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U.S. looks to get more cash from allies that host its troops

52 Comments
By LOLITA C. BALDOR

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Reasonable.

Whilst I recognize our troops are stationed around the world to protect American interests, if the "host" countries feel they are needed, they can pay a fair share.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Mmmm, not sure how much success the U.S. will have with that in the case of the European countries at this point.

Coming on the demand that NATO member countries increase their support for NATO, I can't see there being much receptivity to this.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think they are not needed. They should be asked to go home.

Sounds more like the mob asking for "protection" money.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

I think they are not needed. They should be asked to go home.

The host countries disagree.

Sounds more like the mob asking for "protection" money.

False equivalency. The host countries are free to ask the US to leave at any time they want and the US is then obliged to leave.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

These are good conversations to have. Let's just hope Donnie doesn't screw it up with a lot of needless bombast and cries of victimization. Our troops are there to project US power and we need them

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The key to this move would be getting Germany to increase its cost. Germany is a key ally to not only the US but to many other countries. Also, Germany is the command hub for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

These are good conversations to have. Let's just hope Donnie doesn't screw it up with a lot of needless bombast and cries of victimization.

Doesn’t have to, just make it perfectly clear, if you want us to help you and to put OUR people’s lives on the line and want us to spend OUR money, you need to pony up, pay more or take care of yourself. I’m sure the wallets will open quickly after that which seems more than fair.

Our troops are there to project US power and we need them.

I definitely agree with that.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Bass:. Doesn’t have to, just make it perfectly clear, if you want us to help you and to put OUR people’s lives on the line and want us to spend OUR money, you need to pony up, pay more or take care of yourself. I’m sure the wallets will open quickly after that which seems more than fair.

Yeah, this is the childish bombast I was hoping to avoid. Troops are an exchange of benefits. Only a fool would rush in and make demands like we aren't getting anything in return.

And since they are our allies Trump won't be as nice as he is with enemy dictators. My guess is he will screw it up.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yeah, this is the childish bombast I was hoping to avoid. Troops are an exchange of benefits.

And we get from Europe.....

Only a fool would rush in and make demands like we aren't getting anything in return.

Only a fool would keep the current status quo.

And since they are our allies Trump won't be as nice as he is with enemy dictators. My guess is he will screw it up.

As my father used to tell me growing up, there are times more than often where your friends will take advantage of your generosity, not intentionally, but they get too comfortable and you need to remind them, you don’t roll like that, respect goes both ways and people never respect weakness.

I hope Trump goes in with a wrecking ball.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

OK! Trump is a businessman. He wants profits of America first. U.S. Forces do not have to stay where they are not benefitting U.S. But they will keep their forces where U.S. interests will be affected by withdrewals and will not demand cashes to host them.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

At the end of WW2, America decided to be the policeman of the world, and lived in fear of communism and the Soviet Union.

The European allies, like the UK housed their bases and nuclear weapons. The first line of defense against a Soviet attack on America.

More than 800 bases across the globe protecting America first interests. It seeks or claims global hegemony.

Bases in 70 countries with a military budget greater than most countries. 2% of the American workforce works for the military. The weapons manufactures oppose any reduction in the military budget.

It also has the option of closing those bases and bringing home all the troops. Reducing the size of its military budget.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

bass: And we get from Europe.....

The ability for the US to strike nearly every part of the world anytime, at our discretion. Which is good for us.

We don't keep troops in Japan to help Japan. We keep them there to put hardware on China's front door. Same with Europe. Same with everywhere. China and Russia haven't built up allies like we have and don't have near the same capabilities because of it.

It's critical for the US to be pretty much everywhere we can be, even if it pisses people off, and all of it is possible because we have allies. It's a strength that is unmatched anywhere else in the world, and it comes down to relationships and shared values. And sometimes realpolitik.

So....like I said....I think these discussions are good. It should be a shared burden and it should be reviewed from time to time. But if that dimwit starts tweeting off threats to our allies it's just going to make everything suck, especially after watching him kiss Un's rear.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

zichi: At the end of WW2, America decided to be the policeman of the world, and lived in fear of communism and the Soviet Union. The European allies, like the UK housed their bases and nuclear weapons. The first line of defense against a Soviet attack on America. More than 800 bases across the globe protecting America first interests. It seeks or claims global hegemony.

Which was a result of Pearl Harbor. Before that, the US was mostly isolationist. We learned that the problems of the world that start far away can end up on our doorstep. After that the goal was to put as much hardware around the world as we could to project our military far away from our borders. If there was going to be a war, it was going to be over there, not over here.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Which was a result of Pearl Harbor. If there was going to be a war, it was going to be over there, not over here.

Pearl Harbor has been the only attack on America and never on its mainland. WW2 cost it $288 billion or $5 trillion in todays value, but the effects of the war on the US economy were that it decisively ended the great depression and created a booming economy soaring to become the world leader in manufacturing, technology, industry and agriculture.

