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Military Necessities & Political Uncertainties

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 September 2018

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Overseas bases go against the American grain. Associated in popular imagination with the emanations of nineteenth-century imperialism, their retention today seems anachronistic, their expansion sinister. Yet this nation has held a global grid of bases since the 1940s; and though shrunk from 150 major naval and air bases in its cold war heyday to a mere 30 today, it remains the underpinning of U.S. global strategy. However reluctantly, the United States has assumed a global commitment, and it has fashioned a strategy of containment to sustain it. American bases abroad are the physical manifestations as well as the emotive symbols of that historic strategy. As such, they help not only to identify America's place in a changing world but also to determine whether such change warrants a reorientation of strategy.

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Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 1984

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