August 7, 2009

Trimming the cost of the Empire

Obviously, the U.S. government can't afford all its overseas commitments. So, which should we cut back and how much would we save by leaving Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Germany, Kenya, and the like?

For example, almost 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have 56,200 military personnel based in Germany. Doing what, exactly? Protecting Germany from whom? France? Poland?

We have 33,000 troops in Japan, another expensive country, and 28,000 in South Korea.

Here's the strategic conundrum about having foreign bases with fairly large numbers of troops instead of either a huge number of troops, as during the Fulda Gap years, or just a caretaker staff to keep the base in shape in case it ever becomes needed. It's relatively cheap to keep the main battle tanks from the 1980s in storage in Germany and pay German civilian mechanics to keep them tuned up (Germans are good at tank maintenance). In case of war, we could easily fly in that many troops in a couple of days (the military has plans to borrow the fleets of Fed Ex and the big airlines, so restocking Germany with 56,200 soldiers would require, say, 112 flights of 747s), assuming we maintain air supremacy over the oceans.

Now, you might say, that's a Big If. But, if we've lost air supremacy over the oceans, well, then these poor bastards in these forward bases are dead. So, what's the war-fighting reason for deploying only moderately large numbers of troops overseas? It sounds like we have, in the unlikely event of a central European war, not enough troops in Germany to win, but, instead, just enough troops to suffer the worst defeat in American history.

Moreover, in a number of countries, most notably South Korea, leaving would do more for American popularity than anything else imaginable. For example, Seoul is a horribly overbuilt city with a gigantic green space in the middle of the city -- the U.S. military base, which we could simply give to the nation of Korea to become the Central Park of Seoul. Moreover, as Dennis Dale has pointed out from his Army service in Korea and Okinawa, thousands of horny 20-year-olds don't make the most diplomatic ambassadors for America.

The most overlooked cost-saving would be unilaterally granting independence to Puerto Rico, because we spends tens of billions each year bribing Puerto Ricans to stay home. PR no longer even has a Navy base. In the long run, the key American ally in the Caribbean will be the naturally dominant country, Cuba, making PR even more dispensable.

Maybe, it would be easier to start over with figuring out which overseas assets are truly useful. For example, Diego Garcia, the fortress island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is highly useful, and inexpensive because it's uncontested, having no real indigenous population.

Similarly, the various bases the U.S. has in friendly countries around the Persian Gulf, such as Turkey and Bahrain, seem well worth the price of guarding the flow of oil from the greatest prize in world history.

After that, well, there are a lot of refueling bases here and there, which shouldn't cost too much, and can be left with skeleton crews in times of peace.

So, what do we really need and what do we really not need?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

101 comments:

Glaivester said...

Maybe, it would be easier to start over with figuring out which overseas assets are truly useful. For example, Diego Garcia, the fortress island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is highly useful, and inexpensive because it's uncontested, having no real indigenous population.

No, it is uncontested because the Limeys got rid of the indigenous population.

There is a difference.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we would save too much money by shutting down our overseas bases. Most of our forces are already deployed in US territory.

Personnel stationing

Overseas
As of March 31, 2008, U.S. Forces were stationed at more than 820 installations in at least 39 countries.[17] Some of the largest contingents are the 142,000 military personnel in Iraq, the 56,200 in Germany, the 33,122 in Japan, 28,500 in Republic of Korea, 31,100 in Afghanistan and approximately 9,700 each in Italy and the United Kingdom. These numbers change frequently due to the regular recall and deployment of units.

Altogether, 84,488 military personnel are located in Europe, 154 in the former Soviet Union, 70,719 in East Asia and the Pacific, 7,850 in North Africa, the Near East, and South Asia, 2,727 are in sub-Saharan Africa with 2,043 in the Western Hemisphere excepting the United States itself.


[edit] Within the United States
Including U.S. territories and ships afloat within territorial waters

A total of 1,083,027 personnel are on active duty within the United States and its territories (including those afloat):[18] The vast majority, 883,430 of them, are stationed at various bases within the Continental United States. There are an additional 36,827 in Hawaii and 19,828 in Alaska. 90,218 are at sea while there are 2,970 in Guam and 137 in Puerto Rico.

kurt9 said...

We could remove the Marines from Okinawa and all troops from Japan. Keep Yokosuka as a forward Navy base in Japan but remove our troops and bases from everywhere else in East Asia. Ditto for Germany and anywhere in Western Europe except for a few aircraft refueling facilities.

Yes indeed, the Limeys forced out the indigenous population from Diego Garcia.

The following website contains links to stories about this.

http://www.jamesphogan.com/bb/bulletin.php?id=194

Anonymous said...

There's an island out on the easternmost edge of the Mediterranean that we would do well to ignore.

Would save us quite a bit in so many ways.

Steve Sailer said...

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have 56,200 people based in Germany?!?

Ronduck said...

We could save even more by ending welfare. We do benefit from having *relative* global peace and I don't see why we should give that up so that there will be more money in the budget for food stamps and subsidies for bastard children.

We spend more money to maintain an internal empire that requires us to bribe minorities fro rioting than we spend ruling the world.

And the damn minorities still riot.

Let's! said...

"So, which should we cut back and how much would we save by leaving Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Germany, Kenya, and the like?"

Steve's idealism is admirable, but diverting defense funding into Michelle Obama/Valerie Jarrett pet projects (which is what would actually happen with the money) doesn't really count as any kind of savings.

Ronduck said...

In fact, we spent more inflating the friggin housing bubble than we do policing the world. If world peace collapses after we withdraw then we could end up unleashing a much larger war, which could cost us dearly.

Peace, and what is left of our civilization, is too important to be thrown away cheaply, and nowadays there is no Soviet Union to move to fill in the gap we will leave behind, leaving only chaos instead.

We should make the hard choices about how much we blow on minorities. But then we never should have elected Obama either.

Anonymous said...

Give Attu -a dinky island at the end of the island chain off Alaska-
give Attu to either Russia or Japan, whoever doesn't get the islands north of Japan those two have been snarling over since WWII. Right now Russia has the disputed island, so we offer Attu to Japan.
Gain- peace and quiet in the North Pacific.
Lose- Japan would get some fishing rights. Or if Russia took Attu and gave Japan their islands back, they'd have fishing rights plus some logical claim over the Bering Strait.
Also we'd have to rebury some war dead and give some Indians compensation. Tlingits maybe? I think we're hosing them enough we owe them anyhow.

