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Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World (American Empire Project) Hardcover – August 25, 2015
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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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Mr. Vine has an impressive amount of research which one day will translate into a great story about the life cycle of US bases in the 20th and 21st centuries. However, he's wasted this voluminous amount of data on an amateurish work that jumps from subject to subject without clearly answering or defining what he's doing. In the final chapter he tries to wrap it all up with a nice thesis statement, but it falls apart because the book was not written that way. It's really a bunch of stories of varying relevancy about US bases with many pointless stories in between. He has several real gems hidden in the book, but they are not brought to light, but glossed over.
The other major blind spot of this book is the failure to include any real information or data from the nations that host US bases abroad. He could have easily tapped into the German, Korean, Philippines, Japanese, or Panamanian government or other primary sources for their studies of what happens when the US military departs an area. Each country has experienced a mass departure of US forces int the past 25 years and there are reams of data in each country looking up, down and sideways and the problem.. I applaud him for the effort, but the book needs more structure and the other side of the coin needs to be explored to make this book of value for future academics, sociologist, government bureaucrats, and those who study the military.