US Bases Abroad Trigger Suicide Terrorism: Are There Other Options?

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suicide bombing.jpgCan it be that American military bases abroad, usually thought of as “stabilizers” in tough neighborhoods, are really the primary cause of radical terrorism against the US and its allies? That is what Robert Pape and James K. Feldman compellingly argue in their new book released this week titled Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It.
Most war planners and geo-strategists conceive of US military bases abroad as if they are anchors of stability in unstable regions. Over the last six decades, while there have been occasional protests, sometimes violent, targeting these foreign bases by rebellious students or groups affiliated with socialist or communist parties in governments hosting these US troops, most of the political system in these respective governments strongly support the American bases, usually as a cheap way to deter aggression from neighbors.
But what once worked in Germany, Japan, Turkey, the Philippines, South Korea, the UK doesn’t seem to be working so well in the Middle East or South Asia today and frankly may be eroding even in these traditional base-hosting countries where jihadist terrorism hasn’t been a factor.
When terrorist tracker and New America Foundation Counter-Terrorism Initiative director Peter Bergen was invited to interview Osama bin Laden in 1997, bin Laden told Bergen point blank that America had become an arrogant nation in the wake of its victory in the Cold War and that the basing of American troops in Saudi Arabia, the home of the two Holy Mosques, had made the US a target for al Qaeda. It is also true that the Saudi government invited in and agreed to host on a temporary basis US forces in order to help deter Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. But after ten years, the phrase “temporary bases” actually shifted in then Defense Secretary William Cohen’s remarks to “semi-permanent.”


The shift was noticed by media, government officials, and incensed Islamists throughout the region – though hardly noted at all by American strategists that only saw one side of the cost-benefit ledger.
War planners have tended only to consider the upside opportunities in projecting force through foreign-deployed military bases rather than calculating downsides as well. During the Cold War, the seven hundred plus US military installations abroad helped give the United States unparalleled capacity in intelligence and power projection that no other nation in the world other than the Soviet Union could match. And with the collapse of the USSR, America stood unrivaled, reifying a core belief that this global network of foreign bases had in part been vital to American success and strength.
While Bergen was tracking down bin Laden and taking the pulse of an increasingly restless Middle East, I was watching growing protests and anti-American anger take hold in another part of the world where American bases had long been situated – Japan and South Korea. Believing that the US was impeding normalization efforts between North and South Korea and had been a supporter of military crackdowns against pro-democracy efforts, students directed violent, flame-throwing protests at American military installations in South Korea.
In Japan, the situation was less violent but politically more severe. In September 1995, three American military servicemen brutally raped a 12-year old Okinawan girl. The senior US Commander in the region remarked that the soldiers should have just procured a prostitute triggering the largest anti-American protests in Japan since 1960. Okinawa, Japan’s poorest prefecture, nonetheless hosts the majority of America’s military capacity in Japan – with 39 distinct U.S. military facilities on the island. During the Cold War, the sacrifice made by Okinawa in “carrying the burden” of hosting these bases and US personnel was more easily justified. Since then, the rationale has shifted from everything from deterring North Korea to being a bulwark against growing Chinese power – anything to keep the huge land assets of the Pentagon in the Pacific in place.
When I spoke to South Koreans and Okinawans at the time, I regularly heard comments that they felt “occupied”. Indeed, before a revision in security guidelines between the US and Japan after the rape incident, the US controlled more than 80% of Okinawa’s air space. One senior activist told me that while the protests of the Okinawans would be peaceful for the most part, the US had to worry in the long run about groups self-organizing and possibly beginning to throw Molotov cocktails at US trucks and installations – and threatening personnel and their dependents. This didn’t happen, or hasn’t happened yet, but counting on docility ‘permanently’ may be a major blind spot of Pentagon planners.
What was brewing in Okinawa was not suicide terrorism – but the impulse to reject the logic of large-scale, long term basing of US troops on Japanese soil was growing.
In parts of the world less accustomed to US military personnel, the reaction has been more virulent.
Robert Pape, a professor at the University of Chicago and the director of the new website mega-data base on suicide terrorism titled the Chicago Project on Suicide Terrorism (CPOST) and funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has been putting on a lot of United Airlines miles between DC and Chicago not because progressives and liberals who might have a thing against America’s global network of foreign military bases want to hear him – but the highest levels of America’s military and intelligence bureaucracies are seeking him out.
The Pentagon’s leadership prides itself on hearing not just material that supports its current course but is open to alternative scenarios to consider military threats – and the Pentagon is most easily convinced by solid empirical data.
Pape and his co-author Feldman have broken down every recorded suicide terrorist incident since 1980 and noted an eruption of such incidents since 2004. From 1980-2003, there were 350 suicide attacks in the world, only 15% of which were anti-American.
In the short five-year period since, from 2004-2009, there have been 1,833 suicide attacks, 92% of which were anti-American.
Pape argues that the key factor in determining spikes of suicide terrorism is not the prevalence or profile of radical Islamic clerics or mental sickness but rather the garrisoning of foreign troops, most often US troops or its allies, in these respective countries.
Pape and Feldman show for example that even in war-torn, beleaguered Afghanistan, suicide attacks surged from just a handful a year to more than 100 per year in early 2006 when US and military deployments began to extend to the Pashtun southern and eastern regions of the country beginning in late 2005. Pakistan also deployed forces against Pashtun sections of western Pakistan, which Pape and Feldman note also saw large spikes in suicide attacks.
Pape is not a pacifist and is not calling on the US government and Pentagon to appease dictators and terror masters, but he is making an argument that a new, better strategy is needed. He and his co-author make a compelling case – much like Donald Rumsfeld once pondered in his famous memo on terrorism – that we are creating much of our own problem and animating and feeding fuel to the enemy of America’s and its allies’ interests.
I once asked Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott whether he thought that America would have problems managing its empire of bases and whether those nations hosting them would feel the burden too heavy in a post-Soviet world. Talbott responded that he believed – as did most of the national security community – that “US bases are anchors of stability in unstable regions.”
This may not be the case any longer — or at least not to the same degree as used to be the case.
Pape and Feldman, in their new book Cutting the Fuse, suggest that the US military would better secure its key foreign policy interests with a posture of “offshore balancing” – relying on military alliances and “offshore air, naval, and rapidly deployable ground forces rather than heavy onshore combat power.”
I bet Pape’s first calls were from the Air Force and Navy — but their interests aside, Pape sees that the future needs to be more high flex, smaller footprint, more nimble — and less toxic and anti-body generating than the large-scale, clunky, unsuccessful force deployments that characterize America’s deployments to Afghanistan today.
Robert Pape is working from the data upward in formulating a smart strategy for military organization – rather than working from the top down and repeating mistakes made by those whose thinking is conventional, incremental, and who tie what they do tomorrow much by what they did yesterday.
Pape sees a chance to neutralize the forces that could otherwise yield another generation of hardened terrorists, many of whom are willing to engage in suicide attacks.
I know the Pentagon is listening — and this impresses me. Others should too.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

70 comments on “US Bases Abroad Trigger Suicide Terrorism: Are There Other Options?

