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tv   Book Discussion on Base Nation  CSPAN  September 27, 2015 3:45pm-4:53pm EDT

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>> host: here. >> guest: i didn't care about inside or out but i think we're still effective on the out we're going to stay here and make my contributions through three prongs with work on policy, media and build a center where we're reaching those minorities. hard hit in communities and helping them understand not just what has broken done and the damage hoff the welfare state but looking at new ideas how to fix these problems and reverse the trend. >> host: from "blind conceit" the congressional black caucus isn't about ideas or solving problems. >> guest: we have seen in new idead from the caucus in the last 50 years. not one new idea there are 42 members and they're communities have not just stayed stagnant. they've fallen apart. every time we get a camera to show what is happening in hard-hit baltimore, or hard-fit ferguson, or hard-hit anywhere in the country we hear the same ans out of the black caucus. we're in the 21st century. sure live they should by into
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ideas like having voucher order personalize social security so people have a stake in this great country. think about ownership. they want capital. capital is ownership and when you think about markets, markets is ownership. social security is one way we can reform it and permanent personalize it into people can have a stake the congressional black caucus stands in the way of every idea today and must be stopped. >> host: star parker, "blind conceit: politics, policy and racial polar a'size. modifying forward to save america. "there's the cover. this is booktv on c-span2.
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>> next, dived vine talked in the 800 military bases the u.s. maintains around the world and question weather they are necessary help reports that maintaining these bases costs thest taxpayers $100 billion per year. [inaudible conversations] >> good evening, i'm bradley graham. the co-oregon of politic and prose, and on behalf of the entire staff, thank you. it's terrific to see so many people here. we kind of underestimated. that's wonderful. i hear half of american university is here. and a good chunk of people from sidwell, too, i think, where david used to go to school. yes, raw raw -- rah-rah sid well. might be time to turn you've
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your cell phones. when we get to the q & a part of the session, if you have a question, make your way to microphone up here because as you can see we have c-span booktv here and we'd like to be able to pick up your question on the tape. at the end, before you rush up their get all your books signed, our staff would really appreciate it if you would fold up the chairs you're seated in and lean them against a pillar or book case, somewhere. it's really a pleasure to be hosting david vine this evening. david is an associate professor in the department of anthropology at american university. his studies of the work little of human society have ranged rather widely. he has researched topics as disparate as general trifix indication in brooklyn, basketball in the d.c. area, environmental refugees,
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homelessness and mental illness. for me past decade and a half he has taken interest in the military bases and military activities. his previous book, "island of shame" which came out six years ago, told the story of the expulsion of the -- in the 1970s from the island of deeing diego garcia in the indian ocean to make way for the military base that's there now. he also worked with a group called the network of concerned than anthropologists to -- against -- in the bush administration's war on terror. in his new book, base nation, david examines the expansive network of 800 american military bases in more than 70 countries. now to be precise, the pentagon
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counts only about five dozen major military installations abroad, but david has widened the definition of "base" to include any facility or place regularly used for military purposes. set up at the end of world war ii or in the early years of the cold war, these many, many bases now cost more than $100 billion a year to maintain, and while they were intended to shore up u.s. security, they have come under growing scrutiny and criticism amid concerns they may be making america less safe and causing more harm than good. critics argue that the deterrent value of many of these bases has diminished. at the same time as the damage they're doing to local economies and environments has worsened.