Limey Oik said...

I couldn't wait to jump in and say that Diego Garcia is owned by Britain and the reason it has no indigenous population is because we shipped them all somewhere else. Mauritius I believe.

But it looks like some of my cousins across the Atlantic beat me to it.

I gather the indigenous Diego Garcians are pretty pissed off about it.

Charles Krauthammer said...

After that, well, there are a lot of refueling bases here and there, which shouldn't cost too much, and can be left with skeleton crews in times of peace.

Dude, there is no such thing!!!

albertosaurus said...

Are we an empire? Or are we the world government?

How much money and effort would a country with international interests (like Israel or Saudi Arabia) invest in th UN or the US?

When the men from Mars land, will they go to New York or Washington?

Seen that way, US miliary expenditures isn't the problem. The problem is how to tax other nations.

Anonymous said...

Europe: all forces out of Germany and Britain, plus the bits we still have in Italy. If they must stay, base them in Romania and Bulgaria--the host nations are willing, the women are reasonably hot, and strategically it makes more sense, as they are simultaneously a) at a jumping-off point much closer to the Middle East for quick transition to CENTCOM operations, and b) a lot closer to Russia to keep Moscow on its toes. Oh, and immediately abandon the Bosnian and Kossovo garrisons--we are now far enough removed from the War of Clinton's Dick that even a Democrat POTUS can safely (and quietly) end that commitment.

Middle East: Take the peacekeeping battalions out of the Sinai (as if Egypt is really going to attack Israel again, or as if Israel wants to occupy that wasteland again). Wind down Afghanistan. BUT, keep whatever forces we want in the region in hardened, non-urban cantonments and airfields in Iraq. Not as crazy as it sounds--the risks are manageable now, and Mesopotamia is a much more strategically sensible place to consolidate a presence that can influence the whole region. And consolidate it all--no more Army staging bases in Kuwait or Navy bases/depots in Bahrain: Gulf states are expensive in a way Iraq is not. If we must, most of the Iraq garrison can be in Kurdistan--in a couple years Erbil will not even be classified as a hardship post, and junior officers will angle for assignments there way before Korea or even Japan.

East Asia: 100% out of ROK. 90% out of Okinawa...maybe keep a USMC air wing there, but no more. Navy out of Japan. Consolidate everything in that region in Guam (US territory and a solidly supportive population). If there's not enough room, I seem to recall that back in the late 70s/early 80s the Pentagon had contingency plans to re-militarize nearby Tinian. Dust 'em off: the WW2 airfields are still there, and one day's worth of bulldozing the vegetation off the runways would allow you to land half the planes in the entire Air Force there. Still cheaper than maintaining expensive bases in Japan.

Latin America: spot on about Cuba, but not even far enough. Steve and others may disagree violently, but American strategists as far back as John Quincy Adams recognized that Cuba is just too close to the US to ever be truly independent from it absent foreign sponsorship. Given that, why even bother with the pretense? Whoever is POTUS when the balloon goes up should offer snap statehood to the Cubans--it'll be a once-in-a-century chance that has been contemplated pretty much since the US was founded, whatever white nationalists might want to believe. (You do know we first tried buying it outright in the Pierce Administration in the early 1850s, right? Heck, even the CSA planned on acquiring it!). Then we can offload the Puerto Ricans ASAP.

There is only one place where the US should probably consider getting into where we presently are not, at least with a credible naval and air base or bases: Southeast Asia. Yes, the idea has been poison since, oh, some bit of unpleasantness in the 60s and 70s, but it's time to get our head out of the past and into the future. And that future will require stiffening the Southeast Asians into our proxies to keep the PRC ringed in that direction. One possibility includes the Navy to Cam Ranh Bay in a postcommunist Viet Nam, but I'd like to suggest we actually go cap in hand back to the Filipinos and see if we couldn't maybe set up shop somewhere like Cebu--closer to the action but far away from the main population centers and the bad memories of GI shenanigans around Clark and Subic Bay.

eh said...

...we have 56,200 military personnel based in Germany. Doing what, exactly?

Economically, some areas of Germany rely significantly on the presence of American troops and bases. I'm sure the German government lobbies against cutbacks.

dearieme said...

It's not just a matter of trimming the cost - you might need those soldiers at home soon.

tommy said...

Iraq and Afghanistan: More trouble than they're worth.

Europe: We aren't needed or wanted. Pull us out.

Japan: Isn't time to allow the Japanese to have a real military again?

South Korea: The South Koreans are ingrates and the occasional sexual misadventure in the Far East doesn't help our cause. I agree, pull our people off the ROK.

No, it is uncontested because the Limeys got rid of the indigenous population.

There was no indigenous population in the period prior to European exploration. There were slaves that were, if I recall correctly, imported by the French. The British removed the descendants of these slaves back to their native Mauritius.

Anonymous said...

"There is only one place where the US should probably consider getting into where we presently are not, at least with a credible naval and air base or bases: Southeast Asia. Yes, the idea has been poison since, oh, some bit of unpleasantness in the 60s and 70s, but it's time to get our head out of the past and into the future."

Yea, verily. And that unpleasantness? That's water under the bridge. Seriously, the Vietnamese hate the Chinese. They always knew we'd eventually go home. China has tried to dominate them for centuries. They are the real enemy of Vietnam, they invaded Vietnam most recently in 1979 (and plenty of times before, ran the place for a while, got tossed out, etc...). The PRC got hosed real bad, the Vietnamese were at the top of their game. But they'll try again. The US and Vietnam will be "allies" someday, believe it.

Anonymous said...

In case of war, we could easily fly in that many troops in a couple of days (the military has plans to borrow the fleets of Fed Ex and the big airlines, so restocking Germany would be, say, 112 flights of 747s), assuming we maintain air supremacy over the oceans.

Um, that air bridge would have simply given us several thousand lightly-armed, un-supplied troops in the Fulda Gap. Easy meat for the Soviet tank columns. The trick, and the plan, was always to keep the sea lanes open while those troops' heavy equipment was shipped, and that would take time. A lot more time than we probably would have had (those yearly REFORGER exercises always were a bit of a paper tiger sham).

