Under the Radar

Sound Off: Do Overseas Military Bases Damage National Security?


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A sure-to-be-controversial new book from American University anthropology professor David Vine claims that the 800 bases the United States operates outside its borders hurt our national security more than they help it. In Base Nation: How the U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, Vine talks about how most of these bases were established after World War II as the Cold War escalated and suggests that we should pay more attention to the local opposition that many of these bases inspire.

In an interview with NPR this weekend, Vine laid out his ideas.

This is one of the rare bipartisan issues where there are people across the political spectrum asking whether we need 800 military bases outside the United States, in an era where technological advancements have allowed the U.S. military to deploy forces from the continental United States just as quickly as from most bases overseas, whether we really need these bases which are extraordinarily costly compared to keeping U.S. troops in the United States.
Vine claims he's not calling for mass closings, just that we should begin to have a conversation about whether some of these expensive facilities don't really contribute to our national security. You can hear the entire interview below.


What do you think? Is it time to do a cost/benefit analysis and discuss the extent of our military presence around the world? Do some of our bases create tensions with citizens of our host countries that hurt our reputation around the world? Take our survey below and sound off in the comments.


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