The United States has somewhere between 800-1,000 military bases located in foreign countries across the globe, a reality that certifies the U.S.’s position as the world’s preeminent imperial power in an era of anti-imperialist consciousness. The rest of the world combined by contrast has just 30 foreign bases. Building and maintaining such a vast empire is a costly affair. The so-called “defense” budget accounts for just under 1/4 of the nearly $4 trillion annual U.S. budget. As noted in CounterPunch, “Direly needed investments in infrastructure, education and social programs are neglected at the expense of runaway military costs outside the country.”
- Military spending makes up more than 55% of all discretionary spending in the U.S. federal budget, and the cost of maintaining the foreign bases alone amounts to $120 billion. To put this into perspective, that’s “four times the amount spent on Social Security, Unemployment & Labor ($29 billion); nearly twice as much as Housing and Community ($63 billion); four times as much as Science ($30 billion); and 1.7 times as much as Education ($70 billion).”
- That’s to say nothing of the extraordinary human cost that those whose lives have been negatively impacted and torn apart to make way for these bases. Over many decades the U.S. military “and its personnel have committed many atrocities. Overwhelmingly, the crimes go unnoticed and the perpetrators go unpunished.” Ethnic cleansing and sexual exploitation are an inevitable result of the conquering of so much land for empire-building.