  1. Orwell says:

    Japan is not an American colony. Okinawa should not be a target of occupation mentalities and arrogance. Mr Maher correctly described the word of manipulation that the US-Japan security treaty should be amended to rectifiy the unequal situation. The Japanese astronomical amount of contribution to support the foreign military should be stopped and scrapped to regain its sovereign independence after the lost war in the Pacific.

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    What “moratorium”? You still trying to sell that crap?
    The world knows better, Nadine.

    Reply

  3. nadine says:

    questions, the jpost is reporting that the Arab League will back Abu Mazen’s decision to leave the talks. Have you really not noticed that Abu Mazen has been so desperate NOT to talk that Obama had to practically break both arms and handcuff him to the table just to get him in the room? That took the first 9 months of the moratorium. Now Abbas is thrilled to use the end of the moratorium as an excuse to bolt again.
    Why the Obama administration remains convinced that the Palestinians want to talk despite all the evidence of their own eyes remains a mystery. Maybe Rashid Khalidi told Obama that the Palestinians really want a deal?

    Reply

  4. Don Bacon says:

    US bases in foreign countries are often an irritant to the people in those countries. While they bring jobs and economic benefits, they also bring traffic, noise and pollution, as well as the negative effects of prostitution, drugs and drinking.
    On a higher violence level, a US military occupation goes beyond mere bases to midnight house raids, kidnapping, bombing, killing, imprisonment and torture in addition to all the negative base effects.
    The results of this can be predicted. It’s not rocket science. How would any of us react if a loved one was wantonly shot and killed at a foreign military traffic checkpoint in our neighborhood? Or tortured until he lost his mind? Or any one of a thousand other niceties characteristic of a hostile military occupation?
    Women in Iraqi prisons run by the US military have asked relatives for poison pills because they’ve been raped. That’s one form of suicide that might be more acceptable to some than a car-bomb or an explosive vest.

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  5. questions says:

    From the AP, it’s tentative, it’s part of the way, who knows how many issues could/will arise….
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/10/07/world/middleeast/AP-ML-Israel-Palestinians.html?_r=1&hp
    “Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath told The Associated Press Thursday that the Palestinians accepted a U.S. proposal for a 60-day extension to the Israel settlement slowdown, with the idea that final borders between Israel and a Palestinian state be negotiated during that time. If borders are set, Israel could then resume construction on all territories it expects to keep, while halting construction on Palestinian lands. ”
    There’s probably more jockeying to do, and Netanyahu still has a coalition to protect unless he can get some support from outside it…. Or maybe this is juicy enough as is?!
    At any rate, it seems that perhaps there’s some actual consideration….. Here’s hoping they find a way to forget the past and deal with the future, at least in baby steps.

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  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Kotz, lots of people have the naive mindset that people only hate the US because we did bad stuff to them”
    Its astounding how unabashed Nadine is about sticking strictly to the highly propagandized script of the far right/zionist proponents of perpetual war. But even more astounding is her partisan demonization of a President that is doing EXACTLY what she would hope a President of her own choice would do. Israel, Iran, domestic spying and evesdropping, intrusive and fascist police policies targeting anti-war activists, refusing to adhere to the letter of the law in pursuing indictments of KNOWN criminals in our highest offices past and present, continued torture through rendition, the list is long and disheartening. Nadine should be LAUDING this posturing piece of shit that conned and lied his way into the Oval Office.
    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2010/10/2010105104959212813.html
    “When Obama behaves like Bush, only on steroids, he amply demonstrates why other people hate our country so much. Persons in other countries are not nearly as blind as Americans. They know that even though Obama went to Cairo to blather about building understanding between the US and the Muslim world, actions speak louder than words and Obama

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  7. DonS says:

    “Kotz, lots of people have the naive mindset that people only hate the US because we did bad stuff to them (they conveniently overlook the actions of other countries).” (nadine)
    This poster impugns the motives of those who criticize US policy, and has no problem implying a naivete to a broad swath of critics. As related to the current post, this include casting doubt upon data of respected individuals which indicate a really serious flaw in purported US foreign policy/military calculations.
    If, nadine, you did not have a very big log in your own eye, perhaps your horrific accusations would carry more weight. Instead, on this website anyway, where individuals do not swallow the RW cant, your accusations and attacks are not helpful, at the very least, and formulaic propaganda in any case.
    The serious discussion raised by this post has a scope far beyond this seasons’ neocon favorite rants. We are sorry you cannot join in serious discussion.

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  8. nadine says:

    Kotz, lots of people have the naive mindset that people only hate the US because we did bad stuff to them (they conveniently overlook the actions of other countries).
    The idea that other nations have enmity to the US due to their ideology or perceived self-interest does not occur to them. Therefore when they see that some action of ours has irritated someone, even a self-declared enemy like Osama bin Laden, they conclude we must be doing something wrong!
    Hey guys: here is a lesson from street smarts kindergarten: if your enemy hates a move you just made, maybe that move is good for you and bad for him!

    Reply

  9. kotzabasis says:

    Clemons by supporting Pape

    Reply

  10. Cee says:

    How much could Shahzad learn from an ACME five day bomb building class? Not much according to this author below
    Shahzad has a BA and an MBA in computer science and engineering from University of Bridgeport, Connecticut. He owned a home in Shelton, Connecticut and defaulted on the mortgage in April 2009. In May 2009 he moved his family to Pakistan.
    He bought a Nissan Pathfinder SUV, paid cash to a private seller.
    He took a short trip into Pennsylvania, where he bought 36 M88 firecrackers and his transaction was recorded on camera.
    He loaded his Nissan Pathfinder SUV with:

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  11. Carroll says:

    The terriers keep telling the hegemon why they do what they do. Problem is, the hegemon does not care. The terriers are useful to the hegemon and the hegemon’s friends and clients.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/21/AR2010062102468.html?hpid=moreheadlines
    “It’s a war,” Shahzad told a judge in Manhattan federal court. If the United States does not get out of Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries controlled by Muslims, he said, “we will be attacking U.S.,” adding that Americans “only care about their people, but they don’t care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die.”
    If Shahzad’s plea took prosecutors by surprise, the sentiments he expressed before Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum did not. As soon as he was taken into custody May 3 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, onboard a flight to Dubai, the Pakistani-born Shahzad told agents that he was motivated by opposition to U.S. policy in the Muslim world, officials said.
    “One of the first things he said was, ‘How would you feel if people attacked the United States? You are attacking a sovereign Pakistan,’ ” said one law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the interrogation reports are not public. “In the first two hours, he was talking about his desire to strike a blow against the United States for the cause.”

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    The terriers keep telling the hegemon why they do what they do. Problem is, the hegemon does not care. The terriers are useful to the hegemon and the hegemon’s friends and clients.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/21/AR2010062102468.html?hpid=moreheadlines
    “It’s a war,” Shahzad told a judge in Manhattan federal court. If the United States does not get out of Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries controlled by Muslims, he said, “we will be attacking U.S.,” adding that Americans “only care about their people, but they don’t care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die.”
    If Shahzad’s plea took prosecutors by surprise, the sentiments he expressed before Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum did not. As soon as he was taken into custody May 3 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, onboard a flight to Dubai, the Pakistani-born Shahzad told agents that he was motivated by opposition to U.S. policy in the Muslim world, officials said.
    “One of the first things he said was, ‘How would you feel if people attacked the United States? You are attacking a sovereign Pakistan,’ ” said one law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the interrogation reports are not public. “In the first two hours, he was talking about his desire to strike a blow against the United States for the cause.”

