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Chalmers Johnson has made a career out of documenting the base issue. He recently published his third book on the topic: "Nemesis".

According to his count there were 737 such in 2005. I don't think this includes the ones being constructed in Iraq (estimated at four big ones and perhaps 100 smaller ones).

The base issue is complicated. In some places (like Japan) the local government has to pay the US for the base - this is the ultimate "protection" racket. In other cases the US pays. There are also the indirect transactions which include weapons purchases and grants to these countries. I'm willing to bet that when all the transfers are taken into account the US pays.

The justifications for the bases are economic (bribe local economies), to project force, to influence local politics, to provide support for military actions and institutional inertia.

There is no sign that any real reform is on the horizon. Even Rumsfeld failed at trying to change the set up. His motivation was economic, he wanted to get more bang for the buck. He was defeated by the vested interests.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2007 at 10:40:50 AM EST
I'm willing to bet that when all the transfers are taken into account the US pays.

I´m sure you´re right about the usual economic figures, but the USG can never pay for the infinite externalities:  we all pay for that.  If the USG pays money it must be because ´it´s good business´ for the milind complex, or it wouldn´t be here.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Nov 8th, 2007 at 05:25:46 PM EST
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