Sorry Steve, the fact of the matter is in modern warfare, if you want a credible rapid reaction force, some substantial forward deployment of men and materiel is going to be necessary. Logistics are a bitch.

Bruce Banned said...

Pulling out all troops might save some billions, but I'm afraid the dollar would lose its status as world reserve currency overnight as a result.
The Empire keeps the dollar afloat. Without troops the Saudis and the Chinese would dump the dollar.
The American economy might take 2 decades to recover, if at all.

silly girl said...

Remind me again how many surplus Chinese men there are.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is, we are going to have to face China at some point. China would never have been much of a threat if we had not built them up, but we did.

Personally, I think there is going to be a shooting war in Korea and it will mean South Korea will be overrun without us. Actually i prefer this to the Middle East because it's a WAR, at which we can win, instead of a police action which we can only lose.

We are in Japan because wthout us they will remilitarize and compete with us on weapons sales. We ( and the British Army of the Rhine) are in Germany to keep nationalist spirit down, but given the symbiosis between the BNP and NPD...

Thomas said...

"It sounds like we have, in the unlikely event of a central European war, not enough troops in Germany to win, but, instead, just enough troops to suffer the worst defeat in American history."

Actually, that's partially the point, Steve. Those middleweight contingents represent lower-cost investments of credibility, lower than maintaining Cold War-levels, in any case. Certainly in the case of Japan and the ROK, those troops represent tangible commitments of the US to their defense from, respectively, China and the DPRK. No President, well, no President who wants to be reelected or see his desired successor elected, is going to let tens of thousands of US troops die. So those troops are, in the classical understanding of the word, hostages.

Germany is a somewhat different case, though a resurgent Russia could be a potential aggressor, even into Eastern Europe if not all the way to the Rhine. But that US commitment has encouraged the Germans to decisively abandon their military tradition and make do with a perfunctory force of two-year draftees and an aging and unfit careerist cadre. In any case, it keeps the unemployment rolls down a bit from what they otherwise would be.

Anonymous said...

No, it is uncontested because the Limeys got rid of the indigenous population.

And just why did we remove the population of DG, just for the Hell of it, nothing on TV that day?

Or because our American pals wanted it as a base?

Of course it must be the former.

So we get to take the moralistic s**t for that and the US gets the military benefit. I presume there is something we get in return from the US - but no-one actually seems to know what it is.

Lindsay said...

In the latest edition of "The Late 'n Great US of A is Utterly Beyond Hope at this Point", the following gem from the NY Times:

"Sotomayor Fans Claim the Phrase 'Wise Latina'"

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/fashion/09latina.html?_r=1&hp

"One of Senator Van de Putte’s T-shirt recipients was Ellen Riojas Clark, a professor of bicultural and bilingual studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio who helped create a “Wise Latina Educators” group on Facebook. Professor Riojas Clark said the members wanted to exchange information about how to inspire young Latinos to pursue degrees and careers."

"John H. McWhorter, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research who is a linguist and a frequent commentator about race, said words or phrases often become part of a group’s vernacular when they enable people to assert themselves, reclaim a slur or redress an offense, as in the ownership of the word “bitch” among educated women or “thug” among young African-Americans.

“One thing that helps something catch on is the perception of an enemy outside,” he said. “It’s pride, but pride born in opposition.”

“ ‘Wise Latina’ is not just sticking your chin up,” he added. “It’s a fist in the air.”"

"“I related greatly to it because you have to be really wise to wake up in the morning and go to school and work and come home and not get involved in the negative things in your neighborhood,” said Sharitza Lopez, 24, a junior at City College who works as a legal assistant in a law firm and is raising a 2-year-old son in the Bronx, where Justice Sotomayor grew up."

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer said...
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have 56,200 people based in Germany?!?

And when you add in the U.S. civilian support (professional services) and locals (administrative, custodial, food service, construction and services) that's probably 150,000 or so salaries.

PR

testing99 said...

We probably CAN trim the number of bases Steve. But your analysis is as usual all wet. No, we can't forward re-supply across oceans. Heavy fighting units, not Airborne Infantry, need equipment and supplies pre-positioned. Not too near probable combat zones but not far away. The idea we could move say the First ID via Fed-Ex planes is laughable. THAT takes sealift, which is why pre-positioning near flashpoints is a good idea, if for nothing else it keeps people from having unhealthy ideas.

Then there's the trip-wire argument. South Korea and Japan face a large threat from both North Korea and China. Remove US forces, and they WILL go nuclear. Which in turn ups the ante for arms races for everyone and removes US control. Basically the US trades control over what happens in NE Asia with troops as triggers for North Korean aggression by paying for the expensive location of the troops. Is that control worth having? How much is the cost of a war launched by unpredictable North Korea, which is also fragile?

The idea that Castro-run (by one of his relatives) Cuba will be anything other than hostile is a fantasy. And Democrats will never permit the over-throwing of the Castro Dynasty. An Independent Puerto Rico will be nothing more than another Castro allied dynasty hostile to the US. Like Venezuela and elsewhere. Possibly with Iranian missiles, nuclear tipped if Obama has any say. That's ten kinds of stupid Steve. You're out of your area of expertise.

Germany? Maybe, but then we give up having any influence in the Eastern Med or that part of the Arab-Israeli world. Which means things happen without our control.

Ronduck is right. Throwing away the ability to influence events and help maintain peace is a foolish thrift.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Hey - maybe a little off-topic, but it turns out that yesterday's Twitter/Facebook outage was due to Putin's people DDOS'ing a dissident Georgian:

Twitter, Facebook DDoS Attack Targeted One User
Friday August 07, 2009, @ 09:54AM
it.slashdot.org

...The blogger, who uses the account name 'Cyxymu' (the name of a town in the Republic of Georgia), had accounts on all of the different sites that were attacked at the same time, Max Kelly, chief security officer at Facebook, told CNet News... Larry Magid writes on CNet that this individual blogs about independence of a breakaway region of Georgia...

Steve Sailer said...

But, are 56,200 troops in Germany enough to win the coming Facebook War?

Anonymous said...

