“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” – Douglas Adams, “The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time“
Perspective is quite possibly one of the most valuable allies in accessing foreign policy. American perspective on military power, military occupation, military commitment, and what are and are not obligatory engagements has largely been skewed because our nation is so large, powerful, and constantly involved in international military affairs. This post is going to draw comparisons between the foreign military presence of the US and the foreign military presence of NATO, China, and Russia.
Let’s start off by stating that there is not an official number of how many US military bases exist around the world, but a safe estimate is somewhere in the hundreds.
I always find it interesting how the United States continues to have so many foreign military bases all around the world and we seem to think that is acceptable–as if we have the right to enter another sovereign nation and establish our peaceful military presence indefinitely. (Of course, if Britain tried to establish a military base in the US, we would be more than outraged!) I definitely don’t want to get into that discussion too deeply, though. But, firstly, look at NATO’s foreign military presence: NATO has 30 military bases total. [Source]
– Whiteman, U.S.A.
– Lakenheath and Mildenhall in United Kingdom,
– Eindhoven in Netherlands,
– Brüggen, Geilenkirchen, Landsberg, Ramstein, Spangdahlem, Rhein-Main in Germany,
– Istres and Avord in France,
– Morón de la Frontera and Rota in Spain,
– Brescia, Vicenza, Piacenza, Aviano, Istrana, Trapani, Ancora, Pratica di Mare, Amendola, Sigonella, Gioia dell Colle, Grazzanise and Brindisi in Italy,
– Tirana in Albania,
– Incirlik in Turkey,
– Eskan Village in Soudi Arabia, and
– Ali al Salem in Koweit.
China is a militarily powerful nation. This article written in 2010 describes plans that China had/has to establish a military base in Pakistan. Now notice a couple things: they only have plans to do so, and it is ONLY two or three bases in ONE country compared to the hundreds of US bases. Just some perspective.
Russia is also another powerful nation. Russia has a rough total of 15 military bases round the world, almost all of them in former Soviet Union nations. Wikipedia is a great resource for background information, and this can show you the list of Russian bases.
Now, this is the United States. And this is only up until 2003.