Political Science

Embattled Garrisons: Comparative Base Politics and American Globalism


Jan 15, 2008
6 x 9.25 in.
15 line illus. 12 tables.
Political Science
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The overseas basing of troops has been a central pillar of American military strategy since World War II—and a controversial one. Are these bases truly essential to protecting the United States at home and securing its interests abroad—for 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 nations—in emerging democracies especially—but 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.