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Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World (American Empire Project) Hardcover – August 25, 2015

3.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER

“A useful call to examine a question that gets far less attention than it merits… An entreaty for an explanation, a discussion in plain language, about what the U.S. military is doing in so many places in the world and why.”
―The Washington Post

"U.S. national security policy rests on the assertion that 'forward presence' contributes directly to global peace and security. In this powerful book, David Vine examines, dismantles, and disproves that claim. He demonstrates that America's sprawling network of overseas bases imposes costs―not only financial but also political, environmental, and moral―that far exceed what the Pentagon is prepared to acknowledge. Base Nation offers a devastating critique, and no doubt Washington will try to ignore it. Citizens should refuse to let that happen.”
―Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Limits of Power and Breach of Trust

“Who knew that we have more than eight hundred bases around the world? And what do our troops do there when they're not busy intruding into other people's conflicts? Such questions lie at the heart of David Vine's remarkable, impeccably written, and clearheaded analysis of the costly madness that is America's current colonial-military complex. His book is a marvel, and all in power should read it.”
―Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic and The Men Who United the States

“Just looking at the maps in David Vine's thoroughly documented Base Nation will give you the chills―and seduce you into reading the book. He's performed a kind of modern day treasure hunt, finding and displaying our military forces all over the globe, and then thinking deeply about whether their far-flung presence will achieve or undermine the goal of fostering a peaceful and prosperous world.”
―Dana Priest, coauthor of Top Secret America

“While I may not share all of David Vine's conclusions, Base Nation amply demonstrates what a growing number of people across the political spectrum are concluding: the foundation of our military belongs right here on American soil. In the U.S. Senate, I pushed for greater investment in our bases here at home where our forces have greater unrestricted training opportunities and can rapidly deploy worldwide better prepared for combat. Pentagon officials and members of Congress should pay close attention to Vine's arguments in favor of reducing our foreign presence in the interest of strengthening the future security posture of U.S. military forces and the fiscal health of our nation.”
―Kay Bailey Hutchison, former U.S. senator (R-TX) and chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction

About the Author


David Vine is the author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia and an associate professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Mother Jones, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

  • Series: American Empire Project
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; First Edition edition (August 25, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1627791698
  • ISBN-13: 978-1627791694
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 25, 2015
Format: Hardcover
This is a five-star academic work, a superb up-to-date compilation of what can be known legally and ethically about US military bases in all forms from the formal to the undeclared and covert, around the world. It's inclusion in the American Empire Project puts the author in the company of such great scholars and iconoclastic observers as Andrew Bacevich, Noam Chomsky, Robert Dreyfuss, Chalmers Johnson, and Howard Zinn.

The author provides a compelling combination of history, anthropological-sociological narrative, and political-economic calculation as to the cost of what some estimate to be as many at 1,000 bases around the world.

The references are a fine mix of books, articles, online sources, and as a good a range of Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congressional Research Service (CRS), and other limited edition publications including PhD theses.

I find multiple bottom lines in this book that could but does not go far enough, but is certainly an excellent starting point for getting to a total true cost that I believe is at least five times the author's calculation of $170 billion a year and that is only in relation to total cost in dollars -- if the cost of environmental pollution, geoengineering, false flag terrorism, and everything else is added up, the overseas bases that enable our "secret teams" and our not so secret occupying forces are the base of a multi-trillion dollar criminal industry that leaves no country untouched.
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Format: Hardcover
Because of government and military/industrial secrecy, it is not common knowledge that the American military maintains more than 800 bases outside the USA. Considering there are only 200 or so countries in the world, and a good number of them are enemies of the USA, that is a frightening number. It gets more frightening as David Vine describes them, their effect on the locals, their draining of vast pools of tax dollars, and their often irrational rationale for existing. Basically, the military wants to grab as much territory as it can, and once it has a foothold, it is loath to give anything back, even if it is of no military use.

The main tool it uses seems to be scope creep. The military will tell Congress it only wants a small installation, very inexpensive, with few personnel. But once built, it expands and gets added to ad infinitum. Vine says construction spending is out of control. The military maintains 170 golf courses, and offers all kinds of admittedly socialistic benefits that soldiers and their families dote on. This includes pay premiums, housing, healthcare, and shipping personal vehicles around the world free, along with all their belongings,

It also maintains dictators and criminals. By placing bases in their countries, they imply a level of stability and longevity the locals might not appreciate, what Vine calls “a pattern of U.S. support for violence and repression.” The same people we say we don’t like are compromising our military with these deals. US bases actually make the world more dangerous, Vine says. One of the more offensive situations is in Honduras, where the massive Satos-Cano Airbase does not officially exist. The Honduran constitution forbids foreign troops.
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Format: Hardcover
A thought-provoking examination of US military bases overseas. A recent partial solution to problems raised is low-profile "lily pads", mini-bases spread throughout the world, although with their own problems. The military has built 50 lily pads in 15 years and plans more. Author David Vine questions the value of overseas bases, including lily pads, especially with current capabilities in transportation and an end to the Cold War. Numerous "holy crap!" moments like how one contractor, KBR, allegedly hauled ice for soldier consumption in unsanitized containers previously used as temporary morgues. Or the food provider that sued the Pentagon over a contract which went to a firm that underbid them by $1.2 million (who has the chutzpah to sue over a low bid when you didn't submit it?). As an ex-GI who served at a number of posts overseas, I found the observations of especial interest. Very disquieting. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
David Vine has crafted an indispensible study for our time. As we move further and further away from the post WWII Pax Americana, the United States continues to occupy a global network of military bases that dwarfs all other nations combined. Even with this fact, or perhaps because of it, little or no discussion of this reality occurs in our popular media. I grew up in a forward based military family and have visited many of the bases discussed in Vine's book. From Okinawa and Iwakuni in Japan, to Guam, to still numerous bases in Germany, to Western Australia, to Djibouti, and on and on US forces are forwardly deployed in a manner that purports to keep America safe. Or instead are these military installations the proof of a 21st century Imperial United States? Vine argues that the United States is somewhere in between the poles of imperial power and international cop and that neither possibility bodes well for America or the globe. Vine's research impels us as global citizens to do our part and consider America's place in the world. Where does diplomacy end and antagonism begin?
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