-Germany? Maybe, but then we give up having any influence in the Eastern Med or that part of the Arab-Israeli world. Which means things happen without our control.-

Gotta tell ya, plenty of stuff goes on without US control. Here we are trying to "control" stuff in the ME and meanwhile a bunch of muslims lived here until they flew planes into buildings 8 years ago. Of course no lesson can be drawn form this... That aircraft carrier called Israel we should be using is no longer in service... Besides, screw the Krauts, we have bases in Italy. Closer to the Eastern Med, if that makes you feel better. As for the Russians, they have Europe by the balls. The Europeans are terrified of the Russkies and the Russkies know and and enjoy it. Remember when the gas supply from Russia to Europe experienced "interruptions" last winter? And when I say "interruptions" I mean obvious shutting off the flow to show the softy Euros who is boss. And also just to squeeze them because that's what Putin/Medvedev like to do. They aren't some Ivy league pussies who think they're the smartest people around. They're state school alumni from LSU. They've already rolled the Georgians (and they're gonna do it again) and they've rolled Obama. leave the Germans to the Russkies, I could care less.

Eric said...

When we ejected the Iraqis from Kuwait in 1991 it took five months to get everything ready. You really do need prepositioned material to fight a modern war unless you're in the position to take your sweet time.

Now, having said that let me say the Europeans are in a position to defend themselves, with the contemporary Russian army a pale shadow of Soviet forces. Whether or not we need Ramstein depends on where it fits in the logistical picture for the Middle East and Asia.

Subcomandante Dave said...

"The idea that Castro-run (by one of his relatives) Cuba will be anything other than hostile is a fantasy."

Good point, with a GDP of well over a hundred billion dollars they represent a serious threat to America. That's nearly ten grand per capita! Add the Puerto Rican dynasty to the mix and it's lights out, baby.

"Possibly with Iranian missiles, nuclear tipped if Obama has any say."

Ah, yes, the vaunted Iranian military budget of twelve billion dollars a year and the nuclear missiles they've been 6 months away from producing since 1982. The "triangulation" of the Puerto Rican dynasty, hostile Cuba, and fuel rationing Iran is truly frightening.

America can make do with fewer than 800 overseas military bases Testy, it has no business in Afghanistan, none in Iraq, and both occupations serve mostly to cultivate hatred of America and White people.

America had, and has, no business in a civil war among the Koreans, it has no business in Europe other than apologizing for delivering half of it to Stalin, and its financial and military support for beggardly third world Israel was the direct cause of 9/11 and still causes resentment, to say the least, all over the world.

Iran is a sovereign nation threatened daily by Israel, not the other way around, and is surrounded by American troops and within striking distance of the Israeli air force.

The suggestion that Iran might attack nuclear armed Israel and/or nuclear armed America is preposterous, wrapped in absurdity, inside of ridiculous.

It's the opportunity cost of the empire which is most damaging; every minute the pundits and talking heads talk about Iran and Iraq and Israel and Afghanistan is one minute less they spend talking about illegal immigration, affirmative action, racial crime, the economy, the fed, the debt, the deficit, and a list of domestic issues too long to list.

Nixon used to say that foreign policy is where it's at for a president because the country basically runs itself; that's not the case anymore, domestic issues take priority and it's time to stop playing world cop and time to start fixing America.

Eric said...

Japan: Isn't time to allow the Japanese to have a real military again?

The Japanese have a real military. They spend more on their military than any other country in Asia, including China. The only difference between the Japanese military and anybody else's military is they call it a self defense force.

In theory they don't have weapons capable of projecting force. However. If you look at the layout for the new Hyuga class helicopter carriers it's pretty clear they were designed to accommodate jets as well as helicopters, and they have all the things you need for long range carrier operations as well (food, fuel, ammo, spare parts, etc).

Anonymous said...

It's not just a matter of trimming the cost - you might need those soldiers at home soon.

You damn right! We're going to have a Civil War II! Tell ya what. I'll meet you in Bermuda. You bring the Enfields and I'll bring the gold. I'm going to run the blockade. My boat will be flying the Bonnie Blue. And I'll ask just one small personal favor. Some of that good whiskey you fellers drink. The old single malted stuff. Damn corn liquor is gettin' old!

-Johnny Reb

Eric said...

It's the opportunity cost of the empire which is most damaging; every minute the pundits and talking heads talk about Iran and Iraq and Israel and Afghanistan is one minute less they spend talking about illegal immigration, affirmative action, racial crime, the economy, the fed, the debt, the deficit, and a list of domestic issues too long to list.

Presupposing if only those foreign distractions went away the pundits and talking heads would address domestic issues in an honest fashion. That, I think, is probably wrong. Things are the way they are for a reason: wishing away domestic power centers you don't agree with won't actually make them go away.

Anonymous said...

that air bridge would have simply given us several thousand lightly-armed, un-supplied troops in the Fulda Gap. Easy meat for the Soviet tank columns. The trick, and the plan, was always to keep the sea lanes open while those troops' heavy equipment was shipped.

No quite, lots of heavy equipment was pre-positioned in W.Germany. Tanks, trucks, M113s etc stored in various depots. The men to operate them would come mostly from the US but everything else was ready, fuelled, maintained, batteries charged.

Thats another element to Diego Garcia, prepositioned equipment. Safe out of reach on the island.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that the Japanese gov heavily subsidizes the US bases in Japan. They are even subsidizing the transfer of the Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

Having said that, why not move all the US Asian assets to the area of Darwin, Australia? Similar culture and language, less friction. Harder for the Chinese to hit preemptively, too.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why people want our troops out of ROK. The North has been spoiling for a fight for half a century now. Isn't there a good chance they will try to invade ROK without the presence of the U.S. troops.

ironrailsironweights said...

Unilaterally making Puerto Rico independent would create a major problem because the island's residents have full U.S. citizenship.

Peter

SFG said...

"Whether or not we need Rammstein depends on where it fits in the logistical picture for the Middle East and Asia."

Personally, I think blasting 'Mein Teil' and 'Feuer Frei' at the Chinese is an effective psychological deterrent...

Oh wait, wrong Rammstein. ;)

Mike Courtman said...

"We ( and the British Army of the Rhine) are in Germany to keep nationalist spirit down, but given the symbiosis between the BNP and NPD..."