Since the end of WW2 America has been involved in numerous wars causing great death and destruction like Vietnam and the criminal use of chemical agents like Agent Orange. Its involvement in coups in South America to overthrow elected governments it opposed.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

SuperLib sums things up well. I'd add that a big part of projecting power isn't merely about policing the world or sharing values--it's also about pressuring suppliant states into opening their markets to a vast network of multinational interests. Someone mentioned the mob upthread and it's an apt analogy IMO. While of course we benefit from having bases in East Asia, so do those who come under our protection and as such they should have to contribute to the enormous costs involved.

It's additionally about bullying such states into coughing up their resources at less than favorable rates, in lieu of nationalizing production and keeping the profits to themselves. In other words, it's the ugly business of empire wrapped up in a lot of lofty rhetoric. When the Americans took over the oil fields of Iran after the 1953 coup they orchestrated, guess which oil companies were displaced--that last globe-straddling empire, the Brits.

Americans face no threats at home from any of any nation. We could simply nuke them off the map. But cede Korean or Central Asian bases and how long do you expect it'd take for China or Russia to fill that void.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

But if that dimwit starts tweeting off threats to our allies it's just going to make everything suck, especially after watching him kiss Un's rear.

Well, he never kissed the rear of the man, the sanctions haven’t been lifted, it’s quite apparent why he now has a temper tantrum and is doing what he’s doing now thinking for som odd reason that maybe he can score a win and have the President relieve some of these sanctions and the President won’t make the same dimwit mistakes his predecessors made.

I think if Trump goes in there, he shouldn’t hold back and be frank with our allies and if they can’t understand the dynamics of the issue and want to split hairs and think or expect Trump to sugarcoat things and play the Washington spiel, they are in for a sad awakening.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Japan already pay a lot for these military bases in Japanese lands. And if you compare Japanese and American military houses, hah, you can realize that things are unfair to Japanese side. I did not to mention other benefits paid with Japanese taxpayer money as a free pass on highway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, at least in the case of Japan, US troops are not here to protect the country. They were put here after the war to ensure that Japan never again tried to overrun Asia. So they can be sent home. I seem to remember Trump saying he was going to bring all troops back home (he originally said Japan got its protection for free, which was completely wrong). As usual, he flip-flops on everything according to convenience.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Trump administration is eyeing a plan to seek more money from allied European and other nations where American troops are based.

Coming from Trump, nearly everyone will interpret this as being nothing more than extortion.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why should these countries be forced to subsidize the costs of US hegemony? They should abrogate their SOFA agreements and send US troops back to the land of the free and the home of the brave.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I think the US has got it wrong, should be the other way around, those countries hosting US military and installations should be requiring the US tp pay for their presence. The US wants to be in the countries were they are stationed, for reasons we all are aware.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_military_bases.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

SuperLib on the left. Bass on the right. They both agree that the USA needs to project its power around the world. Which sums up the sad state of American thought today.

Which was a result of Pearl Harbor. Before that, the US was mostly isolationist. 

Starting with the Barbary pirates, the US has never been shy about projecting force in distant locations. Nicaragua, the Philippines, World War One, all come to mind. The US has never been isolationist. It has only been relatively less aggressive at times.

Americans really need to ask themselves what exactly all those troops, all that money, all that bad-will and all those lives are actually protecting. It ain't freedom, because the US is but a shadow of the free country it once aspired to be.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

That isn’t true. Prior to the bombing on Pearl Harbor, the USA began adopting a leave everything outside of America alone. That is why they did not intervene in the war in Europe. That is why even as Japan attacked and took over US territories in Asia, America did not intervene.

They were focusing on stopping the bleeding from the Great Depression. Japan bringing America into the war was what changed things.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

SuperLib on the left. Bass on the right. They both agree that the USA needs to project its power around the world. Which sums up the sad state of American thought today.

A bit misleading. There are those on the left and the right who believe in the opposite of what Bass and Superlib believe. I think I read that the non-interventionist Ron Paul, a man opposed to grotesquely bloated military spending, got more campaign contributions from military and ex-military people than any other candidate.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ron Paul, a man opposed to grotesquely bloated military spending, got more campaign contributions from military and ex-military people than any other candidate.

A man who also failed at trying his hand at the Presidency.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

A man who also failed at trying his hand at the Presidency.

Sigh. What do you think about the support he gained from military and ex-military people?

I know I’m leaving the door open for anecdotes here, but why do you think Paul was so popular with this group?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sigh. What do you think about the support he gained from military and ex-military people?

I was more impressed with how much the military and ex-military supported Trump even more.

I know I’m leaving the door open for anecdotes here, but why do you think Paul was so popular with this group?

The same reason Trump is for being a non-interventionist.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

@Bass

I’m a bit confused. You used to believe in an interventionist foreign policy. Don’t you believe in that these days?

Can you give a source for your claim that military and ex-miltary people supported Trump even more?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I liked Ron Paul, too. And I was optimistic that Trump might at least be less interventionist than the usual candidates. We'll see about that.

But sadly the majority on both sides believe that the US should project its might and its morals. They simply disagree on what those morals are and who they should attack. This will bring the US to a bad end.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

pony up, pay more or take care of yourself.

Spoken like a true friend and ally.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If nations that host US forces were to bolster their own military to compensate for a lack of US troops, the cost would be several times fold. Especially in the case of Japan. A nuclear carrier group, 3 air wings and Marine Expeditionary Force don’t come cheap.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Allies. That is exactly what they are. Why shouldn’t they also pay?