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    Poppa hegemon and baby hegemon.

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hmmmmm. I feel edyacomunicated now!!! Golly, indigenous savages resent our attempts to christianize, demo-automate, and corporatize their homelands through military intimidation, invasion, and occupation. Damn, who coulda guessed?
    Meanwhile, the man representing God’s chosen ones is “considering” Obama’s offers.
    Sounds like a good deal to me. If the holy one agrees to extend the settlement freeze, (that doesn’t really exist), for two months, (WOW!!!! Do you think the Jews can abstain from stealing land for two months? What if God tells them to “Build build build”???), then we will agree to veto any UN resolutions, for a year, that seek to indict Israel for doing nasty no-nos. Kinda cool, eh? We exonerate Israel for crimes they haven’t even committed yet. Wanna assassinate a few more American citizens??? Ok with us. Fry a few more of them nasty sand niggers in white phosphorous. Go for it, we’ll watch your back!
    An international get outta jail free card. Such a deal. But I am a little curious. When have we NOT vetoed UN actions critical of Israel? And so fuckin’ what? With Israel in violation of over sixty UN resolutions, what the hell difference does it make?
    So go for it, Israel. Accept Obama’s offer. Two months to extend something that never really existed, and Obama will give ya the farm. (Even though he doesn’t own it). I know it’ll be tough, two months is a long time to pretend you’re doing something you have no intention of doing, but hey, you’re God’s chosen ones, you can handle it.

    Reply

  15. Cee says:

    Questions wrote:
    So there’s some open colonial space in Africa, and as the US falters elsewhere it is opening up some purchase for China.
    The US comes up with AFRICOM while China funds power plants, bridges, dams, you name it.
    China is doing the same thing in Ecuador while the US tried and failed to overthrow the democratically elected leader.

    Reply

  16. erichwwk says:

    I would also like to draw attention to the fact that expansion by our military is not limited to foreign land.
    Where I live (Northern NM) the military has swatted the hornets nest by proposing several MAJOR expansions of military installations:
    1. LATN-Low Altitude Training and Navigation Flights from Cannon AFB in Clovis NM, proposing to fly what should have been a discontinued aircraft- the Osprey at low altitudes over northern NM and Southern Colorado.
    http://tinyurl.com/2bly9cp
    2. Increased Nuclear Weapons production capacity- CMRR – The Chemical, Metallurgy, Research, Replacment facility to assist in pit manufacture for new nuclear weapons, Los Alamos, Nm
    http://lasg.org/
    3. Pinon Canyon Manuever Site- Ft.Carson, Co.
    [link above]
    These are being marketed as “economic development”. While they do increase the cash flow, the “jobs” they “create” would be better described as corporate welfare, as the real output is not increased. In fact, to the extent that folks accepting these jobs were not unemployed, but contributing to real well being, albeit at a lower monetary level, we not only redistribute wealth, but experience a real net loss.
    Hegemony happens at home.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    Brush up my Russian?
    I was under the strong impression, reading your and
    WigWag’s comments, that we Europeans already have been
    invaded by the Muslims hordes, and rather had to study
    the Quran?
    Do you really think that we will remain under Sharia Law if
    Putin invades us?
    In any case, I don’t want to waste my remaining years
    studying Russian grammar. I guess I’ll resign and read
    Dostojevskij, Gogol, and Sjestov in translation, while
    supporting The New Triple Entente (aka “The Maritime
    Hegemon Of The 21. Century):
    India, America, and the United Kingdom (formerly known
    as the British Empire).
    Mission accomplished for a tiny northern island called
    England. That would be a great historic irony, wouldn’t it?

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    “Hegemony is the only option?”
    Well, there’s always the option of regional powers jockeying for position, but it tends to be less stable and more bloody, if history is any guide.
    If that’s where Europe is headed, this might be a good time to brush up your Russian.

    Reply

  19. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions said:
    “Near as I can tell, without yet having read [Pape and
    Feldman’s] book I haven’t yet ordered but have put in my
    amazon cart, I think he’s looking for alternatives to bases,
    not for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal.
    So why not attack Pape with the same line — geeze he
    can’t make up his mind… he wants alternatives but until
    he finds one he might be advocating the status quo and
    some serious analysis.”
    Well, Questions, I see no reason to attack or defend
    someone I haven’t read, based on free speculation from
    someone who hasn’t yet received the book from Amazon.
    However, Steve Clemons stated in his article that “Pape
    and Feldman (…) suggest that the US military would better
    secure its key foreign policy interests with a posture of
    “offshore balancing” – relying on military alliances and
    “offshore air, naval, and rapidly deployable ground forces
    rather than heavy onshore combat power.””
    Steve also says that “Pentagon is listening”. I would
    assume that Pentagon was listening to Robert Kaplan too,
    when he wrote the essay “Center Stage for the 21st
    Century: Rivalry in the Indian Ocean” in Foreign Affairs last
    year.
    As I have indicated above, hegemony is not my cup of tea,
    but I can’t read Steve’s post without relating it to what
    Robert Kaplan’s wrote in his essay in 2009.
    A handful of quotes from Kaplan:
    “[…] The Indian Ocean — the world’s third-largest body of
    water — already forms center stage for the challenges of
    the twenty-first century.
    The greater Indian Ocean region encompasses the entire
    arc of Islam, from the Sahara Desert to the Indonesian
    archipelago. (…) Today, the western reaches of the Indian
    Ocean include the tinderboxes of Somalia, Yemen, Iran,
    and Pakistan — constituting a network of dynamic trade
    as well as a network of global terrorism, piracy, and drug
    smuggling. Hundreds of millions of Muslims — the legacy
    of those medieval conversions — live along the Indian
    Ocean’s eastern edges, in India and Bangladesh, Malaysia
    and Indonesia.
    (…)
    In other words, more than just a geographic feature, the
    Indian Ocean is also an idea. It combines the centrality of
    Islam with global energy politics and the rise of India and
    China to reveal a multilayered, multipolar world. The
    dramatic economic growth of India and China has been
    duly noted, but the equally dramatic military ramifications
    of this development have not. India’s and China’s great-
    power aspirations, as well as their quests for energy
    security, have compelled the two countries “to redirect
    their gazes from land to the seas,” according to James
    Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, associate professors of
    strategy at the U.S. Naval War College. And the very fact
    that they are focusing on their sea power indicates how
    much more self-confident they feel on land. And so a map
    of the Indian Ocean exposes the contours of power politics
    in the twenty-first century.
    (…)
    Sea power has always been less threatening than land
    power: as the clich

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    Hegemony is the only option?
    Well, then certainly the hegemony of India: Hollywood
    replaced by Bollywood; neocon ideology replaced by Hindu
    extremism; baseball replaced by hockey!
    Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?

    Reply

  21. nadine says:

    Paul, you say you don’t like the hegemony of the USA. Pray, whose hegemony would you prefer?

