The closing of U.S. bases and the removal of U.S. military personnel are critical to the elimination of war. This campaign is a major focus for World BEYOND War.
At least 90% of foreign military bases in the world are U.S. bases. The United States has more than 150,000 military troops deployed outside the United States on more than 800 bases (some estimates are more than 1000) in 160 countries, and all 7 continents. These bases are the central feature of U.S. foreign policy which is one of coercion and threat of military aggression. The United States uses these bases in a tangible way to pre-position troops and weaponry in the event they are “needed” at a moment’s notice, as a manifestation of U.S. imperialism and global domination, and as a constant implicit threat. Additionally, because of a history of military aggression, countries with U.S. bases are targets for attack.
There are two principal problems with foreign military bases:
- All these facilities are integral to preparations for war, and as such undermine international peace and security. The bases serve to proliferate weapons, increase violence and undermine international stability.
- Bases cause social and environmental problems at a local level. Communities living around the bases often experience high levels of rapes committed by foreign soldiers, violent crimes, loss of land or livelihood, and pollution and health hazards caused by the testing of conventional or non-conventional weapons. In many countries the agreement that permitted the base stipulates that foreign soldiers who perpetrate crimes can not be held accountable, since they are granted immunity.
These military bases are highly contentious as they have negative effects on the host nations, as well as the fact that they can violate that nation’s sovereignty. There is no consensus or international framework to deal with the problems caused by foreign military bases.
The closing of U.S. foreign military bases in particular, would have a significant effect on global perceptions, and represent a massive shift in foreign relations. With each base closure, the U.S. would become less of a threat. Relations with host countries would be improved as the base real estate and facilities are rightfully returned to local government. Because the United States is far and away the most powerful and aggressive military in the world, the closing of foreign bases would represent an easing of tensions for everyone. If the U.S. makes such a gesture, it may induce other countries to address their own foreign and military policies. The closing of U.S. bases and the removal of U.S. military personnel are critical to the elimination of war.
To get involved, scroll down and contact us, or sign the Declaration of Peace here and check “I want to work on closing bases” to get involved.
To learn more, check out these resources:
Coalitions and Campaigns:
- Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases
- Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition
- Let Us Return USA — Support for the Chagossian People
- U.S. Troops Out of Germany
- Articles on this website about bases and closing them
- Mapping Where the Foreign Bases Are
- List of U.S. Bases Abroad, compiled by David Vine
- Foreign Bases That Have Been Closed, and How
- Powerpoint on closing bases. World BEYOND War Coordinating Committee Chair Leah Bolger is available to present this workshop to groups, in-person or virtually. Click here to contact Leah to arrange an event with your group.
- A report on the social and environmental risks of U.S. bases in Australia, prepared by Friends of the Earth Australia and the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network.
- Bombs in Your Backyard: searchable database that allows people in the U.S. to find military installations near them and see the toxic impacts
- A Pentagon Report released in March, 2018 details widespread chemical poisoning of water supplies on military bases and in surrounding communities worldwide.
- World BEYOND War and allies met in Dublin, Ireland, in November 2018. Text and video of David Swanson’s remarks are here. Pat Elder presented here on the subject of the environmental damage of bases. Three complete videos of the three days of the conference are here. The conference program and schedule are here.
- United States of War by David Vine
- The Sun Never Sets: Confronting the Network of U.S. Foreign Military Bases by Joseph Gerson
- Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World by David Vine
- Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia by David Vine
- The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle against U.S. Military Posts by Catherine Lutz
- Homefront by Catherine Lutz
- How to Shut Down a Military Base.
- Highlights from Conference on No Foreign Bases, January, 2018, and David Swanson’s remarks, and full conference.
- Colonialism & Contamination: Mapping U.S. Military Injustices on the Chamorro People of Guam.
- No War 2017 Workshop on Closing Bases: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
- David Vine at No War 2016.
- Kozue Akibayashi at No War 2016.
- Il Comitato No Guerra No Nato alla Prima Conferenza Internazionale Contro le Basi Militari USA/NATO.
- U.S. Vets Expose Irish Govt Complicity In War Crimes.
- Standing Army.
- Conferenza Internazionale “Pathways to Peace”.
- Koza, Okinawa: Base Town Blues.
- Sea Still Shivering -The Big Problems Of Henoko New Military Base Construction.
- China Is Not Our Enemy with Rob Kajiwara on Okinawa.
- The Overseas Military Base Empire With Leah Bolger.
- Demilitarizing the Pacific: Ryukyu, Mariana, Hawaii | UN Human Rights Council 46th Session
World BEYOND War Board President Leah Bolger is a retired U.S. Naval officer and was stationed in four foreign countries. She is available to present a one-hour webinar on U.S. bases and how to close them, upon request to your group or organization. Contact us below to schedule one.
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Get involved in working on a campaign to close bases by contacting us: