Not satisfied with sowing greater chaos and despair in the Middle East for the last decade, the Obama Administration is reportedly planning for the U.S. to expand its imperial footprint throughout Africa, Asia and other parts of the Middle East with a series of new military bases. The base plan was reportedly submitted this year by now-former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.
The U.S. already has military personnel in 135 countries, with the Department of Defense’s own reports acknowledging the existence of over 660 U.S. military bases abroad [PDF]. Military spending in the U.S. dwarfs all other countries with an annual appropriation of roughly a trillion dollars.
But don’t worry, the Department of Defense is saying these new bases will only cost millions, not billions of dollars:
Officials said that the Pentagon’s proposed new architecture of bases would include four “hubs” — including expanding existing bases in Djibouti and Afghanistan — and smaller “spokes,” or more basic installations, in countries that could include Niger and Cameroon, where the United States now carries out unarmed surveillance drone missions, or will soon.
The hubs would range in size from about 500 American troops to 5,000 personnel, and the likely cost would be “several million dollars” a year, mostly in personnel expenses, Pentagon officials said. They would also require the approval of the host nation.
The Pentagon also wants to expand its base in Erbil, Iraq and seeks more capabilities to monitor and intervene in Libya — a country the Pentagon helped destroy on orders of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Much of the plan seems to be founded on incorporating a series of bases the Pentagon setup for special operations forces into the main imperial system so those installations can receive funds from the annual Department of Defense budget and regional commands can better manage troop deployments.
This plan also, of course, sets the groundwork for another series of wars in the region — wars the U.S. national security elite seem desperate to get into with the primary interest clearly being to keep the war machine rolling. Peace is bad for business and, by setting down bases and other assets, the U.S. can provoke attacks and then justify its use of force on defensive grounds.
It’s an old playbook making its way to new territory. The real question is whether or not support for such adventurism can be found in a nation whose population is exhausted and frustrated by a decade of military blunders and failure.