    Reply

  22. nadine says:

    “But what once worked in Germany, Japan, Turkey, the Philippines, South Korea, the UK doesn’t seem to be working so well in the Middle East or South Asia” (Clemons)
    The Middle East and South Asia…hm, let me think…what could possibly be different about those places that might account for a different attitude?
    I dunno. Clearly it’s a total mystery beyond Pape or the intellectual resources of NAF.

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    Sounds like a accurate description of our policy/attitude to me.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    HEGEMONY
    Definition:
    authority or control: control or dominating influence by one person or group, especially by one political group over society or one nation over others.
    [Mid-16th century. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Reply

  24. Carroll says:

    Really, here’s another negative for hegemony by any one power.
    The hegemony-‘ism’ of one power is often stupid because of ‘politics’ that make the hegemony self defeating and not even beneficial to the hegemon.
    Published 09:00 05.10.10
    Latest update 09:00 05.10.10
    Egypt president warns of ‘global terror’ if Mideast peace talks fail
    By Barak Ravid, Natasha Mozgovaya and Avi Issacharoff
    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has warned that a failure in Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations would lead to “violence and terrorism” across the world.
    In an interview with the journal of the Egyptian armed forces, given to mark the anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, he said he has told several leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that “if the peace process collapses, violence and terrorism will erupt in the Middle East and all over the world.”
    Published 02:44 06.10.10
    Latest update 02:44 06.10.10
    Clinton: Mideast peace can undercut global terror threat
    Former president says resolving long-running conflict would have knock on effect on Syria’s support of Hezbollah, Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
    Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would take away much of the motivation for terrorism around the world.
    Former U.S. President Bill Clinton makes introductory remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010
    He described the long-running conflict as the key problem in the region and said resolving it would have a knock on effect that could result in Syria ending its support for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Iran turning back its controversial nuclear program.
    “It will take about half the impetus in the whole world

    Reply

  25. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick, Oct 06 2010, 12:07AM – Link
    Correct me if I’m wrong. But my impression from Steve’s post was that Pape and Feldman are arguing for some specific redeployments of some forces out of certain specific countries. How did this evolve so rapidly into a grand discussion of such imprecise and unproductive concepts as “hegemony”, and whether this “hegemony” is a good thing or bad thing in general?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well, because most of us here, most Americans actually, are opposed to our “hegemony”..and we don’t want it just “rearranged”, we want it reduced.
    There is nothing “unproductive” or ‘imprecise’ about the concept of hegemony unless you would rather call it ’empire” as many historians do and it’s not a concept anyway, it’s our actual current practice.
    Besides…I don’t see any qualified global military strategist on here, and that’s who it would take not just foreign policy experts, to comment half way intelligently on how and where our bases should be deployed as opposed to where they are …so to get into that would mostly be just amateur opinion and blather also.
    Maybe Steve could find such an expert to do an article here.
    Or you could visit Col Pat Lang’s site and see what he says, he covers military stragety frequently since he has experience and expertise in that area.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “For instance I don’t like your values either”
    Amen.
    “If you were stomping around, messing in my yard, I might feel differently and want to dispose of you”
    Trust me, he would if he could. Like the people and the policies he has telegraphed that he supports, he feels he has some sort of supreme right to inflict his beliefs and actions on the rest of the world. Saddam was a monster for gassing the Kurds, but Cheney and Rumsfeld are heroes for providing the gas? Really, its quite bizzarre when you get right down to it. Some “political ideologies” are more appropriately described as symptoms of a mental illness.

    Reply

  27. Dan Kervick says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong. But my impression from Steve’s post was that Pape and Feldman are arguing for some specific redeployments of some forces out of certain specific countries. How did this evolve so rapidly into a grand discussion of such imprecise and unproductive concepts as “hegemony”, and whether this “hegemony” is a good thing or bad thing in general?
    Pape and Feldman argue, according to Steve, that we pull some of our “ground combat power” out of certain countries, and rely in their place on “offshore air, naval, and rapidly deployable ground forces.” Well, if we are going to have ground forces that can be “rapidly deployed” into Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, then clearly those forces are going to have to be based somewhere in the vicinity of Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, even if they are not actually inside Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.

    Reply

  28. Carroll says:

    Posted by frenchconnection, Oct 05 2010, 10:11PM – Link
    The whole base story is a false claim. The Islamists attacked the USA and the West because they cannot stand their values. Bases or not.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well,it doesn’t really work that way.
    For instance I don’t like your values either.
    But since you’re not messing up my personal territory I don’t feel any imperative to attack or kill you.
    If you were stomping around, messing in my yard, I might feel differently and want to dispose of you.
    Simple human nature.

    Reply

  29. JohnH says:

    “You gotta be shittin’ me. We need a “think tank” to tell us that…”
    Great work if you can get it–stating the obvious to incredulous, adoring audiences. Plus the pay is great and the time spent researching the obvious must be virtually nil.
    Where do I sign up?
    On the other hand, neocons and hasbaristas earn their big bucks, trying to convince us that the world is flat, Israel is a light unto humanity, and the US is in Iraq and Afghanistan for freedom, democracy and human rights.

    Reply

  30. Carroll says:

    Posted by frenchconnection, Oct 05 2010, 10:11PM – Link
    The whole base story is a false claim. The Islamists attacked the USA and the West because they cannot stand their values. Bases or not.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well,it doesn’t really work that way.
    For instance I don’t like your values either.
    But since you’re not messing up my personal territory I don’t feel any imperative to attack or kill you.
    If you were stomping around, messing in my yard, I might feel differently and want to dispose of you.
    Simple human nature.

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Norhiem at 9:55….
    Thanks for the chuckle. One wonders if he has waged a lifetime battle with himself over which sock to put on first.

    Reply

  32. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH, Oct 05 2010, 10:33PM – Link
    questions said, “US global hegemony is a mixed bag. It lets a lot of countries off the hook for defense.” Ah, yes, defense. But against whom? Who is the rapidly militant power we’re defending Europe and Japan against?
    As for what replaces hegemony? Why not give the UN General Assembly some real power to settle disputes?
    US hegemony is absolutely not the only imaginable cure to what ails the world. In fact, according to Pape and Feldman, it may be a good part of the cause
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Agree.
    I’ve long said the UN should have some enforcement teeth. It’s useless unless they have the wherewithall to carry out their findings and associated ICC rulings.
    So far the ordering of the world has been based on who pays the most for it…that’s been us.
    Time to share the super cop burden and the decisions with more of the world.

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    You gotta be shittin’ me. We need a “think tank” to tell us that the natives resent us establishing a permanent military presence on their sovereign soil?
    They might just as well tell us carrots are orange. How much do these deep thinkers get paid for this crap?

    Reply

  34. Michael G. Gallagher says:

    A policy like this may do for CERTAIN parts of S. Asia and the Middle East, but what about potential “conventional” powers like Russia and China? The recent spat between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands had nothing to do with suicide bombings or terrorism. It was an old-fashioned feud over territory. You will notice that one of the first things the Japanese did was quietly ask for U.S. support under the terms of their military alliance with Washington. As for Afghanistan, even if Obama does begin a substantial troop drawdown in 2011, the USA is going to still need a presence their to prevent the place from becoming an Al Qaida play land again. We’ll have to be like the British during the days of the Raj, bribe and blast in order to keep the locals from siding with the bad guys again.