Yer, that rampant nationalist spirit really needs keeping a lid on. Just look at all those nationalist intellectuals rampaging around western campuses and agitating for immmigration restrictions in our national papers.

ERM said...

An Independent Puerto Rico will be nothing more than another Castro allied dynasty hostile to the US. Like Venezuela and elsewhere. Possibly with Iranian missiles, nuclear tipped if Obama has any say. That's ten kinds of stupid Steve. You're out of your area of expertise.

Steve really is big ole war n00b if he doesn't know about Obama's plan to give Iranian nuclear missiles to the Cubans.

Anonymous said...

Most of the time, Steve is a very interesting organic theorist, and extremely insightful. But, it's this type of thing that prevents paleocons from being taken seriously. It's like a dormroom bull session where you say anything.

The idea that the United States would be better off in the long run abandoning its overseas defense commitments is short-sighted and reckless. Many of the commitments were made after WWII and during the cold war. The first fallacy is to believe that the tensions that started WWII were sui generis and are not deeply rooted. Among the many causes of WWI and WWII is the failure of the great powers to find a place for Germany in the world -- its the most powerful country on the continent (excluding Russia, of course), but the fact that it unified late shut it out of the power and influence sweepstakes. This problem still exists. Furthermore, on the unlikelihood of a "central European war" didn't we go to war in central Europe just a few years ago? Are there no hotspots anywhere near Germany or Italy?

As to moving European bases to anywhere else -- 1.) is this some great savings to be had? 2.) they've been in Germany for more than 60 years -- who knows what's in store politically in Romania or wherever.

As to removing our troops from South Korea or Japan -- this is foolish. China would go wild -- we've just provided an excuse for the Japanese to re-arm -- and if you don't think the Chinese are concerned about that you're vastly misinformed. You're talking immediate arms race in Asia. Again, the tensions that created WWII didn't fall out of the sky, they're the products of history, demographics and geography.

Also, regardless of iminent dangers from North Korea, we've never ended the Korean war -- this needs to be concluded before anything happens there.

Anonymous said...

Really weird to hear some self-styled patriots advocating such pussified activities.

Look, I know you decided at some point that Bush was run by the Jews and therefore dug in with some zest in opposing all of his policies (coincidentally exactly when the rest of the country turned against them too!). "Those neoconservatives and their liberal democracy-building..." blah blah blah.

Then The Dems took control so the military is now THEIRS (rather than ours) and must - like all things "theirs" - be shown to be laughably bad.

All of which brings us to the ridiculous situation of Stee and some of his readers advocating escape from eery opportunity of empire.

Weird... and sad.

Whether you give a hang for any definition of morality or not, we, as Americans, ought to be advocating for GREATER troop presence EVERYWHERE.

You want a strong dollar? a say in how the world runs? a veto on would-be world conquering dictators? hegemony that makes your identity as an "American" practicaly akin to royalty the world over (not always liked or loed but granted manifold benefits including the right to metaphorically piss where you will)? etc?

I do.

And so I want to see American beacheads EVERYWHERE. Once we enter a zone we should never leave. Ignore the rest of Mankind's activities or take ye up the white man's burden, whatavwer blows your skirt up - but friggin STAY on the flanks of EVERYWHERE FOREVER.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading a DoD memo that said that their most important strategic interest was averting a war in Northern Asia and Central Europe.

Because that's where industrialized states are.

Right now the US's presence is the tripwire. The presence of the Leviathan keeps them from rearming and allows Euros to play their Euro weenie games.

Of course the US like all Empires has become multicultural and thereby sewn the seeds of its own destruction. And in time we may not be able to maintain those bases.

But they should be the last things to go, not the first, because when they go America will no longer be top dog. And everyone will know it. What has it gained Britain? When you retreat, you are seen as RETREATING, no matter what gloss you put on it ("oh yeah? we weren't over there because we elected an isolationist!").

Maybe the best decision in the future will be to retreat, even given the fact that the regions we retreat from will rearm, even given the massive prestige hit. I don't really see what the US gets out of it, other than penny ante savings (as noted above, the costs of these bases are far less than those of many domestic programs re: edumakushun).

Anonymous said...

And that future will require stiffening the Southeast Asians into our proxies to keep the PRC ringed in that direction.

Why do we want to keep the PRC "ringed" again?

Anonymous said...

It's the opportunity cost of the empire which is most damaging

Something it has very much in common with global warm- oh, sorry, I mean climate change.

~Svigor

Anonymous said...

Hey Testy, at least now you're more or less coming out and saying hegemony is its own reward.

It's an argument that makes sense. It has a whiff of honesty about it. Much better than your usual crap about terrism against New York Ci-, I mean, 'merica.

Not interested in hegemony, either, but it's much less insulting to the intelligence.

~Svigor

Anonymous said...

That, I think, is probably wrong.

True, but one less circus to distract the people can't be a bad thing.

~Svigor

Anonymous said...

And so I want to see American beacheads EVERYWHERE.

What's the point of a powerful America when Americans are going the way of the Do-do?

Sooooorrrryyyyy, not getting on board with a "muscular America" policy while America's being hollowed out. Try the next sucker down, maybe you'll have more luck.

~Svigor

Jerry said...

The Americans are already in the process of giving back Yongsan (the base "in the middle of Seoul" that you describe, Steve). And gaining the good will of the South Koreans gets us what? They respect and admire America, this is what Asian cultures are about, not about "good will."

Agreed with many other people that this isolationist argument is just not serious. One more thing: for Uncle Sam to throw hundreds of thousands of kids fresh out of HS into different cultures, i.e., into Japan or Germany or wherever, well, there are a lot of worse uses for the money.

Anonymous said...

Peace, and what is left of our civilization, is too important to be thrown away cheaply, and nowadays there is no Soviet Union to move to fill in the gap we will leave behind, leaving only chaos instead.




I fail to see how our civilization is tied to whether or not there is chaos in Serbia, or Angola, or Indonesia. And the belief that it is so tied is one of the factors killing our civilization.

Anonymous said...

Of course the US like all Empires has become multicultural and thereby sewn the seeds of its own destruction. And in time we may not be able to maintain those bases.



But they should be the last things to go, not the first, because when they go America will no longer be top dog.