When two people go into business together, do both not shoulder the cost?

If you and a partner goes into business and you are shouldering more cost than them, wouldn’t you like for them to pay their share?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It’s true. Why are people trying to treat alliances like they are friendships or family. At the end of the day they are business relationships and everyone is in it for their own self interest.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think they are not needed. They should be asked to go home.

The host countries disagree.

Sounds more like the mob asking for "protection" money.

False equivalency. The host countries are free to ask the US to leave at any time they want and the US is then obliged to leave.

You could say the exact same thing about a business being asked for "protection" money from the mob.

Anyway, I have often noticed that right when the US and Japan are about to renew a defense deal, North Korea happens to be testing their missiles...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The Russians and Chinese can do the job cheaper. How would that turn out? Somebody needs to think this through a bit more...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You used to believe in an interventionist foreign policy.

Only when it’s absolutely necessary.

Can you give a source for your claim that military and ex-miltary people supported Trump even more?

https://www.stltoday.com/news/military-vets-give-trump-high-marks-for-job-performance-poll/article_225ff8ff-24f7-5310-b637-0d0150d8a853.html

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/12/30/poll-shows-high-job-approval-for-trump-from-veterans/

And there’s also...

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/2017/01/08/the-obama-era-is-over-here-s-how-the-military-rates-his-legacy/

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The same reason Trump is for being a non-interventionist.

So Obama was correct for not intervening in Crimea?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Can you give a source for your claim that military and ex-miltary people supported Trump even more?

The answer is no given none of the links provided demonstrated Dimwit has more support from the military than Paul.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So Obama was correct for not intervening in Crimea?

No, he was not, in that particular situation, no wonder Putin thought he was a spineless coward.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

comanteer: SuperLib on the left. Bass on the right. They both agree that the USA needs to project its power around the world.

Don't confuse the ability to strike with the right to strike. I support the US military being everywhere around the world. It doesn't mean I support every conflict that we've been involved in.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

These so-called US allies have US troops stationed on their shores by US demand. The US troops are there only to protect US interests (America First). These so-called allies find it is more face saving to say they are allies than to admit that they are under US command, US domination. The so-called NATO powers, Western Powers, or more correctly Western Wimps, do not have the spine to stand up to US domination and have surrendered their sovereignty to Washington. These nations still have not learnt that appeasing a bully just leads to more bullying. Most of Europe, the Middle East, Canada and Australia is under the hell of the US and are controlled by Washington.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The US troops are there only to protect US interests (America First).

The primary goal is to protect US interests. But let's not pretend places like Japan don't see benefit by having our forces there in case of defense.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"We reject globalism" -- Trump at the United Nations.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The primary goal is to protect US interests. But let's not pretend places like Japan don't see benefit by having our forces there in case of defense.

"According to an annual report titled Allied Contributions to the Common Defense published by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2004, Japan provided direct support of $3.2 billion (about ¥366 billion) and indirect support worth $1.18 billion, offsetting as much as 74.5 percent of the total cost."

"According to the Defense Minister Tomomi Inada updated the information for the first time in more than 10 years, saying Japan paid about ¥191 billion in 2015, about 86.4 percent of the total cost."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Dang, I thought it would be higher than that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Second World War has been over for a very long time. A realignment is well past due. While it remains true that any country that hosts US forces can easily get them moved out as the Philippines did back in the 1990’s, countries that refuse to spend money to support their own military infrastructure will have to come up with more cash anyway in order to rent it from America. The days of the free lunch when it comes to the defense of America’s WWII and Cold War era allies are over.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

No, he was not, in that particular situation, no wonder Putin thought he was a spineless coward

Of course. My apologies for forgetting that Obama = bad.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@zichi

Since the end of WW2 America has been involved in numerous wars causing great death...

The vast majority of those wars were started by the local people, and the US joined to further its and/or the global interests or to end the conflict.

When the US dragged its feet on the Balkans, it was accused by many, including the left, of "turning its back on a humanitarian crisis." When Trump announced the US military were leaving Syria, he was widely castigated, included by many on the left.

US military intervention around the world actually has broad-based support, although many people, especially the left, are loathe to admit it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They HOST US!

They are doing us a favor. We should be paying them!!

They don’t have to do it. If they didn’t, our force effectiveness would be a fraction of what it is today! We need those locations!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hope Trump goes in with a wrecking ball.

Interesting. I think the UN should be looking into intervention in the US, perhaps a permanent mission to keep the peace in that country? Then you can still interfere in other countries, safe in the the knowledge that someone is keeping your States together, as you station your occupying forces in strategic positions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Interesting. I think the UN should be looking into intervention in the US, perhaps a permanent mission to keep the peace in that country?

In a different reality, it would make for a good movie.

Then you can still interfere in other countries, safe in the the knowledge that someone is keeping your States together, as you station your occupying forces in strategic positions.

What?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The cost to America for its 800 bases in 70 countries is about $20 billion from a total military budget for 2019 at $686 billion, or about 2.9% of the total.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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