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the bases also are blamed for reinforcing images of the united states as an occupying power, and for stoking antipathy towards americaful with the end of u.s. troop involvement in iraq and afghanistan, david contends now is a good time to reexamine the tenets of this decades-old forward strategy of stationing u.s. forces in many places overseas. a review in -- commends his book as a frank and significant assessment, and publishers weekly called it eloquent and persuasive. so, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming david vine. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> wow. thank you to everyone. i paid or guilted into coming here. it's really something of a dream to get a chance to present here at -- to get a chance to present here at politics and prose, having grownup the area, and it's really amazing to see so many friends and people who i've gotten to know at many defendant aparts of my life, thank you, brad lee torques the amazing introduction. i feel like i can't -- he did the book more justice than i could with the summary he just provided. thank you to everyone here at politics and prose. i do want to thank especially friends from au, my parents, of course. to give you a sense of what a dream this is, my mom got me a
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framed drawing of the politics and prose storefront. [applause] >> meanwhile, my dad and my step mom are racing to see who can finish the book first after receiving it yesterday in the mail. thank you to everyone at hen re holt, my editor, rachel, tom, many more who helped make this book possible. over the past six years, i've been lucky enough to get to travel around the world, to visit some of these 800 military bases the united states maintains outside the 50 states and washington, dc. i was able to go to oak okinawa, wellsy in japan, italy, germany, south korea, brit tenant, honduras, would deer, guam, and the commonwealth the northern mariana islands and i want to thank all the people i met for
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happening to make the book possible. thank the members of the u.s. military and family members of military personnel. i want to thank locals i met who live in communities around our bases overseas. and i want to thank so many here in the united states, experiments of various kinds, who help speak with me and helped make the book possible in many, many ways. with that, i'd like to start sort of the back of the book oddly. if you don't mind and just read a short excerpt from the acknowledgments. i'm profoundly grateful of everyone who held me complete this book. given the breadth of the book's subject and geographic scope, i could not have written it without the assistance and generosity of hundreds of people. thank you especially to everybody who spoke with me about my research, who hosted me during my travels, and who helped arrange visits, faith tours, meetings, interviews, interpretation and translation,
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access to research materials, meals, lodging, transportation, other critical pieces of the project. authorship rightly belongs to all of us collectively. we then continue by saying: this is not a book about military bases. nessness if you're confused now, this is a "the base nation" book talk. this is not a book about military bases at face. had "base nation" is a book about people's lives. it's about the lives of people who have been affected and all too often harmed by our military bases overseas. it tell this story of military personnel and their family members, 0 loves living around the bases, of government officials, probase and antibase activists and many more.
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it intro you can see a photograph of the air station in okinawa, japan. this is a base that is surrounded entirely by a city, very large, urban area, and it is around 1200 acres. so picture an area larger than central park, entirely surrounded by local people, schools, child cair facilities, housing and the like, we
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helicopters and planes landing there every day. an area of eight times the side of the national mall. a u.s. military base surrounded by okinawa. and okinawans. it's worth thinking about whether we can conceive of living next to a foreign military base. perhaps havening an event like this interrupted by helicopter noise as so often happens in japan. well, many parts of japan but especially okinawa. the only reason i came to speak to you is because of a phone call i received 14 years ago almost to the day, on the phone was a lawyer and bradley eluded to this. the lawyer who asked me to help conduct some research about the people who once lived on islanded in the mile of the indian ocean, deeing deeing a go
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garcia. they no longer leave on diego garcia because the u.s. and british government forcibly removed the entire people as part of the construction of the u.s. military base on diego garcia. the peep were 'rooted and deported 1200 mills away to the western indian ocean islands and have been living there predominantly in imponch impoverished compile, struggling to get back to their homeland. let me read about one of the lives. it's a story that i tell in island of shame but have written a chapter in "base nation" about the people and what are at least 17 other peoples who were upbooted, displaced, forcibly removed part of the construction
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of u.s. military bases since the late 19th century. construction on deeingeing a go garcia began in 1971. in a moment oof exactly three words the navy's highest ranking admiral confirmed the people's fate. absolutely must go. with the help of u.s. navy sea bees, british agents began the deportation process by rounding up the islanders are pet dogs, gassed and burned them in cargo sheds and they watched in horror. then the authorities ordinaries the remaining people into overcrowded cargo ships. during the deportations which took place in statements until may 1973, most of the people slept in the ship's hold atop guano, bird shit. by the day of the journey, involvement, europe, and excrement was every. one woman miscared. some compared the conditions to
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those on slave ship. upon arrival in the islandes most of the people were literally left on the docks. they were homeless, jobless, and had little money. most were able to bring only a small box of belongings some a sleeping mat. ... the way they were treated was not the kind of treatment the people need to be able to live.
