Maintaining American Military Bases Abroad
In the aftermath of the bipolar struggle of the Cold War, the United States has stood alone in expanding its military influence across the entirety of the globe. With this emergence onto the world stage, many have criticized America's intentions of deposing dictators and defending a moral standard as a guise for expanding both hard and soft power abroad. On the contrary, American occupation in foreign nations serves to benefit both the international community and United States citizens alike through both peacekeeping and economic means, and the United States should continue to retain its control in key areas of conflict globally.
Within the status quo, the expanse of American imperialism outranks even the greatest of empires in history. The United States has over 800 military bases worldwide in over 63 countries, seven of which have had brand new bases installed since the September 11th attacks in 2001 (Global Research 2013). These bases employ nearly 250,000 active-duty military personnel deployed worldwide, costing on average $2 billion dollars annually per country occupied. The spending on these foreign bases goes towards a broad spectrum of activities, including humanitarian aid, peacekeeping efforts, and counterterrorism operations. This global presence allows for American forces to arrive for assistance or even emergency relief in the wake of revolutions, natural disasters, or invasions.
Currently, terrorist networks and stability concerns in the Middle East make the region the United States' key area of focus for military action. Since the drawdown of Operation Iraqi Freedom, military bases in the region have shifted towards bolstering Hamid Karzai's regime in Afghanistan in preparation for withdrawal, while also securing the Paki-Afghani border in order to contain the terrorist threat. With this, the United States has had to give more support to North Africa and the Sahel as groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Haqqani network have directed their operations towards the northern deserts of countries such as Mali and Somalia. Further, recent plans for United States withdrawal from the Middle East have exacerbated terrorist tensions, especially since local military personnel in Kabul, Afghanistan have expressed fear due to “lack of training and readiness for a complete parting from American military aid” (Journal on International Affairs 2012). This presents a dilemma for the international community because As a whole, the Middle East in its fragile state relies too heavily on military aid to remain stable in the event of U.S. pullout from the region.
The East Asian theater comprises the second largest foreign military operation for the United States, due in large part to long lasting tensions among the powers in the area (Global Research). North Korea's aggressive behavior after the succession of Kim Jong Un has spurred the United States to increase troop deployments to Seoul...