Mark J. Conversino
Embattled Garrisons: Comparative Base Politics and American Globalismby Kent E. Calder
The overseas basing of troops has been a central pillar of American military strategy since World War IIand a controversial one. Are these bases truly essential to protecting the United States at home and securing its interests abroadfor example in the Middle East-or do they needlessly provoke anti-Americanism and entangle us in the domestic woes of
The overseas basing of troops has been a central pillar of American military strategy since World War IIand a controversial one. Are these bases truly essential to protecting the United States at home and securing its interests abroadfor example in the Middle East-or do they needlessly provoke anti-Americanism and entangle us in the domestic woes of host countries? Embattled Garrisons takes up this question and examines the strategic, political, and social forces that will determine the future of American overseas basing in key regions around the world.
Kent Calder traces the history of overseas bases from their beginnings in World War II through the cold war to the present day, comparing the different challenges the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union have confronted. Providing the broad historical and comparative context needed to understand what is at stake in overseas basing, Calder gives detailed case studies of American bases in Japan, Italy, Turkey, the Philippines, Spain, South Korea, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He highlights the vulnerability of American bases to political shifts in their host nationsin emerging democracies especiallybut finds that an American presence can generally be tolerated when identified with political liberation rather than imperial succession.
Embattled Garrisons shows how the origins of basing relationships crucially shape long-term prospects for success, and it offers a means to assess America's prospects for a sustained global presence in the future.
Mark J. Conversino
"Calder's conclusions are derived from and supported by the logic and evidence he marshaled for this study. Embattled Garrisons will appeal to historians, military planners, and specialists in international relations and should be required reading in both the departments of State and Defense."Mark J. Conversino, Journal of Military History
"Embattled Garrisons is a useful source book on American military history as far as U.S. foreign policy regarding overseas bases is concerned. It also provides an informative glimpse at the ways in which American expansionism is legitimized."Selin M. Bolme, Insight Turkey
"Embattled Garrisons is an extremely valuable book that provides readers with a variety of angles with which to examine base politics. This is a must-read for scholars interested in interactions between the host nation and the basing nation, as well as policymakers who are keen on sustaining a US presence around the globe in the future."Takafumi Ohtomo, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
G. John Ikenberry
Selin M. Bolme
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Embattled Garrisons Comparative Base Politics and American Globalism
By Kent E. Calder Princeton University Press
Copyright © 2007 Princeton University Press
All right reserved.
Introduction The presence of foreign troops on the soil of independent nations has traditionally been at once an unusual and an uncomfortable reality. Historically overseas military bases have almost invariably been the product of empires, and have disappeared with the liberation of their peoples. For the citizens of the United States, they were for the first century of the Republic and beyond a particularly noxious form of foreign entanglement. Only from the late 1930s, as the storm clouds of World War II began to deepen, did overseas military bases in other sovereign nations gradually become a more acceptable reality, for both Americans and others.
Since World War II, foreign bases have come to seem commonplace, and even natural-especially to Americans-despite their earlier historic uniqueness. As we will see, bases have come to perform important roles in international affairs: deterring aggression, reinforcing alliance relations, inhibiting balance-of-power conflict, providing formidably efficient global logistics networks, assuring smooth resource flows, and helping most recently to combat terrorism. Overseas bases have become the very sinews of an American globalism that in any other age would be known as empire.
Yet these global guardians are also themselves both vulnerable andoften controversial. However omnipotent the power of American arms may be in technical and geopolitical terms, it must also, like the military of other great powers past and present, contend with the domestic political context of host nations and indeed, often with dissent at home. Other great powers, such as Russia, Britain, and France, have already, by and large, lost their global basing networks, under a range of economic and political pressures. And since 9/11, the United States has also come to face an increasingly complex political basing problem. As the struggle against terrorism has broadened into a global "arc of instability" within the developing world, and as even America's industrialized allies have grown skeptical and weary, the pressures on America to retrench have deepened once again, from Saudi Arabia to Turkey, South Korea, and beyond. Something much larger than an "Iraq War syndrome" is at work, although Iraq has proven to be an important catalyst.