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and then my children and i began to suffer. all my children started getting sick. within two months of arriving two children were dead. the 2nd was buried in an unmarked grave because she lacked money for burial. we have no land. work, we have none. our children were not going to school. seem to have lost almost everything for no reason other than the happenstance of living on an island desired by the u.s. navy. most americans rarely think about us military bases overseas, like the one on diego garcia. since the end of world war ii in the early days of the cold war americans have considered it normal to have us military installations in other countries people's lands. the presence has long been accepted unquestioningly and
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treated as an obvious good, essential to national security and global piece. perhaps these bases register in our consciousness when there is an timebase. quickly they are forgotten. there are no freestanding bases on us soil today, 800 bases occupy hundreds of thousands of us troops. comes from the pentagon annual accounting of this overseas. fifty base sites outside the base sites, but they are count excludes many well-known bases like those in kuwait as well as secret bases like those in saudi arabia and israel. by my best accounting 800 is a reasonable estimate.
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although the united states has long had some bases and foreign land, the massive global deployment was unknown in us history before world war ii. now seven years after there are 174 in germany, 113 japan, 83 in south korea, hundreds more starting the planet just to name a few. worldwide we have bases in more than 70 countries. we probably have more bases and other people's lands than any other people, nation come or empire and world history. yet the subject is barely discussed in the world media rarely does anyone ask whether we need bases or can afford them. rarely does anyone consider how we would feel with a foreign based on us soil and how we would react in china, russia, or iran built even a
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single base somewhere near our borders today. for most of the idea of even the nicest, most benign foreign troops arriving with tanks, planes, and high-powered weaponry making themselves at home in our country is basically unthinkable. now, the idea that the united states needs to maintain large numbers of troops and large numbers of bases outside of the united states has basically been the question status quo, the unquestioned tenant of us foreign policy since the start of the cold war. i am happy to say that there are growing numbers of people across the political spectrum from right to left and everywhere in between
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and beyond your beginning to question the status quo. one of the most obvious reasons is the cost. overseas basesoverseas bases are extremely expensive compared to keeping troops on bases in the united states. by my estimate in 2014 on an annual basis we're spending around $85 billion per $85 billion per year to maintain bases and troops overseas, and that is a conservative estimate. that figure alonethat figure alone is larger than the budget of any government agency except the department of defense itself. and if you count -- that is not also count the cost of bases and iraq or afghanistan they're are still a goodly number in both countries. ifif you count the cost of bases and troops in those countries, the figure probably reaches somewhere around 156 billion. again, conservative estimate. beyond such financial costs,
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there are human ones. the families of military personnel are among those who suffer from the spread of overseas bases given a strain of distance to appointments, family separation, and frequent moves. overseas bases contribute to a shocking rate of sexual assault. an estimated one in three servicewomen is now assaulted in a disproportionate number of these crimes happen at bases abroad. outside the base gates, meanwhile, in places like south korea, one often finds exploitative prostitution industries that frequently rely upon human trafficking. once one begins to look closely the list of problems only goes. worldwide bases have cause widespread environmental damage because of leaks, accidents, and in some cases the deliberate burial or discharge of toxic material.
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in okinawa us troops have repeatedly committed rapes and other crimes against the local population. in population. in italy 20 died after a marine jet severed a gondola cable. today the disproportionate presence of bases in bases that like full democratic rights such as guam and puerto rico helps perpetuate a 21st-century forma 21st century form of colonialism. punishing our country's ability to be a model for democracy. indeed, despite the rhetoric about spreading democracy, the government track record when it comes to bases shows a clear preference for maintaining bases in undemocratic and often despotic states such as qatar and bahrain and the willingness to partner with unsavory characters is also entangle the us military, mafia organizations. meanwhile, imprisonment, torture, and abuse have tarnished the international
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reputation of the united states and generated anger. similarly, drone bases enabled missile strikes killing hundreds of opposition or -- men and women. foreign bases have created fertile breeding grounds for radicalism. the presence of our bases in the muslim holy land of saudi arabia was a major recruitinga major recruiting tool for al qaeda and part of osama bin laden's professed motivation for september 112001 attacks. immediately unacknowledged face of the united states, and our bases all too often show us in an extremely unflattering light. it is little wonder the base nation has frequently generated grievances, protests, and antagonistic relationships with others.
