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February 3, 2016 @ 9:03 am

Ep. 232 “Base Nation - How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World”

Ep. 232 “Base Nation - How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World” (hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames and produced by Dance Aoki with assistance from Alan Grossman) was recorded 1/4/16 and airs 1/8/16. )

Program guest is Dr. David Vine, associate professor of anthropology at American University of Washington, D.C.  Professor Vine first appeared on Beyond the Fence in 2011 (Ep. 86, 9/23/11) to discuss his book Island of Shame:  The Secret History of the Military Base in Diego Garcia (Princeton University Press, 2011). In this book, Vine reveals the shocking truth of how the United States conspired with Britain to forcibly expel Diego Garcia's indigenous people--the Chagossians--and deport them to slums in Mauritius and the Seychelles, where most live in dire poverty to this day. This was done in order to establish and maintain one of the most strategically important and secretive U.S. military installations outside the United States. 

In this episode, he discusses his new book, Base Nation - How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World  (New York, New York: Metropolitan Books, 2015). This book entailed research over the course of six years and more than sixty current and former bases in twelve countries and territories, including Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (the focus of Ch. 4 The Colonial Past).   

 

According to the jacket cover for Base Nation, “American military bases encircle the globe. More than two decades after the end of the Cold War and nearly three quarters of a century after the last battle of World War II, the United States still stations troops at some eight hundred locations in foreign lands and U.S. territories. These bases are usually taken for granted or overlooked entirely, a little-noticed part of the Pentagons vast operations. . . . Their financial cost is staggering:  though the Pentagon tries to underplay the numbers, Vine’s accounting proves that the true bill approaches $100 billion or more per year.  And by making it easier to wage interventionist wars from home, overseas bases have paved the way for disastrous conflicts that have cost countless lives. For decades, the need for overseas bases has been a quasireligious dictum of U.S. foreign policy. Recently, however, a bipartisan coalition has finally started questioning this conventional wisdom. With U.S. forces still in Afghanistan, the Middle East and beyond, Vine shows why we must reexamine the tenets of military strategy, the way we engage the world, and the base nation which America has become.”   

Base Nation was published as part of the American Empire project, a response to the changes that have occurred in America’s strategic thinking as well as in its military and economic posture. Empire, long considered an offense against America’s democratic heritage, now threatens to define the relationship between our country and the rest of the world.  The American Empire Project publishes books that question this development, examine the origins of U.S. imperial aspirations, analyze their ramifications at home and abroad, and discuss alternatives to this dangerous trend. 

Music selection: Masters of War by Bob Dylan.   

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