Being "top dog" is what is detroying this country. The sooner we stop obsessing about being "top dog" the sooner we'll be able to start concerning ourselvs with salavging something from the wreck which was our country.

It's a sad American whose interest in the country revolves around it's military and economic power.

Anonymous said...

You want a strong dollar? a say in how the world runs? a veto on would-be world conquering dictators? hegemony that makes your identity as an "American" practicaly akin to royalty the world over (not always liked or loed but granted manifold benefits including the right to metaphorically piss where you will)? etc?



I do.




Then you're no American at all, and people like you need to ridden out of the country on a rail.

Big Bill said...

Tinian (or the rest of the Northern Marianas) whould be abandoned as well. See this blog for a description of the place and the cost to America:
http://www.saipansucks.com/about.htm

Better we cut the Northern Marianas loose as well as Puerto Rico. Only problem is how do we insure that their native peoples stay put and do not move to the USA.

If the author ofthe article is any measure, the Marianans (like the Puerto Ricans) are some of the nastiest, most abusive, most racist and most ungrateful people around.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why people want our troops out of ROK. The North has been spoiling for a fight for half a century now. Isn't there a good chance they will try to invade ROK without the presence of the U.S. troops.





South Korea is vastly superior to the North in every respect - population wise, economically, and militarily. They can defend themselves quite well without us.

And if they can't, that's not our problem.

Anonymous said...

We probably CAN trim the number of bases Steve. But your analysis is as usual all wet.



I see that Whisky knows as much about military matters as he does about women.

Rohan Swee said...

The bottom line is, we are going to have to face China at some point. China would never have been much of a threat if we had not built them up, but we did.

Not to worry - when that time rolls around there won't be any "we" left to face anything - the same interests that have been busily building up China have been just as busily dissolving the U.S.

And so I want to see American beacheads EVERYWHERE.

Oh, you'll still see those beachheads everywhere, for some time after the erstwhile nation has been reconstituted into a sort of tawdrier Brazil.

l said...

albertosaurus said...
Are we an empire? Or are we the world government?


With Bush we were an empire. Now we're leading citizens of the world. The Iraqis and the AfPakis might not be able to tell the difference (when our humanitarian Predator drones blast away at their wedding parties), but since when did what they think matter?

TCO said...

There is some silly college bull session stuff going on. For instance, the lack of knowledge of Pacific Ocean shipping distances to say base everything at Guam or even Darwin! That said, the pro-empire types are not putting together a sound argument either (just platitudes and the lack of others making a sound case in opposition). There are a lot of issues of game theory and of political dynamics that pertain to the empire games. Other countries free ride of our expense. And we get Loius XIV type presidents like Bush who try to stay in office by silly wars and avoid domestic debate by getting conservatives in rank with the silly wars.

Big Bill said...

kurt9, Diego Garcia is 6700 acres, the size of a largish farm in the USA. In fact, Diego Garcia WAS a farm -- a copra plantation.

The "indigenous" peoples were actually the Dutch, who settled in the 1500s. unfortunately, they were unable to make a go of it and were replaced by the French. They were eventually run off and replaced by the English.

In the 18th Century a few African slave farm workers were brought in to farm some tiny copra plantation/s. They were later replaced by Indian indentured servants when slavery was outlawed.

In the 1950s or 60s, the British government bought and shut down the tiny copra plantations that supported the farm workers. There was no other reason to live there.

It was time for the farm workers (who didn't own any land or have any indigenous government, or common flag, anthem, unique religion, traditions, laws, songs, or any other indices of "nation"-ness), to move on or starve.

Fortunately the British were not willing to let them starve, so they moved them to other islands in the same British colony of Mauritius that were also populated by African ex-slaves and Indians from the same regions of India and Africa, with the same religions, traditions, and languages.

C'est la vie.

It is called "imminent domain". Happens all over the world when the government has a different and more valuable use for the land.

People abandon miniature islands all the time when there isn't any work or fresh water, or other way to survive. The Pacific is full of such islands.

I suppose the Brits could have bulldozed the palm trees on the plantations that they bought, and then waited for the farm workers to beg them for money, food, water and passage to some other island, but being nice guys they didn't. Instead they took them -- for free -- to other islands in their colony.

So enough with the Euro-hate. I come here to escape that leftist silliness.

Anonymous said...

There are a few criminals mixed among all the horny 20 year olds and that's the real problem.

In 1995, 3 Navy guys in Okinawa abducted a 12 year old girl and gang raped her. If something like that happened in Stuttgart, I suspect the uproar would be the same.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Granting independence to Puerto Rico will save you nothing. It might even be a net negative. Puerto Ricans are citizens. While Puerto Rico gets some transfers from the Federal budget it does not receive nearly what it would if it were a state. For example, Puerto Rico gets something like $200 million for Medicaid. If it were a state it would receive well over a billion. The same story is repeated with most federal welfare programs. Food stamps, for example. Puerto Ricans are not entitled to food stamps. The U.S. sends a block grant to Puerto Rico for a similar purpose, but it is much less than what Puerto Ricans individually would get if they were entitled to food stamps. This is the whole reason why there is a Statehood movement, because Puerto Rico would get billions more than what it gets now. SO, if you granted Puerto Rico independence, there is a very strong likelyhood that at least half the population (likely the poorest half) moves to the States where they will immediately become eligible to receive more in welfare, food stamps, student aid, Medicaid, etc, than they would if they remained in Puerto Rico.

W Baker said...

Bring the troops home and quarter them in D.C.

Seriously, Steve, how about a post discussing conservative (assuming that's still your bent) approaches to standing armies (vis-a-vis Founder's sentiments) and their direct consequence, empire.

It's cute to play Napoleonic strategist where these little brown people need this sort of policing and these little darkies need that sort of show of force, and this pipeline needs building and guarding, but how does it play out in 50 or 100 years?

Let's put this empire in perspective. We've got a 225 year-old country with little to no self identity (beyond the History Channel's reruns of sacrosanct WWII's battles), only a slovenly rap-like culture to export (as opposed to, say, the British Empire) who's getting it's ass relatively waxed in fourth generation warfare in some of the most god-forsaken stretches of land this side of the moon.

Here's a peek into the empire!

Anonymous said...

Obviously, we can pull troops out of Korea - no reason to have been there to begin with. Pretty much all the troops in Germany can be relocated to somewhere cheaper.