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the most crucial thing i want to.out is not at all clear that us bases overseas actually protect national security and global piece that has also often been claimed. starring the cold war there was an argument to be made that to some extent us bases in europe and asia but a legitimate role. in the absence of a superpower enemy today the argument that bases many thousands of miles from us shores are necessary to defend the united states or even its allies is much harder to sustain. to the contrary, the global collection of bases has generally been offense in the nature, making it all too easy to launch interventionist wars of choice that have resulted in repeated disasters causing millions of lives from vietnam to afghanistan to iraq. beyond that rather than stabilizing the frequently heightened military tension and discouraged diplomatic solutions to conflict.
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they become the main tool and our foreign policy toolbox placing us bases near the borders of countries such as china, russia, iran, for example, increasing threats to their security and only encourages them to respond by boosting their military spending. again, imagine how us leaders would respond if iran were to build even a single base anywhere near us orders for perhaps mexico, canada, the caribbean. perhaps the most troubling of all, the creation of knew us bases to protect against an alleged future chinese or russian threat runs the risk of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy by provoking a chinese and russian military response is bases may help create the very threat against which they are supposedly designed to protect. in other words, far from making the world a safer place us bases overseas can actually make more likely in america less secure.
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now come i would like to conclude in them looking forward to questions from everyone. and a discussion. because major motivation for this book is to begin a discussion and debate about the bases that have been on, and for so long. so i am looking forward to some of the debate tonight. but i want to conclude with the story of russell madden, a soldier based in germany who died in afghanistan, and i became aware of his story when i was connecting research in italy were part of his unit was based.
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russell madden grew up in bellevue, kentucky, a town of 6000 when he was the high school football star. a 29 he enlisted in the army, as army, as he needed health insurance to cover treatment for his four -year-old sons cystic fibrosis. he joined fibrosis. he joined because he knew that parker would be taking care of no matter what. for several years i hoped to speak with a member of his family. it struck me as a poignant story, someone joining the military just to get health insurance for six on. eventually i found russell's mother online. she had told me that they signed up for the army soon after his son was turned away by the mayo clinic no one we will ever send my son away again, she remembers russell saying. after. after russell's death that you received a standard condolence letter from president obama. i am deeply saddened to
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learn of the loss of your son, mother said. our nation will not forget his sacrifice, and we can never pay our debts your family. turning over the presidential stationary peggy addressed a response to president obama. if my son had found a decent employer and sufficient health insurance in this great land of ours, my son would not have had to sacrifice his life for his son. peggy sent the letter back to the white house. she has not received a reply. russell madden story is a reminder of the life-and-death significance of the choices connected to our base nation. unlike virtually all of the wealthy industrialized countries in which the united states maintains bases, germany, japan, south korea, britain, spain, portugal, norway the united states is not guarantee health care for its citizens in recent years. the idea of doing so is dismissed as too expensive.
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meanwhile the nation meanwhile the nation spends immense sums every year supporting a global basis structure. not the only area in which we have made questionable trade-offs. many are criticize the training system and public sector more broadly. the speed and efficiency of public transportation options are far superior to those in the united states. initially i included this observation in my notes as an aside to think from the main subject in my research. it is only later i realized the interrelated feature of the two phenomenon. we can see similar patterns when it comes to schools, housing, and other forms of
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infrastructure. what countries such as germany, japan, south korea, and italy spend large amounts supporting us bases on their soil, the military has been accompanied by an impressive investment in the lives of their citizens. meanwhile us investment and bases have come at the cost of decades neglecting transportation, health, education, housing, infrastructure commando necessities. think about what half of the 85 billion a year going into the base world could do to improve the lives of americans and people around the world. thank you. [applause]
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i look forward to taking questions about any aspect of the book, any of these specific places i visited, things that you want to take on, question, and just to remind my bradley put out at the beginning, come up to the microphone so that we can here you. if you cannot get up you can so asked her question and i will repeated for every one and the folks watching in tv land. >> it seems to me that if i recall when i worked on capitol hill admittedly back in the 70s there was a lot of discussion about closing bases overseas. primarily i think people refer to germany command we were told that the germans wanted the bases to stay open for there own security, for the economic impact. by no means am i arguing with you at all, although i am afraid that even if we