    Reply

  35. DonS says:

    French Connection, thanks for sharing but the US of A is already in ‘be very afraid’ mode. So additional scare tactics are like icing on the cake. That is, once the noise machine is cranked up to maximum, the rest is static. But, again, thanks for sharing. Always good to remember who it is we’re suppose to hate because they hate us, for our ‘freedoms’, or whatever.

    Reply

  36. JohnH says:

    questions said, “US global hegemony is a mixed bag. It lets a lot of countries off the hook for defense.” Ah, yes, defense. But against whom? Who is the rapidly militant power we’re defending Europe and Japan against?
    As for what replaces hegemony? Why not give the UN General Assembly some real power to settle disputes?
    US hegemony is absolutely not the only imaginable cure to what ails the world. In fact, according to Pape and Feldman, it may be a good part of the cause.

    Reply

  37. frenchconnection says:

    The whole base story is a false claim. The Islamists attacked the USA and the West because they cannot stand their values. Bases or not.
    Al Qaeda (in the form of GIA) attacked France in 1995 while France didn’t have any bases in North-Africa anymore. In other words, it doesn’t matter what you do, the Islamists will attack you anyway if you defend your secular Enlightment values, even if solely in your own country, because those values collide with the ones of shariah.
    If you go back home and leave your bases, it will be easier for them to overun the local authorities, who how bad they are, are still better than the Islamists. So of course they will ask for your departure because it will be a tactical gain. When you are back home, they will demand exceptions for Muslims in the name of religion and threaten you with violence if you don’t accept (and call you a racist).
    The problem with Islamists and other Talibans is that failed political and military strategies haven’t got rid the world of a nuisance. There is no other problem, it’s them or us, no middleground.

    Reply

  38. Paul Norheim says:

    Ad hominem?
    Or perhaps a communication problem?
    I think I’ve read a couple of dozen posts from you re.
    Afghanistan during the last years, Questions, and all I’ve
    seen is reflections

    Reply

  39. questions says:

    US global hegemony is a mixed bag. It lets a lot of countries off the hook for defense, it lets a fair amount of something vaguely like self determination and peace break out, it tortures, it sponsors coups and right wing dictatorships, it feeds the beast of the gross American appetite for petro products, it kills and maims. A mixed bag.
    What’s the result of killing of US hegemony? Honestly, remake the world w/o the US — like It’s A Wonderful Life where the Jimmy Stewart character finds out what the world would be like without him and it turns out he did accomplish something good in his life. Not that Jimmy Stewart is at all like the US govt — but the point remains the same — getting rid of something disgusting doesn’t mean that the replacement will be an improvement.
    So before you get rid of the truly nasty side of US hegemony, figure out what replaces it. Do a continent by continent analysis, or a country by country or region by region analysis and add up: new defense spending, arms races, insecurity, attempts at gaining broader influence, all the power games that nations play with one another — do all of this without the current global cop on the beat and see what you come up with.
    If it’s good on the whole, if Europe and Asia can afford the defense budgets and want to take their chances on the international scene, then maybe it’ll be good for the US to move back home.
    Is Europe really past war? Will there be no desire for some kind of boundary push absent US presence? Can they just all work it out?
    I’m not enough of a historian or military analyst to give a detailed answer, but I assume the questions must be asked.
    Is the US a bargain despite all the crap we do? Gotta think it through. I think this is, ummm, analysis.
    And please stop with the “finally a policy stance” stuff — I have taken stands on numerous issues, and I have stated that there are limits on what I know, and I have stated that I am a discussant, not a policy deciderator. So the “finally a stance” thing is stale, old, irritating, incorrect, doesn’t add anything to the argument at all…. Ad hominem? Yup.

    Reply

  40. Paul Norheim says:

    “Til I see a way out, I agree with the policy. That’s a policy
    stance.” (Questions)
    For once, a policy stance. Thanks. I appreciate an honest
    admission that you support US global hegemony.
    I don’t.

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    As for why we don’t buy our friends, a couple of things — first, we do — via defense support (all those bases are defense positions and they relieve a lot of the world’s economies from the onerous burden of maintaining a defense economy), second the US population imagines our foreign aid budget to be in the 20% range, not in the 1% range that it actually is, so aid-as-purchase won’t fly politically, third, we don’t have state control of industry such that we can demand industry toe the political line. Any “purchase” of friends then is much harder as it would have to work through independent MNCs — ain’t gonna fly. Fourth, we’ve been utterly short sighted about which countries to invest in — we’ve “done” the ME and neglected mineral rich Africa, we put in place local dictators as we can, we probably didn’t challenge Europe for control in Africa for a host of reasons as well. So there’s some open colonial space in Africa, and as the US falters elsewhere it is opening up some purchase for China. We’ll see if China overinvests or not.
    The bases may do tremendous harm on one level, and they may help on other levels. All of this is a massive cost/benefit calculation that is ongoing, subject to status quo biases and vested interests, and may still be worth it until we find some new way of proceeding.
    It’s not a very pretty world, but it may well be the one we’re stuck with for now.

    Reply

  42. JohnH says:

    Kudos to Pape and Feldman for finally calling out the elephant in the room.
    Washington certainly knows that foreign bases foster resistance, some limited to antipathy (Germany and Japan), and some of the more active variety.
    But Washington refuses to admit this because these ‘anchors of stability’ are actually are markers of American hegemony. And they are constant reminders of who is really in charge in America’s zone of influence. (Why else maintain large bases in the heart of Europe?)
    Moreover, in a world where America faces no serious rivals, terrorist “threats” in faraway places provide exactly the bogeyman needed to justify exorbitant “defense” spending and to quietly extend the reach of America’s hegemony to the most remote corners of the globe. Having an external enemy even gives politicians all the cover they need to quietly erode constitutional rights and hand over the economy to their powerful underwriters.
    Bottom line, the American security industry (like the Israeli one) finds terrorism to an extremely manageable and supremely useful tool in accomplishing what would otherwise be impossible.
    Rather than stimulating discussion, I expect Washington to instruct the corporate media to bury the story ASAP. Discussion will be lost in the election season, and it will be totally buried by the new year.

    Reply

  43. questions says:

    Paul, got it wrong again…. It’s not paralysis, it’s a sad agreement with aspects of current policy — agreement, not paralysis.
    If I were there, I think I’d do the same thing til I found a way out. I’d like to get out. I don’t see a way out. Til I see a way out, I agree with the policy. That’s a policy stance. The thing you keep accusing me of not being able to adopt.
    The status quo is preferable to a variety of possible outcomes of change. If I saw a different set of outcomes, I’d love to change the status quo. But until I read something quite convincing, I’m not there.
    Note that Pape’s view seems to be a little bit waffly too — he doesn’t disagree with the basic goals that bases are intended to bring about, he thinks that bases are counterproductive. Well, indeed they probably are. BUT, the complete absence of bases and base-like substitutes is also something of a problem. Near as I can tell, without yet having read the book I haven’t yet ordered but have put in my amazon cart, I think he’s looking for alternatives to bases, not for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal.
    So why not attack Pape with the same line — geeze he can’t make up his mind… he wants alternatives but until he finds one he might be advocating the status quo and some serious analysis. Probably he’s paralyzed….
    Analysis does not necessarily lead to paralysis. Sometimes it leads to agreement, sad though it might be, with the status quo.
    So if you’re going to go after me again, pick a new tack. This is as old as “fog” and the like.

    Reply

  44. Paul Norheim says:

    “”Suicide missions” are usually the only way to deal with
    “impregnable” positions, and what we are seeing may well
    be a result of the USA’s massive military advantages.”
    This is also relevant to the military advantages of Israel vis
    a vis its adversaries in the Middle East.
    BTW, I notice, to my amusement, that Questions is in
    status quo /paralysis mode again. “Things are very bad.
    Things will only get worse if we try to do something
    differently. The only thing left to do is to read up on
    Machiavelli and Hobbes.”
    And then there is this truly bizarre statement from
    WigWag, that “the greater Muslim world is […] embroiled
    in a bizarre and nihilistic conflict with the rest of the
    world”.
    Personally, I’m more focused on the Alaskan-Canadian
    war, which has lasted since 1993, according to my secret,
    but very reliable sources, who also confirm that Alaska
    now is buying Russian drones to attack rebels in North-
    Eastern Canada, while Canada just ordered 12 new
    submarines from Greenland. That’s a bold, but very
    nihilistic move.

    Reply

  45. Cee says:

    Questions,
    I just don’t want the Chinese buying influence HERE. Keith Olbermann is getting ready to discuss it.
    Some analysts say Obama’s best hope for getting free trade deals approved by Congress is for Republican lawmakers to pick up seats in midterm elections (WashTimes). CFR Senior Fellow Jagdish Bhagwati, for instance, says the last U.S. election brought to power a number of Democratic members of Congress who remain “indebted to trade-fearing unions, thus constraining the pro-trade President Barack Obama.”
    Many Democratic candidates have run on strong anti-free trade platforms, opposing Republicans’ liberalized approach to economic relations with China, South Korea, and other countries associated with U.S. job losses.
    Many Democratic candidates have run on (WSJ) strong anti-free trade platforms, opposing Republicans’ liberalized approach to economic relations with China, South Korea, and other countries associated with U.S. job losses. Representative Tom Perriello (D-VA) has criticized his Republican opponent with ads depicting a U.S. businessman standing before an Asian factory (WSJ), thanking Republican challenger, state Senator Robert Hurt, for “protecting the tax loophole that gives a company like ours a kickback for sending jobs overseas.” Democratic candidates in Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, Indiana, New York, and California have launched similar ads. In response, Republican candidates–heavily funded by business groups (The Hill) including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce–have countered that Democrats’ poor economic policymaking (on taxes, trade, and debt) have worsened the dreary jobs climate. These lawmakers argue that trade deals create U.S. jobs by benefitting U.S. multinational corporations like John Deere and Caterpillar, which operate in states like Illinois, New York, and Iowa. This CFR Backgrounder examines the much-debated relationship between tax advantages for U.S. multinationals, trade, and job growth.
    CFR Director of Studies Jim Lindsay says the midterm elections are not likely to move the trade agenda forward because “Democrats don’t want to vote on free trade agreements, and it’s not clear that a lot of Republicans want to vote on free trade agreements either because it divides their constituents as well.” This division stems partly from the rising Republican “tea party” movement, which remains ambivalent on trade issues. The U.S. Business and Industry Council’s Alan Tonelson says trade protectionist measures fit (WashTimes) the tea party’s overall agenda, since expanded international trade has exacerbated U.S. debt, contributed to the financial crisis, and fed foreign military budgets that threaten U.S. liberties.
    http://www.cfr.org/publication/23003/foreign_policy_and_the_2010_midterm_elections.html

    Reply

  46. DCPundit says:

    Steve,
    Bravo to you for bringing us word of Robert Pape’s next excellent book. I was extremely impressed by “Dying to Win”, his book on suicide terrorism and just purchased this one now through the link. Thank you.
    I hope Dr. Pape knows how fortunate he is to have you providing even more context — and such thoughtful and different context — to add to the question about bases. I know that you did a lot of work with Chalmers Johnson whose chapter, “An Empire of Bases” is must read.
    You simply continue to amaze me and us. Whether it is with people like Chalmers Johnson or Robert Pape or former Senator Chuck Hagel, you have clearly emerged as Washington’s premier thought leader and impresario.

    Reply

  47. paul_lukasiak says:

    Correlation <> Causation.
    Far more likely a reason for the emergence of suicide bombing is US POLICY — Bush II’s adoption of a policy of pre-emption, and the arrogant and ignorant manner in which it was carried out, provides a far better explanation for why suicide bombing has increased. Another factor is the massive technological/equipment advantage that US forces have that make them practically invulnerable. “Suicide missions” are usually the only way to deal with “impregnable” positions, and what we are seeing may well be a result of the USA’s massive military advantages.

    Reply

  48. Cee says:

    Questions,
    Why don’t we start buying friends and influence like China instead of using the military and covert operatives and getting NOTHING!

    Reply

  49. Dan Kervick says:

    questions, I’m not talking about some generic one-size-fits-all philosophy of geopolitics. I’m asking for clarification concerning the specific missions of specific bases, so we can begin to deliberate rationally about the priorities to attach to these different facilities, and weigh their benefits against their costs.
    Obviously, for any square inch on the Earth’s surface where there is not a US base, the opportunity exists for some non-US entity to control that square inch. That’s life in a world in which even the strongest possess finite resources and capacities. Reiterating the well-known and universal facts of life, which apply to every situation at every time, does not advance deliberation about the specific choices that have to be made at a specific time.

    Reply

  50. questions says:

    Dan, here’s one reading — when you take antibiotics, the drug kills the unhealthy bacteria and the healthy stuff you want around. When the healthy bacteria are gone, there’s open real estate, as it were, and opportunistic bacteria can move in and make you sick.
    People often get sick from taking antibiotics.
    If the US moves its troops out, it opens real estate for someone else to move in.
    Gross territorialism. Geostrategy. Game playing. “Defending.”
    Now, maybe if we didn’t have troops stationed all over the place, nothing would shift, no other aggressor would move in, no other claims to resource access would pop up, no even worse governments would emerge, and no shifts in the global balance of power would cause significant risk to US interests. Maybe.
    But the way we’ve been playing this game is the way it’s always been played — and even Machiavelli hits on the usefulness of setting up colonies of one sort or another. If you go live there, you control the place far more easily than if you don’t live there. Of course, he’s a little more careful about judging when it’s appropriate to send in the troops than perhaps the US seems to be, but the logic is pretty constant nonetheless.
    As long as the US is a desiring machine, we will feed the desires.

    Reply

  51. Dan Kervick says:

    So Pape and Feldman present the cost side of some US bases. What is the benefit side? The problem with so many of these debates is that we usually get almost no frank public discussion of what our foreign bases are supposed to be accomplishing. Apparently their missions are subjects too delicate and touchy for polite public discussions. So we citizens just get nervous winks from the policy-makers, and are asked to figure it all out for ourselves. Or else we have to go to some DoD website for the base – if it’s not a clandestine one – and try to interpret the military’s famous euphemisms.
    If we’re going to get an actual public debate of US global military basing policy this time, I hope we can get down into a discussion of missions and contingencies that is more straightforward and detailed than “anchoring stability.”

