Eisenhower spoke of the military industrial complex corrupting the government. One of many examples offered by Vine is that of U.S. relations with Portugal. The U.S. military wanted bases in the Azores, so the U.S. government agreed to support Portugal's dictator, Portuguese colonialism, and Portuguese NATO membership. And the people of Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde be damned or rather, let them build up hostility toward the United States, as a price to pay for keeping the United States "defended" by a global array of bases. Vine cites 17 cases of U.S. base construction displacing local populations around the world, a situation that exists side-by-side with U.S. text books claiming that the age of conquest is over.
NATO served to facilitate the construction of U.S. bases in Italy, which Italians might never have stood for had the bases been called "U.S. bases" rather than being marketed under the false banner of "NATO bases."
Bases have continued to proliferate around the globe, with protests usually following. Protests against U.S. bases, often successful, often not successful, have been a major part of the past century of world history rarely taught in the United States. Even the well-known peace sign was first used at a protest of a U.S. military base. Now bases are spreading across Africa and up to the borders of China and Russia, while U.S. culture grows accustomed to ever more routine wars fought by "special forces" and robot planes, nuclear weapons are being built like mad, and militarism is unquestioned by either of the two big U.S. political parties.
If the wars are in part for the bases, shouldn't we still ask what the bases are for? Vine recounts Congressional investigators concluding that many of the bases are kept in place by "inertia." And he recounts various military officials indulging in fear (or, more accurately, paranoia) that sees aggressive war creation as a form of defense. These are both very real phenomena, but I think they depend on an overriding drive for global domination and profit, combined with a sociopathic willingness (or eagerness) to generate wars.
Something that I never think any book focuses on enough is the role of weapons sales. These bases create weapons customers despots and "democratic" officials who can be armed and trained and funded and made dependent upon the U.S. military, making the U.S. government ever more dependent upon the war profiteers.
I hope every person on earth reads The United States of War. At World BEYOND War we have made working to close bases a top priority.
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