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saved all of that money away our politics goes,goes, it would not be put to any better domestic uses. but i do recall that there was discussion then. whether it is universal. >> açó number of great questions. i would begin by saying that the book is not calling for the immediate closure of every base overseas. is that is asking for careful examination of the need for every single base and on a regular basis. which congress has not done in the pentagon does not do. and i think that we have to cannot risk base closures, which i hope we will see in the future, we have to demand that that money is used more wisely. of course there is the larger problem of the home
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military budget and running into the hundreds of billions of dollars command i think that we need to question those investments as well. to go to your question about the closures in the 70s, there was a time in the wake of the war in vietnam when there were calls to pull troops and bases back to the united states command to some extent there was a drawdown after the war in vietnam, but shortly thereafter in the 80s there was a buildup, especially in the persian gulf. when it comes to the economic impact of bases in the feelings of locals you see a wide range of opinions, of course. many locals are quite happy to have the bases. many work on the bases, have benefits that come from the bases, but the economic impacts are complicated and many who are very much
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opposed to having a foreign military presence on their soil for a variety of reasons i could talk to you about more. just to follow-up on the economic impact, research has shown that while people often fear the economic consequences, they fear that in places like florida or california, new york, texas, similar fears abroad, research shows that generally speaking the economic damage is relatively slight, and communities tend to bounce back quite quickly, and in some cases actually end up better off than they were with the base because they essentially create much more sustainable,sustainable, vibrant economies, transforming bases into schools, housing, shopping, and many other uses. >> ii think it is greatly you are doing. >> thank you. >> i, david. >> hey, susan. >> congratulations on the book.
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i am a lefty peacenik. i like the beginning. >> not publicly. >> good. so i guess you said that i -- there are arguments across the political spectrum, and so i am interested in what arguments you think we will have the most traction on the right because this could be perhaps dismissive. a lefty peaceniks are just anti- military. other arguments that respect people who want us to have a strong military but can still make a drawdown in basis. >> dollars and cents, not surprisingly. none other than donald trump was talking about closing bases overseas. why are we spending so much money defending germany? i was spending so much money defending japan? and i think how does aa base
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in germany defend the united states or germany for that matter or anyone in europe where they are basically, there is no major military threat that could conceivably take on the military might of european nato allies. but dollars and cents, we see people like kay bailey hutchison it was nice enough to offer some nice words on the back of the book, but there are others like john hester from montana who are saying i would love to have thousands of troops from germany come back to my state to have, you know, their incomes and spending benefit our local economy. so i think these are arguments that we need to embrace, and i am hoping with the book to begin reaching out even more to people across the political spectrum to build something of an alliance, bipartisan and multipart us an alliance
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how like, you know, the revolutionary or revolts that occurred, maybe even particularly to the arab spring work affected by or intersected these bases as they existed, at least in the persian gulf area or middle east. but i don't know if anywhere else in the world maybe. i would love to here anything about that. >> thank you. let me see if i can get to them all. maybe i will go in reverse order. you are exactly right. the obama administration was very quiet when it came to the pro-democracy protest, command these were violent protests that led to death and torture and other repression. so you see a clear case where our bases abroad are actively restraining the spread of democracy and actively adding -- aiding
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and propping up oppressive regimes, which i think, you know, should be deeply troubling to us all. inall. in my mind that should not be a single us military base and an undemocratic country. i don't know if that makes me a lefty. it would seem to me that anyone who believes in democracy should not be supporting countries that are not democratic. so, the economic impact on the cultural and social impact, economic impacts goes away in a place like open our. there have been huge protests in okinawa for decades i is the us military presence. the united states basically ruled okinawa as a colony until 1972, unlikelike the rest of japan, which regained its at least de facto independence more quickly after world war ii.
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the united states has been returning some base land for the past decade or so, and you see numerous examples where land has been converted into shopping areas, housing, offices, schools, see similar things in germany, for example. and i think, okinawa is a gorgeous tropical island. except that it is dominated by us military bases. 20 percent of the main island is currently us military bases. think about 20 percent of rhode island, for example, covered by a foreign military presence. butbut gorgeous tropical island bases do not tend to encourage tourism. so if you return the land suddenly often you have literal beachfront opened up that can be developed into tourist purposes, for example, and many others.
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the cultural and social impacts are complicated. you would think is a socio-culturalas a sociocultural anthropologist it would be something i would pay attention to. and of course, i do. and they are broad and deeply complicated ranging from liaisons between military personnel and locals, romantic and otherwise, some that have produced thousands of offspring, many of whom have been abandoned at a much larger level you see interesting culinary fusions , but that is a theme that i think runs throughout the book. thank you. >> thank you very much for all of your excellent work on this fascinating topic. i am curious to know if any in-depth cost-benefit analysis is being performed
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on significant parts of the us foreign base system over the past five to ten years by congress, the department of defense, or independent military experts. and if thereand if there have been any, what do you think of the quality of the methodologies and conclusions that have resulted from those, and why do you think there has not been more pressure for justifying the existing network and for taking action to assess it and adjusted on a cost-benefit basis. >> thank you. great question. i would start by saying that many of you are probably aware that when it comes to closing bases in the us there is a congressionally mandated process of base realignment and closure.
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and in that process there is a complicated analysis of every base input space should be closed. there is no such process for bases overseas. largely congress has basically abdicated much of the responsibility for its oversight when it comes to bases abroad. military construction in particular is just the military asks for something and often there are polite questions and some pushback, but the military just gets what it wants.wants. i will say in the past several years they're have been encouraging signs were finally beginning with budgetary pressures to say, wait a 2nd, do we need to be building billions of dollars worth of new bases in europe at the same time we are closing bases in europe? in terms of the cost-benefit analysis, i the rand corporation,, hardly a
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bunch of lefty peaceniks, government-funded rand corporation refer to the study before and show that bases abroad do not allow the united states to deploy military forces any faster on the whole then bases in the domestic united states. states. to the extent that there are any benefits when it comes to time, they are far outweighed by the cost of maintaining bases overseas. again, the other similar study was carried out by the bush administration, hardly lefty peaceniks. thank you. >> aa general question as to what the utility of all of this is when we got into afghanistan and iraq people than a bunch of reserves rather than using this massively globally deployed army, and i, and i always wondered why 1st -ranked soldiers well-trained were not brought into a fight and
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instead relied upon reserves you do not see from the bases the verbal and dimensions and domestic conflicts. when isys pops up you do not see action for many of these bases. instead, we put ships in the ocean and fly sorties. i am sort of at a loss for why we waste such an incredible amount of rick and money on something which seems to be utterly ineffective i don't see how it furthers the military policy. we have to look at the larger us military budget a budget that in 2010 reads the heights of the cold war. in fact taking money away
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from threats facing the united states of various kinds from any terrorist threat to threats to our health and education and other forms of well-being. so i think that is certainly part of the problem. and problem. and it is not so well known, but the pentagon, when billions of dollars go missing or cannot be accounted for, that is treated as part of every day business. the pentagon cannot pass an audit. the only government agency that cannot pass an audit. this should be profoundly disturbing but gets a pass. if the food stamp program lost $6 people would be up in arms. of course a slight exaggeration, you get to the point. there is not the level of criticism or critical analysis when it comes to the pentagon budget
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generally globally and this base infrastructure. thank you. the next speaker is a relative. i primed him. this is totally unfair. so disclosure. >> thank you for paying me to show up. i am curious to no if there were benefits to the praise -- bases abroad. identify benefits. i am curious to know if there are any. can you briefly tell us the story of the jorge for? >> interesting, which i am not even sure pops up in the book. i guess a brief mention. the 2nd question 1st, the us military presence in ecuador up until 2009.
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and just a slight aside, the president of ecuador pointed to some of the blindness the people in the united states after these bases overseas when he said that he would renew the lease on the base on one condition, that the united states allow ecuador to put a base in miami. abcaseven he said, you know, if there is no problem having a us base in ecuador, why should there be a problem having an ecuadorian base miami which is totally inconceivable to us. but ii think that it is worth trying to put ourselves in the shoes of people living next are bases around the world. what it would be like to have helicopters and planes flying overhead, the danger of crashes, accidents that do happen. okinawa just in the past week or two. so in ecuador, there are a number of fishing vessels that were -- a number of
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things happened with us naval vessels intercepting these fishing vessels, that they suspected of trafficking drugs. this one vessel that was being referred to disappeared. sound, presumably command all of the fishers on board died leaving behind a group of widows who have been organizing and struggling for truth and justice when it comes to the faith of their hazardous to meet the widows in ecuador. they suspect that the us military censorship. and i have not seen enough evidence it's aa firm would conclude that, but there is certainly some circumstantial evidence that that is, in fact, the case.
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benefits, benefits to bases. again, during the cold war there was a legitimate argument that bases in germany or italy were protecting western europe. you can certainly consider those benefits. i think at a different level we have seen a range of very positive interactions between us military personnel and local -- also we have military personnel committing crimes and being involved in accidents that cause death and other greatest damage. but we do see very encouraging forms of engagement. one of the arguments is, i think, these bases that we generally don't pay much attention to are a major way in which the united states is engaging with the rest of the world. and i think we need to begin
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to think about and find other forms of engagement. the argument is not to close all the bases and go home and retreat to some isolationist united states. if the argument is if it will be closing bases overseas, we also need to boost a diplomatic engagement send more foreign service officers abroad and find other ways of social, diplomatic, economic forms of engagement. >> hey david, hey peter. >> the book looks great. when i was in okinawa last summer i met with al magleby the us consul general, top us official to discuss the situation. he said that the base relocation was absolutely essential location related to china and korea okinawa
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people are irrational that will force them to accept this. the approach to this. the click they're would be some change in japan. it was obama who destroyed him. ran on blocking the base relocation, and obama insisted upon in which brought down the government. i am curious about what you see as obama's attitude about this. also, i missed the beginning, but i am also am also curious about biden and clinton and some of the republicans. are any of the democrats making any sense on this question? >> a lot of great questions. so, i can refer again to the
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handout which most people were able to take a look at or maybe could share. on the back you see this completely surrounded by one city and open okinawa. for 20 years they're has been a plan to close the bases, which some describe as the world's most dangerous base and build a new base in okinawa. again, the us military controls about 20 percent already and built a new base and a no go. this generated intense intense opposition and really almost universal opposition among okinawans to the idea that a new base with built in okinawa. so, at this point some construction has started, but there is a one-month moratorium right now and the base may never get built.
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the -- there are, of course, the marines in particular are the predominant force in okinawa and argue that must be there. we are a deterrent force. they are growing numbers of people across the political spectrum, and this goes back to susan's questions about arguments, 2nd appeals across the political spectrum, a base located so close to the asian mainland is extraordinarily vulnerable given the increased range of north korean or chinese missiles. now, i don't see korea and impoverished -- impoverished nation that would face tremendous retribution if it were to attack okinawa. i don't see that happening anytime soon, but that there are a growing
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number of people questioning the strategic value of the bases in okinawa. as i discussed in my chapter , the -- i discuss the chapter called masters of extortion, one way to understand the marines, really holding onto the bases in okinawa is that they fear for their existence. if you force them to leave okinawa, many within the service fear that people would be in questioning the dead. it has effectively become a 2nd army. so this has been a symbolic base.
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complicated, and address that relationship with okinawa in japan. to get to your other question about democrats, ron paul, the former republican candidate for president was another who spoke out against us bases overseas and questioned and called for the closure of many bases. you don't see all that many prominent democrats making similar calls. i think that there are some people trying to push bernie sanders in this direction, but as far as i know he has said nothing about overseas bases. i did just remember, you might have noticed a discrepancy between the figures are provided for the cost of bases and troops overseas and the figures that you see on the flip side of the map because i
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updated the figures from what you see in the book to provide a more recent estimate. >> thank you so much for a great presentation and what i imagine is a wonderful book that i look forward to reading. i wanted to push you from the political realist kind of perspective and see what your response would be. they would be some out they're who would say in fact we vitally need these bases. in fact, we need them most of all in the autocratic states because were we to withdraw than china and russia than other nations you have no trouble dealing with autocrats would quickly move in. moreover, japan's, the philippines, other areas in the south china sea would quickly become prey to the chinese were already making aggressive overtures and would lose our hegemony, our influence around the world, aside whatever we may think of that influence. but this is crucial to our economy, culture, and if we
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see any ground than we give it to those who are much -- much fewer scruples than we have and would only reap more devastation and destruction of the world. >> a great and complicated question. that is important to take on. i of course always question that child. of course one has to start there. part of what your question points to is the danger of our continuing to maintain so many bases overseas. some are predicting this is going to lead to what has been referred to as base racism, russia, china are increasingly going to look to build more overseas bases.
