January 30, 2018
by Darius Shahtahmasebi
The Antimedia.org

On the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Baltimore University hosted more than 200 activists in the peace, environment, and social justice movements to launch a new initiative known as the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, the Nation reported.

In a series of panels that lasted over two days, the conference attendees highlighted the horrors of American foreign policy despite the fact Martin Luther King warned against these horrors over 50 years ago, a fitting reminder to heed the warnings of Dr. King.

According to the panel, the U.S. has over 800 formal military bases in 80 countries, “a number that could exceed 1,000 if you count troops stationed at embassies and missions and so-called ‘lily-pond’ bases, with some 138,000 soldiers stationed around the globe,” the Nation notes.

According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Overseas Harm America and the World, maintaining bases and troops overseas cost $85 to $100 billion in 2014, while the total for bases and troops in war zones was between $160 billion and $200 billion.

The Nation also highlighted Vine’s claim that only some 11 other countries have bases in foreign countries, around 70 altogether. Russia is believed to have at least 26 bases in nine countries. They are mainly in former Soviet states, as well as Syria and Vietnam. The U.K., France, and Turkey have around four to ten bases each, and a handful of global bases are occupied by India, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. This might all change in the years to come, however, as China may be looking to build bases of its own in the Middle East.

Once the U.S. establishes itself militarily in a nation, it rarely leaves. Consider that after the defeat of Germany in World War II, the U.S. never left the country. It has maintained its bases there ever since. Germany’s Ramstein base is now the “hub” for America’s global drone assassination program throughout the Middle East.

The British spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), has been using a base in North Yorkshire called Menwith Hill to assist with America’s targeted killings in the Middle East, using an unknown number of employees.

This is but one example of how American bases overseas can be used to commit mass suffering in the Middle East, and the effects of these bases on the local populations are far too many to document.

For example, in Okinawa, Japan, the U.S. was suspected of housing and burying Agent Orange at its unpopular base in Futenma. Protests are not uncommon, with a specific sit-in protest lasting more than 5,000 consecutive days, as reported by the Japan Times at the end of last year. Rapes, theft, assaults, and murders committed by U.S. personnel there are all rather common.

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