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Are they the world’s policemen? Or is this colonialism via the back door?

Figures from the US Department of Defense show that at the end of 2007 there were around 500,000 active duty military personnel based in countries outside the USA and its territories.

The widespread appearance of US military bases throughout the world is being viewed by many as an attempt at colonialism via the back door. Recently, Myanmar refused entry to aid workers from the US. Was this refusal made out of fear that once the US enters a country they will not know when it is time to leave?

Three of the world’s largest US military bases are in Germany, Japan and Korea. These bases were originally set up for justifiable reasons but now, over 50 years later, questions need to be asked:

  • Is such a level of intervention still required in these countries?
  • Have the US military outstayed their welcome?
  • Is this seen as an unnecessary expense for US taxpayers?
  • Is such a worldwide military presence adversely affecting people’s attitudes towards US citizens?

The list below shows the top 25 countries with the highest number US active duty military personnel on 31st December 2007.

For the figures in full, click here

1 Iraq (in and around) 196,600
2 Germany 57,155
3 Japan 33,164
4 Rep of Korea 26,076
5 Afghanistan (in and around) 25,700
6 Italy 9,701
7 UK 9,655
8 Djibouti 2,190
9 Turkey 1,586
10 Bahrain 1,442
11 Serbia (and Kosovo) 1,343
12 Belgium 1,292
13 Spain 1,264
14 Cuba (Guantanamo) 917
15 Portugal 829
16 Netherlands 583
17 Qatar 419
18 Honduras 388
19 Greece 369
20 Egypt 261
21 Saudi Arabia 257
22 Diego Garcia 254
23 Philippines 148
24 Canada 143
25 Australia 138