Embattled Garrisons: Comparative Base Politics and American Globalism.

In This Review

Embattled Garrisons: Comparative Base Politics and American Globalism.

By Kent E. Calder
Princeton University Press, 2007
340 pp. $60.00
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The United States' military dominance is built on a worldwide system of bases. This important book provides a much-needed survey of the history and politics of these "global guardians." As Calder argues, military bases on foreign soil have long been fixtures of empire, but the U.S. postwar network of forward-deployed forces is historically unique in its global reach and geopolitical role. In contrast to Chalmers Johnson's "empire of bases" thesis, Calder's argument suggests that the U.S. system of bases has generally played a stabilizing role and worked to the advantage of all parties. But the amount of political support for these far-flung security partnerships varies widely -- and Calder's chief concern is to identify the factors that generate stability and those that create conflict. Calder ends by affirming the strategic value of forward deployments and suggesting that the "Singapore model" -- in which facilities are maintained but with minimal U.S. military personnel -- may be the wave of the future.