News Release

Biden Claims Not to Seek Conflict with China: So Why All the Military Bases?


DAVID VINE,, @davidsvine

Vine is a professor at American University and works with the Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition.

Biden said in his State of the Union address Tuesday night: “I’ve made clear with President Xi that we seek competition, not conflict.”

Vine countered: “But his actions indicate the opposite as he has accelerated a longstanding buildup of U.S. military bases and forces surrounding China, most recently with the Philippines bases deal.”

Newsweek recently reported that Admiral James Stavridis “suggested the balloon could have been signaling frustration over a new deal between the United States and the Philippines. … Stavridis said China could be particularly enraged by the deal allowing the U.S. access to bases on the northern island of Luzon, home to the Philippines’ capital and largest city, Manila.”

The Coalition recently released a statement: “Why New U.S. Military Bases in the Philippines Are a Bad Idea,” which begins:

* “On February 1, the governments of the United States and the Philippines announced the U.S. military will have access to four new military bases in the Philippines as part of an ‘Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement’ signed in 2014.

* “Five bases that already host U.S. troops will see $82 million in infrastructure spending.

* “Most of the new bases are likely to be in the northern Philippines close to China, Taiwan, and East Asian waters that have been the subject of growing regional disputes.”

The group states: “The U.S. Already Has Too Many Bases in Asia:

* “There are already at least 313 U.S. military base sites in East Asia, according to the Pentagon’s most recent list, including in Japan, South Korea, Guam, and Australia. New bases would add to a counterproductive buildup of U.S. bases and forces in the region that is costing U.S. taxpayers billions while undermining U.S. and regional security.

* “New bases would further encircle China and escalate military tensions, encouraging a Chinese military reaction.

* “There are hundreds of additional bases in other parts of Asia and a total of around 750 U.S. bases abroad located in some 80 countries and territories/colonies.”

Vine’s books include: Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, and most recently The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State.