Will pulling out work?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, May 11, 2007.

  1. Principessa

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    Hi, this is probably a silly/naive statement; but I have often thought that the US should just pull our military bases out of many foreign countries.

    Before you lambast me for being a moron, I try to get my news from various sources not just network tv, I watch MSNBC, CNN, and BBC America. I also read the NY Times and sometimes the Wall Street Journal. I avoid Fox News for the obvious reasons. Also, since I live in central NJ, I get the CBS, NBC; ABC affiliates from both New York City and Philadelphia. You would be surprised at how differently NBC-NYC and NBC-Philadelphia present information. Even something as simple as the Paris Hilton nonsense has a slightly different spin.

    I digress, my feelings are not related to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Gulf War or The War on Terror. I've actually thought this since about 1977. Yes, my family had odd and often passionate discussions at the dinner table. :rolleyes:

    Is it really all about the oil? If so, then why do we have bases in Germany, South Korea, and France? Clearly many of the citizens of these countries don't want us there, and have made strong arguments for our leaving promptly, so why not just leave?

    We have foreign embassies in the United States yet to the best of my knowledge, no other nation has a military base on our soil.

    Would the world be a better place, safer place if we didn't have military installations all over the world?

    Before you flame me remember I was an art history major not a poli-sci major.

    Just saw this on the channel 7 news out of NYC. U.S. officials in Germany get terror warning
     
  2. D_Galaley Gigglestick

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    For someone who posts on a sex forum, you should know: pulling out is never the safest way to go.
     
  3. Principessa

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    I tried to think of a better title for this thread that didn't have a sexual overtone, yet gave an idea as to what I was talking about. Nothing else came to mind.:biggrin1:
     
  4. D_Joseba_Guntertwat

    D_Joseba_Guntertwat New Member

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    Haha, I thought this might be about sex too.

    But seriously, the US had bases in Iceland until last year. Fair enough, they were essential during the last World War, but after many years of protests from Icelanders they finally left. I don't know why they have bases all over the world. Pull out, withdraw, coitus interruptus. Whatever you call it. Just do it ;)

    But probably shouldn't withdraw from Iraq just yet. Actually I have a funny view about this. The Iraqi militants want the US to leave so they keep setting off bombs. But if they stopped setting off bombs, then the US would leave. Or am I being totally naive.

    PS, am quite drunk when I'm writing this, so don't hold it against me :)
     
  5. HotBulge

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    Hi njqt466,

    Our US presence in foreign countries is a legacy of WWII or the Cold War, primarily. After WWII, most of the major world powers - Britain, France, Germany, and Japan - were left heavily damaged and without defense resources. The only other power to reckon with at the time ~ 1946 - 50 was the former Soviet Union. Several military defense strategies resulted:
    • To maintain a balance or power and a line of defense against the Soviet Union, the US forged NATO (= North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The US promised to come to the aid of the Western European countries in case of (Soviet) attack. Military bases were established in the UK and in (former West) Germany as the major outposts of defense against the Soviet Union. Just as with WWI, the West didn't want to see the rise of a militaristic regime in Germany after WWII, so it was in the US/UK's interest to place military bases in/near Germany to prevent that (historical) possibility. In essence, the world didn't need Germany to start WWIII, nor did Western Europe want the Soviet Union extending its "black curtain" of communism over the Western European states.
    • Also after WWII, the US established military bases in Japan, especially the naval base at Okinawa, as a result of the US' defeat over Japan. Like Iraq now, the US was technically the occupying power of Japan and rebuilt Japan after WWII. The post-WWII Japanese constitution stipulated that Japan could not have a standing army (which is still in effect today), so the US is historically bound to the naval/air defense of Japan - against China most notably.
    • The US established a major military base in South Korea during/after the Korean war (1953) primarily to maintain the border between Communist North Korea (and Communist China, by extension) and democratic South Korea. That's the US has such a large military presence in Korea
    • The US' also has a large military presence in the Phillipine Islands because the Phillipines were once a US territory. The US had a nominal claim to the Phillipines after Spain lost the Spanish-American War in Cuba in 1889. THe Phillipines became a key strategic point for the US/UK/Australia to fight North towards Japan against the Japanese in WWII
    We also have to look at the other major world powers and their general reluctance to become colonial powers again. England, specifically, had to cede much of its influence over its former colonies to them - India's independence in 1948 is the most notable example. Colonies can be too difficult to maintain: there are internal struggles of the natives for independence, and the colonies are difficult to defend from other European colonial powers. So, after WWII, the former colonial powers left their former colonies, effectively ending the militaristic influence of other nations around the world on their former colonies.

    In a nutshell, the US grew into its role as the world's policeman by default - no other power would/could step up to the plate.
     
  6. madame_zora

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    earllogjam offered a compelling insight here in post #113:

    http://www.lpsg.org/et-cetera-et-cetera/49313-dont-equate-actions-with-religion-8.html

    I appreciated the depth and detail of his opinions.

    I'm working right now, but I'll offer my own views later on tonight.

    edit- also please watch the video posted by JustAsking in post 121 of that same thread. It explains our longterm relationship with Saddam Hussein, a thing which our current administration didn't want anyone to remember. He was OUR boy, he always was. Funny thing he didn't understand about America- we giveth, yes, but we taketh away too.
     
  7. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    France?

    Biggies in Japan. A smaller one on Diego Garcia. For a while there were US bases in Iceland (as Benny Hill famously said, "not a lot o' people know that!"). It has little to do with oil.

    It dates from the period when everybody had forces in the damndest places. Early US history was strongly affected by this. Consider this passage from Pratt's Heroic Years, concerning the crisis when Spain canceled the right of free transfer at New Orleans -

    "The President ... could see that the thunderbolt had not been unpredictable - only the first flash along the horizon of a monstrous warcloud behind which loomed ... Mars himself - Napoleon Bonaparte, Consul of the French, girt round with a million fighting men, fourteen marshals and a chain of victories that stretched from the Pyramids to Marengo."

    "Already General Leclerc was in Santo Domingo, making secure an advanced base, drilling black regiments; already a camp at Boulogne held ten thousand horse under the best cavalry captain in the world and Marshal Victor mustered twenty thousand infantry."

    That's what happens when you let the other guys get the bases first.

    The problem with the pirates of Tripoli, the aftermath of the Spanish-American War (see Mahan, Lessons of the War with Spain for illuminating insights), and the danger to Britain during WW2 of possible U-boat bases in Iceland and the Caribbean all marked major increases in America's overseas bases. The postwar occupations in Europe and the Pacific, and the immediate start of the Cold War, were the source of and continuing rationale for modern base distribution.

    The bases are primarily military, initially for supply of ships, later for supply of aircraft, still later to guarantee that the communist block couldn't pretend to itself that attempts to snip off territory (such as the extremely nastly little civil war in Greece at the end of the general war in Europe, and Russian attempts to start a similar civil war in Italy) would be ignored by the US. Another factor is that bases are a sort of stealth foreign aid program. The Guantanamo base in Cuba is probably the only reliable employer of Cubans in that whole end of the country. The bases in the Philippines had much the same function for a while, both with respect to the local economy, and from hefty rental fees paid to the national government.

    The last time I was in Germany an old fellow made it a point to drive me past a piece of the wall which they have preserved. It wasn't just in Berlin, but stretched across the whole damn country. They left a piece up so that German kids wouldn't forget that it took a half century of vigilance by heavily armed Germans and Americans to see that the communist encroachments reached no further. When you hear news that "sombody" wants the US to leave, recall that not everyone's old enough to remember some things.
     
  8. green26

    green26 Active Member

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    We spend way too much money maintaining bases all over the world, alot of those bases were because of the cold war and no longer serve a useful purpose, we need to close some of those outposts. I don't believe that we can recall all of our men and women for overseas but we need to find a way out of the mess in Iraq, it is seriously messing with our military readiness and the cost is just way to high.
     
  9. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    Why, are Fox's talking heads particularly ugly? I don't know, I don't watch any of 'em. TV news is Shinola. I sometimes read the Manchester Guardian just to be sure that I'm getting my money's worth out of my blood pressure meds. Also the Guardian's typos are the best in the business. I particularly treasure a memory of the Guardian's review of the Mussorgsky opera Doris Godunov (Doris? Boris G. must have had a sister!).


     
  10. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, because Fox is so one-sided. You know why I appreciate Fox?? Because it is CLEAR where it stands... unlike the major media outlets (ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN) as well as "public" outlets like NPR (LLLLLLLLLLaughable so left-leaning it's hilarious)...yet they under the guise of being "nuetral". Good to see them being exposed. I don't mind it... just call a spade a spade. CBS should just go the Fox route and make themselves a leftie-known outlet... and stop lying to the American public on subjective un-biased journalism.

    You guys need to stop wasting your breath on calling out Fox. Righties know what it is, and that's why they watch it. The "fair and balanced" is more tongue n' cheek vs actual meaning.
     
  11. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    15 or so years ago, I woulda said yes to eliminating most/many presences. Especially given the superpowers and how/what we assumed a war would look like. A few of you bring up the cold war. Great point... however,

    1. conflicts going forward will always be 'regional' and not global... and
    2. we enter conflicts in a very surgical manner... either due to the size of the conflict and the PC-hands-tied-behind-your-back style the poor military is subjected to. Curious how Gen Patton would handled Iraq/Afghanistan. Seperate thread on "collateral damage".
    3. many bases provide local economic benefit... a la Cebu... and there are many interests within those presence that fight hard to keep bases abroad (save places like Iceland, Germany, etc...). Lotsa underhanded small-time politics in that.
    4. besides it's a good sell for the military (esp the Navy) to see the world, I suppose.
     
  12. Mr Ed in Mass

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    we don't want to knock up Iraq
     
  13. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    I was just reminiscing last night about NBC's plot to instigate a staged incident of some good ol' American bigots roughing up some Muslims. They put out a casting call for particularly "middle-eastern looking" (whatever that means) men, and had them parade around at - well, where would one find good ol' American bigots? NASCAR!

    The casting call went out March 27, 2006, and the plot was duly set in motion. But - horrors! - nothing happened. NASCAR fans paid no attention at all to the Islamic prancing-about. NBC tried to defend its little sting like so - "We are following up on a recent poll and other articles indicating an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. We are curious about whether that is true. The NASCAR race at Martinsville was a stop we have made in our research on this story." Those would, I imagine, be the polls John Zogby made to order for CAIR and its Wahabbist backers. Too bad NBC couldn't call it "Fake But Accurate", as, post-Rathergate, that's a CBS trademark.

    Anyway, it was a nice little stroll down Memory Lane. But I can't remember - which network was it which reported that William Jefferson - the guy with the cold cash in his freezer - was a Republican? That was cute, too. ABC, I think, but I'm not sure.

    I think if I ever did suffer a decline in mental health so severe that I actually started watching TV news, I'd go with Fox. At least until it got caught at one of these little tricks. It would be a choice between a news network which might feed us all a pack of lies, versus a bunch which have actually been caught at it already.
     
  14. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    This is a curious theory. The historical justification for it is, well, let's just say that it's underwhelming.
     
  15. HotBulge

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    Thank's, M-Z, for re-introducing here JustAsking's video about the history of Saddam's rise to power in Iraq. It brings up the dark history of the CIA where, in the 60s- early '80s, the US did support the political regimes of dictators that it could control. Saddam is jus tone of those pet dictators that we cold control: so what the US giveth, the US taketh away.
     
  16. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    I'm sure he'd have gotten himself fired, much like MacArthur did after trying to badger Truman into expanding the Korean War. I seem to recall MacArthur insisting that he didn't know how to "bomb half a bridge" when attacking the Chinese supply routes over the Yalu River.
     
  17. HotBulge

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    .. I'm just giving your op. question some more thought, njqt466. It taps into some deep issues about the US' appropriate and evolving role in world politics.

    On Iraq & military bases: Because of the mess Bush/Cheney made by deposing Saddam, I do believe it is in our geo-political interests to still maintain a military presence in or near Iraq. I desparately want the soldiers to come and believe that Bush' current strategy is failing - our soldiers are just target practice at the moment. Bush and the Pentagon, however, are making a strategic error by emphasizing the "surge" of troops on Iraq instead of pulling back to a defensive posture in a few key area. Since our presence is now clearly unwelcome, the US should pull back troops to primarily - the "green zone", perhaps securing the best airfield/airport near Bagdhad, and perhaps an outpost near the mid-country oilfields. Let the Iraqi govt. deal with the rest of its concerns of civil unrest: US' troops weren't trained to, nor should serve as policemen for the longterm in Iraq. The other major political blunder that GW's administration is making is not engaging Iraq's neighbors to stop exacerbating the sectarian violence in Iraq.

    On the future of US bases abroad: I believe that it's in the US' vital interests to maintain military bases abroad despite being alone in its endeavor. The world still needs the presence of a superpower to help contain international flare-ups that arise from time to time. In an idealized view, a global governing body, such as the United Nations, would be the ultimate authority to resolve international disputes and enforce international law. The UN has no enforcement power and is an impotent legislative body. The role of enforcement has traditionally been left to the US. To maintain that role, the US will need to maintain strategic bases around the world. Troops and supplies need to be deployed around the world, and only military bases will allow that to happen.

    It would be helpful if other nations stepped up to the plate, but it's too convenient for them to stand by and criticize on the sidelines as US soldiers fall. Let's use Darfur, Sudan as an example of where the UN should legitimately be present and the nationsl fo the world should collectively be fighting genocide as a moral duty. Our military bases would come in handy to help deploy troops and relief to the region. No one really wants to commit to Darfur's relief, however, because there's no immediate value to rescuing resource-poor, refugee Africans. (Yes, I'm being really cynical here). Meanwhile, if the world's powers thought a little more towards the future, the lawlessness in Sudan is the perfect haven for militants and would-be terrorists breeding grounds. The situation is Sudan has some similarities to the situation in Afghanistan, as an outpost for terrorist cells.

    The world still benefits from the US as the world's plicemen. The US just needs to re-align its own military to be prepared to fight regional stealth wars rather than wars against large military states such as the former Soviet Union or Communist China.
     
  18. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    Fired in a heartbeat.

    By the way... is Ike throwin' hose down his right pant leg??? http://www.usconstitution.com/$so$1/dwighteisenhower_generalpatton_harrytruman.jpg
     
  19. HotBulge

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  20. dong20

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    You expect BP inducing (or reliable and unbiased) news from the Guardian?

    BTW, you've referenced it as the Manchester Guardian here and in several previous posts, unless there's some other (former) Manchester Guardian I assume you're aware it ceased to be so called over 40 years ago (1959 to be precise, well before my time) and you're usually so.....precise. That said it is still based in Manchester, I imagine it's changed a tad since then. Though, from some of your comments I sometimes wonder that that is where your opinions are still rooted.

    Actually, to be fair, I've heard it so called in the US before, perhaps like others you're just saving your fellow citizens from consfusion with say, the San Francisco Guardian, or, heaven forbid the Australian Communist Party rag?
     
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