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as far as we know, china does not have any, but there are rumblings that there might be a first. so, actually, in my mind, in my mind, it is a good moment for the united states to begin calling for something of a moratorium on overseas bases except under very strict conditions. i am not an absolutist, but there should be no foreign bases command ii think there are some circumstances in which it might be entirely appropriate for a foreign power to be located on alice will. i think that we need to begin to question,question, again, the -- some of the fundamental tenets of our foreign policy. bases, of course, are meant to threaten. again, they get talked about in terms of spreading democracy often, but i think that we see in places like some of the autocratic states in the persian gulf,
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are bases popping up in oppressive regimes and helping to step down movement toward greater democracy, i think in pulling out -- the solution cannot be pull out and say goodbye. we wantgoodbye. we want to continue to engage with those countries and push them in other ways to become more democratic and to resist the possibility of another power simply taking over. it now -- it would not be much of a benefit in my mind for the world to have the us pullout of the basin bahrain and china just takes his place, thank you for that good question. >> how are you? >> good. thank you for coming. >> a few quick questions. to questions. to what extent do you think foreign governments are either complicit in or have been forced into having military bases in their countries, and the 2nd question, to what extent do
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you think he's very real consequences on the people of these countries, what does that play into us policy, or is it a part of their calculus? >> say the 2nd question again. >> to what extent do the real consequences of these military bases, is that really considered by us foreign-policy makers or is it just look at the dollar bills? >> thank you. two great questions. so, foreign governments are often deeply complicit in the presence of bases on their soil. it is important point out
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the legal or political basis for many of our bases overseas is often secretive are not secretive secret agreements. in italy, for example, no one has been able to see them since they were signed in the 1950s. again, deeply troubling. of course, these bases actually serve as a powerful letter for the united states to put pressure on host nations and host nation governments, the threat of pulling out alone are slight. politically speaking, a great cost to a local politician or a national politician who is seen to the united states to leave. having a base in another country in many ways i see as providing something of a trojan horse.
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once established it becomes a lever of power for the us. from a realist perspective, you can argue that that is great. we should operate that way in the world. i am not sure that is the image of the united states that we would want to portray command ii do not think it is the country i want to live in. and to what extent are the consequences considered? they are considered in the sense that, for example, protest is something the us military does not delight to have to deal with. the marines are holding on okinawa, but they are -- and basically and effectively have been theabout the japanese government to deal with the negative consequences of all of the protest. so, certainly protest is a major consideration, but i think all too often some of the harmful effects that we see the local populations, displacement, environmental damage, accidents, crime, and the list goes on, they
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are not considered, they are not seen. i think that is a major part of the problem, one of the major aims of my book, to make visible these bases and what they are doing in the world. >> we are just about out of time, but let me ask the final question because i did noti did not want to and without at least clarifying that there has been some rather systematic evaluation of us bases over the last 15 to 20 years. the evaluation of foreign bases has formally been a part done in parallel with the base realignment and closure commission. and if you look in western europe, the number of troops is diminished quite significantly as well as the number of bases. you make an interesting point in your book that there has been, at the same
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time they have downsized pouring millions of dollars more into refurbishing it and renovating some of the structures made. but there has been an attempt to grapple with this. >> there has. the half. but i think we have seen contradictory trends. often well bases have been close in europe going back to the bush administration, and significant numbers of bases, we have seen this increasing build up of bases in the persian gulf, but you are absolutely right the pentagon has engaged. the military construction system is so out of control you have examples where new
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schools are built. so millions of dollars is invested. i hope that they are able to use these facilities. and the overseas base commission with several members of the cement mandated about a decade ago but effectively had no impact. [applause] >> copies are available at the cash register. please form aligned to the right of the table and remember to fold up your chairs. thank you.


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