The American Empire’s Bases Without Borders: New U.S. Global Basing Strategy Gears for a War to Last for Generations*

Since 9/11, the United States has set in motion a new basing strategy involving the most extensive realignment of U.S. military forces that will establish American military supremacy in all corners of the world. The strategy includes using the Philippines as a base for troop operations in the region and as a naval staging post for carrier groups headed for the Indian Ocean and Middle East.

By Bobby Tuazon

The U.S. imperialist war on Iraq in March 2003 and in Afghanistan in October 2001 set a new stage of imperialist interventionism throughout the world. In its goal to strengthen its hegemony and domination of the world, U.S. imperialism continues to rely more and more on wars of aggression that are driven by the doctrines of unilateralism, pre-emptive action and attacks against international law and humanitarianism. Corollary to this new level of imperialist interventionism is the colonial occupation of the vanquished countries, particularly Afghanistan and Iraq and, in the case of its former colony, the Philippines, renewed attempts at recolonization.

U.S. imperialism may have won its recent wars of genocide in Afghanistan and Iraq, mainly because they were small and economically-depressed countries whose armies were weakened by years of economic sanctions and pre-invasion bombings. But U.S. imperialism is now pinned down by continued resistance and warlord infighting in Afghanistan and by an increasingly lethal guerilla war in Iraq where American deaths now total 500 – proving once again that the invincibility that imperialism purports to be is a myth.

U.S. unilateralism is also creating a new period of animosities between the U.S. itself and its chief imperialist rivals that will likely deteriorate into open inter-imperialist contention in the years to come. It is clear that the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq were not about weapons of mass destruction or “rogue regimes” but about the control of oil resources as well as preventing other major oil-dependent countries such as France, Germany, Russia and even China from making this energy more accessible to their economies. U.S. imperialism’s goal to control oil in the Persian Gulf and other regions such as South America and Northern Africa through war and other instruments is also a means of denying its economic rivals not only from acquiring a major foothold in the oil-rich regions but also from making them more competitive economically and militarily. This has been part of the post-Cold War agenda of U.S. imperialism.

For immediate air strikes

After Afghanistan and Iraq, the neo-conservative faction of the Bush administration that has been responsible for the invasion of the two countries is once again beating the drums of war for similar regime changes in Iran, Syria and North Korea – all remaining members of Bush’s “axis of evil.” Late December last year, Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser and “intellectual guru” of the hardline neo-conservative faction, and David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, came out with a book, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror, that contained a public manifesto, “manual for victory.” In it, Perle and Frum warned of a tottering of the “will to win” arising from the post-Iraq war doldrums and called for immediate air strikes against the three countries.1

In particular, the two proposed a Cuba-style military blockade followed by a war against North Korea and the toppling of Syria’s leader, Bashar Assad, along with shutting oil supplies from Iraq and raids into Syria. It should be recalled that it was Perle, chair of the Defense Advisory Board, who as early as February last year named Iran, Syria and Libya as the next targets of U.S. invasion. In the new book, he also called for actions against France and Saudi Arabia – two countries he considers as enemies.

Since the collapse of the revisionist USSR and Eastern Europe in the late 1980s-1991, the finance oligarchy of U.S. imperialism began to assert its global hegemony and dominance using various pretexts and ideological constructs such as “rogue regimes,” Islamic fundamentalist extremism, nuclear arms proliferation, humanitarian mission and war against terror. U.S. imperialism grabbed the opportunity of being the sole superpower to push its hegemonic ambitions in the vast landmass of territories and resources left in the fall of the revisionist regimes and other areas that were once flashpoints of superpower rivalry. These include Central Asia, parts of Indian subcontinent, southern and eastern Europe, the Caspian Region, the Persian Gulf, and northern Africa, all collectively known as the greater Eurasia. Greater Eurasia contains 70 percent of the world’s oil resources and other valuable natural wealth that can sustain U.S. imperialism as the dominant economic and military power throughout the 21st century or even beyond. While before U.S. national security is defined as ensuring America’s access to the world’s resources, markets and cheap labor now it has been reconfigured to mean economic domination and modern colonialism. Making the American Empire a truly global empire began to be deemed as achievable.


Pursued since the era of imperialism, the American Empire’s grand strategy for global hegemony and domination came into shape in its currency with the re-ascendancy of the ultra-right, militarist-minded sections of the U.S. finance oligarchy since the 1980s particularly during the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations and presently under the Bush Jr. presidency. The likes of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle advocated the use of more aggressive political and military solutions to make the world safe for U.S. monopoly capital and to rein in countries along the path of globalization.

In 1992, then Defense Secretary Cheney, Wolfowitz (now deputy secretary of defense) and I. Lewis Libby (now Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff), fashioned a secret blueprint for world domination, called the “Defense Policy Guidance” (DPG). DPG called for the unilateral and pre-emptive use of U.S. military power in the launching of a “war on terrorism” against America’s enemies. Five years later, these Republican hawks along with Donald Rumsfeld (the current defense chief), Condoleezza Rice (the current national security adviser), Zalmay Khalilzad and others formed the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). In the election year of 2000, PNAC authored candidate Bush Jr.’s security agenda, under the heading “Rebuilding America’s Defenses – Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century.”2

Among other objectives, “Rebuilding” sought the strengthening of U.S. military supremacy throughout the world; the increase in defense spending and in the number of deployable forces; and the repositioning and shifting of overseas military installations. Specifically, it also called for a much larger military presence over more areas of the world; for more permanent military bases in the Middle East, Southeast Europe, Latin America and in Southeast Asia. All these meant going beyond the level reached by U.S. global military might in 2000: 800 military installations including 60 major ones; a military presence in 140 countries including major force deployments in 25 countries; training exercises including Special Operations Forces missions in 180 countries.3 The number of overseas military bases does not include several secret bases outside the U.S. and 6,000 other bases in its own territories.4

The project for redrawing the map of the oil-rich Middle East was also planned: it called for the launching of a second war against Iraq and mentioned Libya, Syria, Iran and, outside the region, North Korea as other targets for “regime change.” U.S. objectives in Iraq became both regional and international: Having its own puppet regime in Iraq would tighten the U.S. grip on Persian Gulf oil and sends signals to its economic rivals that they would suffer a similar fate.

Bush’s National Energy Policy report reveals that the U.S. will import two-thirds of its oil by 2020 and recommends that the U.S. president place energy at the top of its foreign and trade policy. “Middle East oil producers will remain central to world oil security,” the report adds.5 The hegemony of the American Empire rests on its control of the world’s energy resources.

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