Expanding empire

One should never believe the Pentagon when they are talking about the U.S. empire.

Whether the catchword is “point of enduring containment” (a military mega-base the size of a small city) or “lily pads” (small, secretive, inaccessible military facilities), the rationale and intent are the same: the active expansion of lethal U.S. military force all over the globe covered up by militaryspeak.

These “lily pads” are a highly invasive, very dangerous aquatic weed, whose expansion is designed to facilitate a super frog’s ability to leap toward and consume its prey.

Washington maintains the largest collection of foreign military bases in world history: more than 1,000 military installations outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C. They include everything from decades-old bases in Germany and Japan to brand-new drone bases in Ethiopia and the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean.

In Afghanistan, the U.S.-led international force still occupies more than 450 bases. In total, the U.S. military has some form of troop presence in approximately 150 foreign countries, not to mention 11 aircraft carrier task forces — essentially floating bases — and a significant and growing military presence in space. The U.S. currently spends an estimated $250 billion annually maintaining bases and troops overseas.

In the early months of 2001, the Bush administration launched a major global offensive that’s continuing today with Obama’s “Asia pivot,” a realignment of strategic forces aimed towards China. Already, in Australia, U.S. Marines are settling into a shared base in Darwin. Elsewhere, the Pentagon is pursuing plans for a drone-and-surveillance base in Australia’s Cocos Islands and deployments to Brisbane and Perth. In Thailand, the Pentagon has negotiated rights for new Navy port visits and a “disaster-relief hub” at U-Tapao.

In the Philippines, where mass protests evicted the U.S. from the massive Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base in the early 1990s, as many as 600 Special Forces troops have quietly been operating in the country’s south since January 2002. Elsewhere in Asia, the Pentagon has rebuilt a runway on tiny Tinian Island, near Guam.

And Asia is just the beginning. In Africa, the Pentagon has quietly created about a dozen air bases for drones and surveillance since 2007. The military has created or will soon create installations in Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Sudan and Uganda. The Pentagon has also investigated building bases in Algeria, Gabon, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria, among other places

In Latin America, the Pentagon has created or upgraded new bases in Aruba and Curaçao, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador and Peru.

In Europe, after invading the Balkans during their wars against Bosnia and Serbia, U.S. bases have moved eastward into some of the former socialist countries. The Pentagon is now developing installations capable of supporting brigade-sized deployments in Romania and Bulgaria, and missile defense base and aviation facilities in Poland.

There is a name for these ominous developments: imperialism. It needs to be stopped.

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