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The bases of resistance

You may have been misled by the announcement made by US President Bush in August this year that 70,000 US troops serving overseas will be brought home and a third of US military sites will be shut down over the next 10 years. While troop numbers may be reduced in obsolete Cold War bastions like Germany and South Korea, plans are afoot to construct dozens of ‘leaner and meaner’ military facilities and access agreements throughout what the US has dubbed the ‘arc of instability’: running from Latin America through most of Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Central and Southeast Asia. In an estimated 890 sites around the world, US bases have led to evictions, environmental destruction and the undermining of democracy. An ‘arc of solidarity’ is developing in opposition. The Philippines set an example in 1992, when the country booted out the US. Then, after years of protest in Vieques, Puerto Rico, the US was evicted last year. Now anti-bases protest has taken hold in Japan: after a US military helicopter crashed in Okinawa in August, the largest anti-US rally in nearly a decade demanded that the troops go home. Meanwhile, at the nearby fishing port of Henoko, communities have staged a continuous sit-in since 19 April against the planned construction of a military airport. As local struggles continue, a global resistance strategy is being mapped out, demanding the closure of all military bases. Read more at

New Internationalist issue 374 magazine cover This article is from the December 2004 issue of New Internationalist.
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