    Reply

  52. David Benson says:

    Steve,
    Thanks for putting this out there. CPOST really appreciates your support. We invite any curious about the data to checkout the CPOST data site (linked in your main post). Additionally, we at the University and the project welcome any insights. You can leave a comment on our blog, and we will be sure to read it, and respond if possible. http://cpost.uchicago.edu/blog
    David Benson
    CPOST

    Reply

  53. Carroll says:

    Posted by Cee, Oct 05 2010, 4:15PM – Link
    Carroll,
    Have you ever attended a World Affairs meeting? I’ve said things there that I’ve posted here.
    You should see their faces. Whew.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Nope…but during my college years and for some years thereafter I went to several world trade meetings and some confabs in DC on trade and tarrif issues.
    I just have opinions, not expertise…LOL…but then few of the VIP’s in many sectors have any real world expertise either.

    Reply

  54. Cee says:

    Warren,
    Your comments brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.
    Carroll,
    Have you ever attended a World Affairs meeting? I’ve said things there that I’ve posted here.
    You should see their faces. Whew.

    Reply

  55. Carroll says:

    “I once asked Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott whether he thought that America would have problems managing its empire of bases and whether those nations hosting them would feel the burden too heavy in a post-Soviet world. Talbott responded that he believed – as did most of the national security community – that “US bases are anchors of stability in unstable regions.”
    Well, this is the typical response you are going to get from most government officials involved.
    Some are sincerely convinced of their posiiton But also most of them have the tendency and ego to
    always “enlarge and justify their job by their views”. Adopting the simplistic conventional mantras of security and world ‘stability’ is a safe way of staying in government.
    A lot of them should be sent to a Betty Ford like clinic and banned from overseas travel, policy positions or comments on US affairs till they are deprogrammed from the DC superpower cult and get some treatment for their Munchausen by proxy interventionalist obsession.

    Reply

  56. Leonard Beerman says:

    Glad to back in touch with a serious mind at work

    Reply

  57. Carroll says:

    I am mostly in agreement.
    Establishing a military presence in countries those whose culture is very different from ours is rightly resented by their population.
    Bases in countries like GB or France or Germany
    who are culturally similar to us is probably not a problem.
    Then again there have been some countries that have supported US bases simply because they are of economic benefit to the areas they are based in.
    I read recently that the US has invaded and/or participated in coups in 30 countries since WWII. I haven’t bothered to confirm that number since it’s probably accurate or very close to accurate. So reasons to object to US military bases around the world have grown for good reason.
    The fact is we don’t need all these foreign bases, nor can we afford them any longer.
    I doubt 90% of them actually have any strategic benefit to US security or world stability for that matter.
    I looked up the US pentagon budget and related defense spending for 2009 the other day.It accounts for some 30% of the total US budget outlays and in 2009 the approved budget was 532 billion but upped to 925 billion in emergency supplments for various projects.
    The more money congress gives the defense world they more they will find ways to spend it and enrich all the military industrial complex that is so generous to our politicans campaign coffers.
    The historian and essayist Chalmers Johnson has been writing and warning about the waste and folly of the US military presence overreach for years and years.

    Reply

  58. questions says:

    WigWag,
    Half an answer or less regarding your provocative questions above — members of other religions have committed suicide terrorism according to Pape’s research, so it’s certainly not limited to Islam.
    Further, he lists and discusses numerous factors that “aid” in people’s overcoming the suicide prohibition, including community support, rational decision-making and the other factors I noted above (religious difference, conflict against a democracy, and territorial aggression (loosely defined)).
    Funding and instigating and training need to be available, and I would guess that a certain amount of “fashion” is pretty important too. If it’s the “done thing” it’s more likely to be done.
    Another side of your question is answered by David Laitin who notes how very little ethnic conflict there really is given the number of opportunities for conflict.
    What Pape provides is a data-drenched set of descriptions for suicide attacks that have happened since 1980. There are patterns that need to be noted, but these patterns aren’t necessarily completely predictive nor are they exclusive.
    The fact remains that most people aren’t suicide terrorists, most conflicts don’t lead to suicide terror, and most mixed ethnic meet ups don’t lead to conflict.
    Thus, suicide terror results from a subset of a subset of a subset… of human interchanges.
    The goal is to see what is making it so likely in this historical moment, and to cut back on those factors.

    Reply

  59. DonS says:

    I find the argument compelling, and indeed logical in the way that if somebody was occupying your backyard, or your country, over time a radical faction would emerge.
    Now however, there is this added burden of proof to overcome that has become a RW article of faith, spread through their propaganda organs, blurring the lines between jihadists and all Muslims. This supposed ‘fact’ is, right on time, noted upthread by a notoriously anti-Muslim poster.
    So while the empirical evidence linking the US footprint, or heavy boot, in foreign lands, and anti-US sentiment and behavior is clear, there is a growing propaganda offensive in the US poisoning the environment and militating against a rational response to the data.
    Who, among the powerful stakeholders, will lead the way to delinking anti-Muslim prejudice from a promoting a positive strategy and more promising strategy?.

    Reply

  60. Warren Metzler says:

    I had a further thought. I suggest that if you closely examine humans, over an extended period of time, you will see that with rare exceptions persons make gradual progress toward favoring democracy, free enterprise (which is what creates viable economies, not major capitalists organizations such as large corporations), and each person feeling inclined to achieve his or her optimal potential. All of which I call “enlightened self-awareness”.
    You also see that humans are at various stages of development; some of which are far from recognizing the value of enlightened self-awareness. But now consider an additional point. You only move from an restricted view to an enlightened self-awareness through what you learn from your own experiences. You never make such movement through pressure from external sources.
    We fought a war in Vietnam; very destructive for them and us; all based on the assumption that if we didn’t communism would have another foothold, and soon the shores of the US itself would experience invasion. We lost, and communism won. And what do we have today? Major movement has occurred in Vietnam toward enlightened self-awareness. Same in China, same in Russia, same in eastern Europe.
    And I propose; unavoidably the same in all Islamic countries if we just give it time.
    Have the US give up all its military bases overseas, give up the majority here in the US, stop acting as if we must be constantly prepared for major wars, focus on living in a peaceful manner, and watch the rest of the world; slowly to be sure, but also steadily to be sure; move toward enlightened self-awareness.
    This is an inevitable movement; it has been hardwired into the consciousness of every human being; so let us put our focusing on maximizing the self-awareness we possess and can discover; and lead the world through showing what is optimal living. Instead of leading the world through showing technologically advanced techniques of destruction and oppression.