The big thing is to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. We need a Persian Gulf presence to assure the Saudi's and Gulf states - but otherwise we need to declare victory and come home.

Big Bill said...

"Then there's the trip-wire argument. South Korea and Japan face a large threat from both North Korea and China. Remove US forces, and they WILL go nuclear. Which in turn ups the ante for arms races for everyone and removes US control."

We don't control nukes. Let's not pretend otherwise. There is going to be nuclear war in the near future. No strategic weapon system has ever been suppressed in the history of mankind. The Catholics tried to suppress crossbows and firearms. Didn't work.

It won't work for nukes without one world government, which is the unspoken visceral reason why the lefties support one worldism, I would guess.

The left used to say, "Better Red than dead". Nowadays it is "better dhimmi that dead" I suppose.

Bruce Banned said...

you want a strong dollar? a say in how the world runs? a veto on would-be world conquering dictators? hegemony that makes your identity as an "American" practicaly akin to royalty the world over
US hegemony lies on a false premise, namely that you can build your power by indebting yourself to your enemies.
You're not nÂș 1 if the Saudis and Chinese have got you by the balls.
The US cannot afford to leave and at the same time cannot afford to stay abroad. That's the conundrum.

Anonymous said...

3 Navy guys in Okinawa abducted a 12 year old girl and gang raped her.

Blacks, if memory serves, which probably made things even worse.

~Svigor

Anonymous said...

Steve says:

It's relatively cheap to keep the main battle tanks from the 1980s in storage in Germany and pay German civilian mechanics to keep them tuned up (Germans are good at tank maintenance).

t99 responds:

We probably CAN trim the number of bases Steve. But your analysis is as usual all wet. No, we can't forward re-supply across oceans. Heavy fighting units, not Airborne Infantry, need equipment and supplies pre-positioned.

Showing for the umpteenth time that t99 does not bother to read what others write.

Roy said...

W Baker nailed it.

We should have all the overseas presence of Luxembourg. Their economy seems to be humming along just fine, and they don't even have their own currency.

Anonymous said...

No, it is uncontested because the Limeys got rid of the indigenous population.

Bullshit. Most of the tiny Indian Ocean islands had no inhabitats at all until Europeans discovered them. That is almost certainly the case with DG, and definitely the case with most of the other islands. The "indigenous" people of mostly African and Indian extraction were brought there by Europeans. Even huge Madagascar, right off the southern coast of Africa, wasn't settled until about 2,000 years ago - and that by Indians, not Africans.

We spend more money to maintain an internal empire that requires us to bribe minorities fro rioting than we spend ruling the world.

Brilliant, and true. Just last week I read an article about the lack of any supermarkets inside of Detroit.

Grocery stores.

One picture in the article showed a delivery driver unloading his truck under the protection of an armed guard.

Welcome to America 2009.

We should have all the overseas presence of Luxembourg. Their economy seems to be humming along just fine, and they don't even have their own currency.

Luxembourg's economy hums along just fine thanks to the Pax Americana. Someone has to do it, so it may as well be us, though I think the United Diversicrats of America are rapidly reducing our per capita human capital and we soon might no longer be able to maintain that empire, like it or not.

What no one else has mentioned, but which I think may be important, is that the chance to do an overseas stint in places like Germany, Italy and Japan is probably a big draw for smarter officers and enlistees. Eliminate that chance and the quality of your officers corps diminishes correspondingly.

Anonymous said...

3 Navy guys in Okinawa abducted a 12 year old girl and gang raped her.

Blacks, if memory serves, which probably made things even worse.

Indeed. Two follow-ups to that story

First, one of the perps was eventually released, went back home to Georgia, then beat, raped and murdered a 22-year-old college student, after which he committed suicide.

Second, there was a more recent rape of a 14-year-old girl in Okinawa committed by 38-year-old Marine Tyrone Hadnott. I challenge you to find a picture of him in any of the news stories. This story which discusses the case shows a picture of a black guy, but it is not Hadnott - it is a good black guy. It also mentions a Nigerian national serving in the US Navy who murdered a Japanese man. No picture of him, either.

sj071 said...

Steve,the cost IS Empire.
You already have Politbiro (old farts) running the country, steadily increasing State ownership of the assets, and top-down administrative planning. All that is missing is free labour.

(kudos to Mish Blog for the chart)

Anonymous said...

The world muddled along for several millenia without benefit of the Pax American. It can do so again. Unless America is going to be the first immortal nation, which seems highly unlikely, the world will have to do without it sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

It's relatively cheap to keep the main battle tanks from the 1980s in storage in Germany and pay German civilian mechanics to keep them tuned up (Germans are good at tank maintenance).

In fact, as someone said, this already happens. One difference - it's US Army mechanics doing the servicing.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Brilliant, and true. Just last week I read an article about the lack of any supermarkets inside of Detroit. Grocery stores. One picture in the article showed a delivery driver unloading his truck under the protection of an armed guard. Welcome to America 2009.

Appears to be here:

Hunger hits Detroit's middle class
By Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Last Updated: August 7, 2009: 12:38 PM ET
money.cnn.com

Anonymous said...

From LV's link - Detroiters are also helping themselves in smaller ways. Thanks to the dearth of big supermarkets in Detroit proper - a phenomenon largely attributed to lack of people - and plenty of vacant land, community gardening has caught on big.

Oh yes, Im sure thats the main reason! Thats what the security guard is there for, to guard against the lack of people.

Truth said...

Cool.

LBK said...

The American Empire is of no benefit to almost all Americans. It is a drain on our resources and will only hasten our demise. But the empire does benefit some very wealthy corporations, which is why it exists.

The Other Anonymous said...

Here in Detroit, the good news is that crime is down because there's nothing left to steal.

There is a lack of people - the city's population is less than half what it was at its peak.

And it shows: so many houses have been torn down that there are whole blocks with no buildings left standing, just a big rectangle of grass and weeds surrounded by four streets.

There are so many abandoned buildings that the city has a years-long backlog for tearing them down. There are burned-out buildings, collapsed buildings, and piles of rubble that used to be buildings.

Whole sections of this city look worse than Berlin did at the end of WW2, which shows that gradual decay is as powerful a force as war - maybe more powerful.

