The Struggle to Dismantle Washington’s Ocean Empire

March 13th, 2021 - by World BEYOND War & Robert Kajiwara / China Is Not Our Enemy & CODEPINK

Thanks to the US Military, the Pacific Ocean is Far from Pacific

World BEYOND War

The closing of US bases and the removal of US military personnel are critical to the elimination of war. This campaign is a major focus for World BEYOND War.

At least 90% of foreign military bases in the world are US bases. The United States has more than 150,000 military troops deployed outside the United States on more than 800 bases (some estimates are more than 1000) in 160 countries, and all 7 continents. These bases are the central feature of US foreign policy which is one of coercion and threat of military aggression.

The United States uses these bases in a tangible way to pre-position troops and weaponry in the event they are “needed” at a moment’s notice, as a manifestation of US imperialism and global domination, and as a constant implicit threat. Additionally, because of a history of military aggression, countries with US bases are targets for attack.

There are two principal problems with foreign military bases:

  1. All these facilities are integral to preparations for war, and as such undermine international peace and security. The bases serve to proliferate weapons, increase violence and undermine international stability.
  2. Bases cause social and environmental problems at a local level. Communities living around the bases often experience high levels of rapes committed by foreign soldiers, violent crimes, loss of land or livelihood, and pollution and health hazards caused by the testing of conventional or non-conventional weapons. In many countries the agreement that permitted the base stipulates that foreign soldiers who perpetrate crimes cannot be held accountable, since they are granted immunity.

These military bases are highly contentious as they have negative effects on the host nations, as well as the fact that they can violate that nation’s sovereignty. There is no consensus or international framework to deal with the problems caused by foreign military bases.

The closing of US foreign military bases in particular, would have a significant effect on global perceptions, and represent a massive shift in foreign relations. With each base closure, the US would become less of a threat. Relations with host countries would be improved as the base real estate and facilities are rightfully returned to local government. Because the United States is far and away the most powerful and aggressive military in the world, the closing of foreign bases would represent an easing of tensions for everyone. If the US makes such a gesture, it may induce other countries to address their own foreign and military policies. The closing of US bases and the removal of US military personnel are critical to the elimination of war.

Demilitarizing the Pacifics

Robert Kajiwara / China Is Not Our Enemy & CODEPINK

(March 10, 2021) — Chamorro, Native Hawaiians, and Native Ryukyuans / Okinawans have formed a trilateral partnership, demanding a removal of the US military from our islands and a return of our democratic right to self-determination. Here is our new panel presentation at the UN Human Rights Council titled “Demilitarizing the Pacific: Ryukyu, Mariana, Hawaii.”

Robert Kajiwara is a PhD in History ABD, at the Manchester Metropolitan University


To get involved, scroll down and contact us, or sign the Declaration of Peace here and check “I want to work on closing bases” to get involved. 

To learn more, check out these resources:

Coalitions and Campaigns:
•   Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases
•   Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition
•   Let Us Return USA — Support for the Chagossian People
•   US Troops Out of Germany

Online Resources:
Articles on this website about bases and closing them
•   Mapping Where the Foreign Bases Are
•   List of US Bases Abroad, compiled by David Vine
•   Foreign Bases That Have Been Closed, and How
•   Powerpoint on closing bases. World BEYOND War Coordinating Committee Chair Leah Bolger is available to present this workshop to groups, in-person or virtually. Click here to contact Leah to arrange an event with your group.
A report on the social and environmental risks of US bases in Australia, prepared by Friends of the Earth Australia and the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network.
•   Bombs in Your Backyard: searchable database that allows people in the US to find military installations near them and see the toxic impacts
•   A Pentagon Report released in March, 2018 details widespread chemical poisoning of water supplies on military bases and in surrounding communities worldwide.

World BEYOND War and allies met in Dublin, Ireland, in November 2018. Text and video of David Swanson’s remarks are here. Pat Elder presented here on the subject of the environmental damage of bases. Three complete videos of the three days of the conference are here. The conference program and schedule are here.

•   United States of War by David Vine
•   The Sun Never Sets: Confronting the Network of US Foreign Military Bases by Joseph Gerson
•   Base Nation: How US Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World by David Vine
•   Island of Shame: The Secret History of the US Military Base on Diego Garcia by David Vine
•   The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle against US Military Posts by Catherine Lutz
•   Homefront by Catherine Lutz


World BEYOND War Board President Leah Bolger is a retired US Naval officer and was stationed in four foreign countries. She is available to present a one-hour webinar on US bases and how to close them, upon request to your group or organization. Contact us below to schedule one.

Social Media:
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Get involved in working on a campaign to close bases by contacting us: