America's Overseas Garrisons: The Leasehold Empire

America's Overseas Garrisons: The Leasehold Empire

America's Overseas Garrisons: The Leasehold Empire

America's Overseas Garrisons: The Leasehold Empire

Synopsis

America's overseas Garrisons analyses the political and social problems, which arise when American forces are stationed in other countries. The United States, although critical of the British Empire during the Second World War, found itself playing an imperial role in the post-war era in order to safeguard the security of the west. In building up a global security system, with American troops in Europe, the Far East, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean and the Pacific, the United States cameto resemble the former colonial powers. But whereas the colonial empire had established garrisons on territory acquired by force, the United States was obliged to negotiate basing rights for their troops by negotiating with independent sovereign states. The result was a variety of arrangements with different host nations, in which the American position, and the use America could make of her troops overseas, was critically dependant of America's political and historical relationship with the country concerned. The United States has based more troops overseas than any of the colonial empires. However, the terms of the leasehold empire have imposed severe constraints on America's freedom of manoeuvre.

Excerpt

The United States, hitherto an isolationist and anti-colonial nation, emerged from the Second World War with an extensive network of military bases around the world and responsibilities for global security on an unprecedented scale. the threat of communism, emanating initially from the Soviet Union but later also from China, coupled with Britain’s inability to maintain her pre-war position as a world power, obliged the United States to abandon her wartime plans for Four Power collective security arrangements and develop a global security system of her own. But in undertaking this role, previously discharged by Britain, the United States had relatively few overseas possessions in which to station her forces. For the first time in history, the dominant world power had to maintain the peace largely without the benefit of overseas military bases under its sovereign control. the United States was therefore obliged to build up her global security system through a variety of bilateral and multilateral arrangements concluded, for the most part, with other sovereign nations.

Apart from the few areas where the United States was able to station troops on her own overseas territories, she was compelled to negotiate basing rights with previous wartime partners, former colonial or quasicolonial possessions, countries which she had occupied, either singly or with her allies, at the end of the war and a number of other nations with whom she had hitherto had no direct security relationship. in each case, the relationship between host nation and the visiting American forces was different and consequently the political constraints on the use of us troops stationed abroad varied from country to country.

In many, but not all, cases the United States leased the military facilities she required overseas from the host nation. To underline the novel aspect of these negotiated relationships with other sovereign powers, the term ‘leasehold empire’ has been used to characterize the United States post-war global security system. This study aims to chart the development of this system and examine the wide variety of relationships within it. It is not intended to be a comprehensive account of each military base or installation made available to the United States (often referred to, erroneously, as American bases overseas). Nor does the study examine military facilities established by the United States in other countries for specific military operations, in particular the . . .

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