175 Countries and Counting

Professor Catherine Lutz

During the football playoffs yesterday, the announcers thanked the men and women of the U.S. military serving in 175 countries around the world who were watching the game on the Armed Forces Network. There are soldiers who serve in U.S. embassies around the world, but the global U.S. military presence beyond the embassies is really quite enormous. The United States has more than nine hundred military bases in forty-six countries, not including Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the most powerful nation in the world, the United States is also the most visible nation in the world. And the presence of U.S. soldiers has a significant impact on societies as Professor Cathy Lutz points out in this video. All of Lutz’s videos on this topic are worth looking at. Lutz has an interest in militarization and demilitarization and is the editor of the recently published The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle against U.S. Military Posts.

Professor Lutz has also helped the Choices Program with its curriculum resource for high school students The U.S. Role in a Changing World. It is designed to help students reflect about global changes, assess national priorities, and decide for themselves the role the United States should play in the world today. 
Two questions for high school students, but also for the rest of us are clear. Why do we have such a large number of military bases worldwide? What are the costs (in all their dimensions) of maintaining vast number military bases worldwide?