Every American should visit Detroit. This burned-out post-industrial wasteland is what the rest of the country might look like in the future, if present trends continue.

Anonymous said...

Our troops are distributed strategically as reminders to those governments "hosting" them and those nearby to pay-up or else with regard to the loans made to them by the international money powers. By the same method, the nuclear-armed Soviet Union was and the increasingly nuclear-competent China is our reminder to pay-up or else.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting about the Detroit story is that they show some young kids growing their own food, and I'm thinking: if these people had the work ethic to grow their own food they wouldn't need to grow their own food.

Anonymous said...

Why not just abandon the empire altogether and save even more money?

Anonymous said...

"The world muddled along for several millenia without benefit of the Pax American. It can do so again. Unless America is going to be the first immortal nation, which seems highly unlikely, the world will have to do without it sooner or later."

There was Pax Romana until the Middle Ages, and eventually Pax Britannia until the early 1900's. China does not have the interests nor the ambitions to rule the world (only its pond) so I believe we need to maintain our worldwide military presence.

AmericanGoy said...

" Bruce Banned said...

Pulling out all troops might save some billions, but I'm afraid the dollar would lose its status as world reserve currency overnight as a result.
The Empire keeps the dollar afloat."


FINALLY someone speaks sense in this hug-a-libertarian group hug "discussion".

Without our "Empire" we as a superpower are finished.

Mr. Anon said...

AmericanGoy said...

"Bruce Banned said...
Pulling out all troops might save some billions, but I'm afraid the dollar would lose its status as world reserve currency overnight as a result.

The Empire keeps the dollar afloat.""

Of what value is a reserve currency if it is worth nothing?

Neither Switzerland nor Japan have overseas empires, yet they have strong currencies.

Mr. Anon said...

Perhaps our continued presence in Europe has something to do with the desire of senior officers wives to have their husbands posted to Germany or Italy, rather than to Texas or North Carolina. Don't underestimate the power of a man's need to placate the little woman.

Anonymous said...

--Without our "Empire" we as a superpower are finished.--


Suits me fine not being a "superpower."

Anonymous said...

--Without our "Empire" we as a superpower are finished.--


Suits me fine not being a "superpower."

Bruce Banned said...

Neither Switzerland nor Japan have overseas empires, yet they have strong currencies.


I agree, Mr. Anon. Read my second post on this thread.

Anonymous said...

"so I believe we need to maintain our worldwide military presence."


convoluted logic if i ever saw it.

ricpic said...

There have been suggestions that we pull totally or almost totally out of Korea and Japan. Won't China see that as a signal that it's okay for them to swallow Taiwan? Though I doubt the U.S. would go to war with China over Taiwan neither should we abandon that country preemptively.

Some Other Anonymous said...

Whether we should have an empire or want one will soon be irrelevant, because we won't be able to afford one. See the comments about Detroit above.

Detroit was once considered the most modern city in the world, the premier industrial complex, home of the most modern manufacturing technology. Today it is a ruin.

There is nothing surprising about the collapse of Detroit. It is the logical and predictable outcome of the leftist ideology that governs this country - which means the decay won't stop at the city limits.

The white population is shrinking, the non-white population growing. Eventually the U.S. will be a larger version of Haiti, with Haitian levels of superpower capability.

Anonymous said...

China does not have the interests nor the ambitions to rule the world (only its pond)




I don't want anybody to "rule the world", so China's inability to do so fails to bother me. And I'd be happier if the US lacked those particular "ambitions". It's hard to remember now, but Bush was elected in part on a platform of a more modest and less intrusive foreign policy.


so I believe we need to maintain our worldwide military presence.

Does not logically follow from the beginning of your sentence. Unless you believe that the world needs a ruler.

Anonymous said...

Without our "Empire" we as a superpower are finished.



Oh no, not that! Better that we evolve into some corrupt tyranny and keep our beloved "superpower status" than that we become an old-fashioned small-government federal republic and lose it!

Big Bill said...

ricpic:"There have been suggestions that we pull totally or almost totally out of Korea and Japan. Won't China see that as a signal that it's okay for them to swallow Taiwan? Though I doubt the U.S. would go to war with China over Taiwan neither should we abandon that country preemptively."

Ricpic, what have we done to the Chinese people if not "abandon them"? We have peaceful relations with a Commie hegemon that slaughters and oppresses its own people, all the while putting our own people out of jobs to feed their imperial Communist war machine, yet I am supposed to send my (now-unemployed) children to Taiwan to protect it from our biggest trading partner? Fro mthe very beast that my country feeds? To the verybeast that is devouring OUR jobs?

Protecting Taiwanese and not Americans from China is insane logic.

spacehabitats said...

"...thousands of horny 20-year-olds don't make the most diplomatic ambassadors for America."

And yet that is exactly the demographic of the Mormon missionaries who are definitely the most visible "ambassadors" for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints worldwide.

Kind of amazing that they do as well as they do.

Anonymous said...

"Even huge Madagascar, right off the southern coast of Africa, wasn't settled until about 2,000 years ago - and that by Indians, not Africans."

Wrong, Madagascar was settled by Malays.

Anonymous said...

"In 1995, 3 Navy guys in Okinawa abducted a 12 year old girl and gang raped her. "

The "navy guys" were black. The Japanese are well aware that violent sex offenders among the American forces are usually--though not always of course--black.

Lucius Vorenus said...

The Other Anonymous: Every American should visit Detroit. This burned-out post-industrial wasteland is what the rest of the country might will look like in the future, if present trends continue.

FTFY.

PS: The indolent among us can go here instead.

I was also working on a long-term cumulative thread at Spengler's site back before I got banned.

Prole said...

"We probably CAN trim the number of bases Steve. But your analysis is as usual all wet."

"That's ten kinds of stupid Steve. You're out of your area of expertise."
__

As usual, a post like this one brings out the 'Evil Neocon' in Testy/Whiskey.

Man, it's like this guy has a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde moment anytime talk of war comes about. Jeesh!

Anonymous said...

LV - I didnt realise you were persona non grata at Spengler's. I even joined the forum just the other day, to be your wingman and fight the good fight.

And re T99, at least we are not hearing about the unsinkable Israeli aircraft carrier anymore.