases in the Baltic States is now being replaced by growing discontent among the citizens of those states. As it has been reported by the Baltnews media source which gave a special reference to local media sources, last April American soldiers tore down the flag of Lithuania from the roof of the prosecutor’s office in Kaunas to desecrate it.

One can also cite drunken fights among US servicemen across Lithuania and the Latvian Ventspils. It got to the point that the mayor of this city, Aivars Lembergs, has publicly announced that foreign troops are “behaving like swines” and protested this fact to the leadership of NATO.

The desire of US servicemen to show their superiority over local populations and the total disregard of local laws has also been shown by the recent incident at the water park Druskininkai, where drunk soldiers in a state of extreme intoxication decided to “have fun” by assaulting visitors. But two years ago a Lativian parliamentarian, Janis Ādamsons, warned the public that the presence of foreign troops in Latvia may give its citizens a false sense of security, but in fact transform the state into a more dangerous place. He underlined the fact that US military troops are not responding to local laws, therefore they cannot be punished for both administrative or criminal offenses.

In turn, Poland has recently seen more serious incidents, particularly when a US Army truck struck a car with a number of people being killed.

But these incidents will soon be overshadowed by new ones, when thousands of US troops get their new “apartments” in Eastern Europe, the sky would certainly be the limit for them.

According to the recent statement of the well-known American journalist and economist Paul Craig Roberts, one may come to the only possible conclusion – under Obama, Clinton and George W. Bush, the US government has become an unaccountable, lawless, criminal organization and is a danger to the entire world and its own citizens.

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”