    Reply

  61. Warren Metzler says:

    I never understand how people accept a position is valid just because it exists. “Most war planners and geo-strategists conceive of US military bases abroad as if they are anchors of stability in unstable regions”. It is truly a travesty that is is accepted you can be a war planner, or you can be a geo-strategist. Because I suggest that such attempts are always doomed to fail.
    Valid approaches should be determined by what long term results have shown to work. And I defy you to find an historical situation where circumstances turned out to fit what a war planner or a geo-strategist had proposed.
    Valid work is when you produce a product and the consumer experiences a benefit when using that product. There is no benefit produced when your work is planning for some world event to occur.
    Further, why is it acceptable for government officials and their advisers to believe that a single American base in foreign land can do anything other than create animosity among the people of that land. What else does a military base indicate other than “you are our possession”? Nothing I propose.
    I can’t understand why people don’t recognize that war never creates peace. What creates peace is to interact with peace. The Golden Rule doesn’t exist because it is a nice idea. The Golden Rule exists because demonstrating to others that you have their best interests at heart (which is only possible to do if you act in a manner that treats them as a valid person who has the right to achieve all of which they are capable of), encourages others to focus on achieving their maximal potential. Having your interactions with other be one of violence, dictatorial presentations, and giving the clear impression they should act to serve your interests, encourages others to focus on defending themselves against your aggressive actions. Leaving much less energy and time for them to pursue actions that would involve pursuing their actual potentials.

    Reply

  62. WigWag says:

    This is a provocative post; I’ve downloaded the book on my Kindle (it was only $9.99) and look forward to reading it. But as smart as Steve’s essay is, he’s buried the lead.
    He points out the Japanese dissatisfaction with American bases in Okinawa after the rape of the little girl and he mentions violent demonstrations that took place many years ago in South Korea. He could also have cited the demonstrations against American bases in Germany organized by leftist students and other radicals during the Cold War.
    What Steve doesn’t bring up is the fact that the expressions of dissatisfaction by the Japanese, Germans and South Koreans rarely descended into serious violence, almost never resulted in terrorism and never inspired suicide bombing.
    Self-immolation is a small part of the Buddhist protest tradition but despite the fact that Buddhists, Shintos and followers of a syncretism of both religions makes up 90 percent of the Japanese population, self-immolation was never used as a protest device against American bases in Okinawa. Buddhists make up 25 percent of the South Korean population; yet there were no instances of the practice to protest American bases in South Korea. The Japanese also have a history (especially during World War II) of launching suicide attacks; none took place during the protests against the Okinawa bases.
    Yet suicide terrorism seems to be a ubiquitous feature of Muslim protest; it’s used by Muslims all over the world and against every ethnic and religious group including their co-religionists. The sheer number of suicide terrorist attaks, which unfortunately for Muslims mostly take place in Islamic nations, is truly stunning. The natural question is why the Japanese, Koreans or even Germans who felt aggrieved by the American presence in their homelands, refrained from committing suicide terrorism while the world (especially the Muslim world) lives under constant threat of Muslim suicide terrorism.
    As Steve’s post suggests, there may be a variety of strategies to lessen its footprint that the United States could adopt that would minimize the costs associated with its global reach. But averting your eyes from the fact that virtually all suicide terrorism is committed by Muslims and pretending that the greater Muslim world is not embroiled in a bizarre and nihilistic conflict with the rest of the world, does nothing to uncover the underlying causes of suicide terrorism.

    Reply

  63. Lisa Schirch says:

    UK funded research in 2008 on the “Drivers of Radicalization” also found that the behavior of ISAF troops in terms of night raids, home searches and drones was the top reason along with government corruption why a “fence sitter” would move over to supporting the Taliban insurgents.
    Religious extremism, unemployment and other factors were NOT the main reason for the growth of the Taliban.
    The research can be found here: http://d.yimg.com/kq/groups/23852819/1968355965/name/Drivers%20of%20Radicalisation%20in%20Afghanistan%20Sep%2009.pdf

    Reply

  64. alan says:

    Good post – people like Ron Paul have been claiming
    this for years, citing people like Michael Scheuer.
    He was laughed at in the debates with the moderator
    asking, “So you are saying we should take our
    marching orders from Al Qaeda?”
    Perhaps books/articles like these combined with the
    Paul/Barney Frank statement relating the cost of
    occupation to the budget crisis and the growing
    uproar over drone strikes killing innocents in
    Pakistan will make this a more acceptable position
    in mainstream politics.

    Reply

  65. erichwwk says:

    I am also puzzled why the public (worldwide) proclamation by an American Cabinet member that America had the right to kill 500,000 Iraqi children does not factor into this “understanding” of terrorism. In fact, a search of the book reveals that there is NO (0)mention of the word embargo.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2irN1G5HiRo
    ObL was quite explicit in his post 9/11 statement that THIS was the number one reason he felt a violent response was warranted, as the only sort of message America understands. With Pape’s total silence on this issue, must not one conclude that ObL was correct?

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  66. questions says:

    Pape is a smart thinker.
    There is, though, such a contradiction in what we need to do in the region that we might be far more stuck than we think.
    We have resource issues, stability concerns, alliances both to protect and prevent, competition with other players, a really mobile and able adversarial set of players, wild and effective rhetoric, repressive governments that use this rhetoric as an outlet, and of course the unholy triumvirate of religious difference, democracy, and territorial aggression that Pape notes as central in the previous book.
    Out of this contradictory mess, the ideal is to do what we’re doing without our doing it (I’ve noted this point before) — but of course that doesn’t make a lot of sense because it’s a contradictory response to a contradictory situation.
    Like splitting the baby in half, theorizing the phenomenal and noumenal realms, or the forms and matter, being there and not being there makes for compelling theory but doesn’t get us through the work day. (I think it means we need to become Aristotelians?)
    Offshoring is a version of being there while not being there; getting allies to do our dirty work is yet another.
    The underlying problem is that we need a kind of stability in these places and our need for it seems to be greater than the local need. When you need something more than someone else does, but you’re dependent on them, you end up in a really bad negotiating position.
    When teachers need the kids’ test scores to be higher than the kids themselves care about, the teachers lose power against the students. In the same way, WE need stability and we’re thus empowering others to destabilize.
    Were there mutual desire for stability, it would be far easier to set up a gradated system of deals, one step at a time. But the mutuality is lacking.
    So if anything, I’d recommend looking for some really intricately carved mutual backscratchers to help alter the desire structure.

    Reply

  67. erichwwk says:

    “Pashtun sections of western Pakistan”.
    Sad to view boundaries from the view of those that think they have the right to create them as colonizers to divide a peoples, ignoring what the Afghan’s think?
    Who in Afghanistan accepts this division of Pastun?

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  68. erichwwk says:

    Too bad Robert Pape is unable to take that extra step, and look deeper into what Gandhi meant went he said:
    “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”
    When Pape states (p. 319):
    “America has been waging a long war against terrorism, but without much serious public debate about what is motivating terrorists to kill us”
    is he too not guilty of this charge of “superficiality” when he argues for the retention of conflict resolution by force, merely moving that force from “onshore” to “offshore”?
    That said, kudos to Steve and Robert for a deeper analysis than one generally finds about “terrorism”. I loved his “Dying to Win”.
    It’s a beginning. But let’s continue moving.

    Reply

  69. Cee says:

    I also ordered Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order – F. William Engdahl
    Operation Gladio costs more than I want to pay now.

    Reply

  70. Cee says:

    Great article. I’ll be ordering the book today.
    Comedian Bill Maher said we set up a base and don’t leave.
    We also need to ask who find “another generation of hardened terrorists” useful.
    Don’t tell me that intelligence agencies haven’t infiltrated some of these groups and encouraged unhinged individuals and directed their actions.
    I think of the knucklehead “Times Square Bomber” in NY who was just sentenced.

    Reply

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