In some countries, to be sure, the broad skepticism and antagonism about foreign bases have been arrested, at least for a while. In some few instances, both past and present, foreign troops are greeted as liberators rather than agents of empire. Yet those instances are rare, and the felicitous conditions they create fleeting and difficult to sustain.
Foreign bases, in short are thus embattled garrisons, and are likely to be increasingly so as America's turbulent involvement in the Middle East is steadily redefined. Overseas bases often fill important military roles, not only in the Middle East, but around the world, yet they are increasingly difficult to sustain politically. How and where to best keep them are issues of crucial importance for policy. Similarly understanding the comparative politics behind host-nation response ranks as an important question for middle-range social science theory, as well.
This volume, in the social science tradition, approaches the world around us from the perspective of causal explanation; it struggles to answer the persistent question, Why? Like all social scientists engaged in that process, we confront the continuing dilemma of how to strive simultaneously for universalism and realism. As policy-oriented students of social science, we face an additional challenge-how to produce generalizations that have both predictive and prescriptive relevance for the future.
The response that we propose to the multiple analytical challenges confronted here is threefold: (1) to develop and test falsifiable generalizations about why military bases come and go; (2) to employ the more viable ones in probabilistic fashion to provide a prognosis for existing and anticipated basing configurations; and (3) to suggest prescriptions for future policy on the basis of past historical experience. Broadly speaking, this approach leads us to see clearly that overseas bases have over the past half century developed important stabilizing functions in the global system, but that they are historically and institutionally contingent; that their prospective political viability in host nations varies considerably, if in predictable fashion; and that public policy can critically affect that viability. In sum, it argues that there can be a policy science of basing, and presumes to diffidently suggest how that science might evolve.
In an attempt to initiate a more systematic study of base politics, I begin this volume in chapter 1 with a historical survey of foreign basing-since the concept of "bases outside of empire" emerged in the late 1930s-that illustrates the important strategic functions that forward deployment has come to perform. In chapter 2 I summarize the current state of American overseas basing in comparative historical and cross-national perspective, emphasizing the political and technological forces affecting its long-term viability, and the policy challenges that those long-term forces create. Chapter 3 conceptualizes base politics in more theoretical fashion.
Chapters 4 through 8 outline in greater detail, through subnational analysis, the varied yet generalizable patterns that host-nation base politics typically assume. They show the primary importance of understanding the analytical structure of base-related conflicts, before getting trapped by their details. They clearly illustrate that there are definite patterns of success and failure in stabilizing the presence of overseas bases, and making them consistent with the aspirations of local inhabitants. Yet amidst the nuance, the difficulties of sustaining bases in the absence of large-scale financial support, and those of transforming base presence even in the presence of such support, come through clearly.
Chapters 9 and 10, in conclusion, consider what the United States should do about the detailed, real-world circumstances previously presented. Chapter 9 outlines emerging options for policy, beyond the details of current conflicts, while chapter 10 is more normative, presenting concrete policy recommendations and implications for further research. Given the strategic importance that these embattled garrisons have assumed over their short lifetime of but three score years and ten, it concludes that policy should attempt to sustain some core functions and locations on a global basis. Yet substantial retrenchment, relocation, and sensitivity to local politics are emphatically in order, as recent developments in the Islamic world make clear. Also important is more systematic analytical attention to the forces that support and erode foreign basing, toward which end this volume hopefully provides a useful start.
Excerpted from Embattled Garrisons by Kent E. Calder
Copyright © 2007 by Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission.
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What People are Saying About This
Michael O'Hanlon, Brookings Institution
Francis Fukuyama, Johns Hopkins University
Michael Klare, Hampshire College
Meet the Author
Kent E. Calder is director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies, a faculty member at the university's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., and served as special adviser to the U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2001. His books include "Pacific Defense: Arms, Energy, and America's Future in Asia" (William Morrow), "Strategic Capitalism" (Princeton), and "Crisis and Compensation" (Princeton).
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