News Release

Behind Biden’s Rhetoric of Peace at UN: U.S.’s 750 Bases Around the World

DAVID VINE, vine@american.edu
    Vine is co-author of the just-released report “Drawdown: Improving U.S. and Global Security Through Military Base Closures Abroad.”

    He said today: “While President Biden’s UN speech promised some additional humanitarian assistance globally and had some nice words about diplomacy, global unity, and not wanting a new Cold War, many of his actions internationally — other than withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan — have been downright awful.” Vine noted Biden is “perpetuating the United States’ endless wars” in countries including “Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen” and escalating “war-like tensions with China with a military buildup with Australia and the UK.” Vine also just wrote the piece “Not just about subs, AUKUS expands U.S. military footprint in Australia, too.”

    Among the findings of the just-released report:

• The United States has nearly three times as many military bases abroad (750) as U.S. embassies, consulates, and missions worldwide (276).

• While there are approximately half as many installations as at the Cold War’s end, U.S. bases have spread to twice as many countries and colonies (from 40 to 80) in the same time, with large concentrations of facilities in the Middle East, East Asia, parts of Europe, and Africa.

• The United States has at least three times as many overseas bases as all other countries combined.

• U.S. military bases abroad cost taxpayers an estimated $55 billion annually.

• Construction of military infrastructure abroad has cost taxpayers at least $70 billion since 2000, and could total well over $100 billion.

• Bases abroad have helped the United States launch wars and other combat operations in at least 25 countries since 2001.

• U.S. installations are found in at least 38 non-democratic countries and colonies.

The report was published by the Quincy Institute and World BEYOND War. Vine is a professor at American University. His books include The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State (University of California Press, 2020).

The report notes: “The Pentagon, since Fiscal Year 2018, has failed to publish its previously annual list of U.S. bases abroad. As far as we know, this brief presents the fullest public accounting of U.S. bases and military outposts worldwide.”