tv Book Discussion on Activists Alliances and Anti-U.S. Base Protests CSPAN December 22, 2014 1:40am-2:03am EST
thesis of your book activist, alliances and anti-u.s. base protests? >> guest: the united states has about 700 bases around the world at least reported by the pentagon. and there is in the last ten to 20 years we've seen more and work protests in opposition to u.s. military presence abroad and so i'm looking at two questions. one is with all of this activism when do they make a difference and actually affect the policy and the second question is about the host governments. on the one hand they face pressure from civil society as a domestic level but they also face pressure from the united states to maintain the obligations so i want to know how the balance between the two forces domestic and international. >> host: when you look at these bases around the world that the u.s. has, how many of them are welcomed?
>> guest: the majority of them are welcomed, so you are you're looking at if there are 700 bases there are probably more. it's just the secret bases. it's hard to say whether they are welcomed but the host government accepts them. but i say at least 75% are not contested. the majority are in place like germany or mainland japan. but the few that have been contested since caused lots of problems for the u.s. diplomats to be seen as critical. it's been a long-running feud with dave been upset about a specific base. in 1995 there was a horrible case where a school girl was gang raped and under the status
of forces agreement they were placed under the custody of the military so it is to relocate the base. they said they would relocate it it still exists and if they haven't been able to move forward because there has there's been so much opposition about creating the new base and if you look at it is smack in the middle of the city and the school stopped. in the past they had to because of aircraft helicopters coming in and because of things like
environmental concern, noise pollution, crime around the bases. so it is one place where we have seen such opposition. the philippines of course in the 19 '90s we had the major pieces. >> host: when you say nature we are talking hundreds of thousands. >> guest: about 14,000 troops. not only for the security that the local economy there's a domestic economy and of course because of opposition from activists and from the nationalist politicians eventually they gave the americans the boots that they had to withdraw not just from the bases but all u.s. military had to withdraw by the end of 1992. >> host: do you think that we would still have the basis of the volcano had exploded?
>> guest: i think they would have maintained for another seven to ten years for certain and who knows if it would have persisted. there was a lot of damage at the time and they had rendered the air base airbase almost unusable but at least the pacific naval station and was the largest base in the pacific outside of hawaii and the u.s. military express to the testimony they did want to maintain the base so idb that it would have continued to exist. >> host: what are some of the geopolitical ramifications of the closing of the major philippine military installation? >> guest: right. so of course this is the pacific command. in terms of the functions they
were dispersed. some went back to hawaii and in the long run that u.s. military is adaptable. the policymakers are adaptable so they were able to make do. but these days given the strategic climate right now with china's growing maritime assertiveness with uncertainty and tension between the islands between japan and south korea, china and southeast asian countries some are wishing they would return to the philippines and so right now we've worked out this deal become on a rotating basis and there've been rumors that the philippine government they want the u.s. to come back. my personal take is that we probably won't have permanent forces or large military presence like they did in the past that when we saved a rotating force they are the same and come in and out of soap it's almost like having a continuous
u.s. military presence in the philippines. >> host: where else have they been protests against the u.s. presence? >> guest: in europe there are always pockets of protest whenever the tragedies happen in italy there was a slice by the f-15 leading to the tragic deaths and so you had all the sessions and oppositions and protests related to the instance but where is you see the larger protests where it's not just not in my backyard type of protest but something that galvanizes i think much of the country or at least the anti-basal position at the national level we have seen this in italy there is the expansion of an air base in northern italy and there've been protests from 2006 and 2007.
it's died down a lot but they are still ongoing. they seem protests in ecuador which is highlighted in my book that eventually closed down. and then of course in afghanistan and iraq. it's hard to say whether it is activist with civil society because you have insurgents but obviously islamic extremists who don't like u.s. or don't want the u.s. military to be on their soil but in terms of the government as well we have seen opposition from the politicians and we didn't need that large presence in place as many assumed we would. and in afghanistan it's still up in the air what's going to happen so we do see opposition to the u.s. base not just in asia. my book tends to focus more on
asia but we see this really in all of the corners of the world. >> host: are there locations in the world where even the government would like us to leave? >> guest: so, many national governments in the past, yes. though a lot of times when you see regimes change, when we saw in libya or iran after the revolution of course that u.s. forces had to leave. to. today do we see the government opposition it's not as direct and in that case this was in 2007 and 2008. u.s. base became a major issue in the ecuador politics at their udc certain elements of the government wanting the u.s. base to leave and they are able to play out the nationalist card and they talk about a national
sovereignty and from the standpoint of domestic government you might understand that there is no other -- if i were to flip the question around if the chinese or the russians had the base here in the united states and something happens that was an accident or crime there would be a large outcry. we had the bases and there were domestic bases. we don't call them domestic bases but there's military bases all around and of course there could be even opposition to those in their own country from americans. but it takes a different -- it is a whole another level when you have a foreign based on your own soil and so in certain periods of time you see that governments not wanting that u.s. bases in their country. so today japan -- i mentioned japan and 2009 you had the feminist or come to power and
you don't want to get rid of all of the bases in the country that he campaigned with a pledge to release the burden. he wanted the airbase to close but didn't want any replacement facilities. so he did use the politicians and government of times and the government of times and opposed the u.s. base and did the end of the day the united states -- sometimes it is terrible comparisons made to the u.s. empire but at the end of the day if governments don't want us there, they cannot renew agreements or they can terminate the agreement. so it is possible to see the governments opposed or not wanting the military and their country. >> host: professor come in times of political uncertainty is the u.s. more welcomed clicks
i'm thinking of south korea. >> guest: said the political uncertainty, that's when you can see different democratic forces unleashing. is, if you go back to the south korean democratization and consolidation of course if you are on -- if you're regime is highly autocratic and you are an authoritarian there are no protests because you just clamped down on the protesters. but it's in this pure code the democratization when you can see the civil societal forces i do think that there is a period of uncertainty and instability about the bases and the trick for the united states and the balancing act is that on the one hand we see we place an emphasis on security and stability not only for the country that for the region as well and at the same time we want to encourage
democracy so in a case like south korea there was a bit of uncertainty but at the same time i think even when you have the transition by government leaders their case is somewhat unique in that you have a direct enemy and there is a consensus built at the national security is almost guaranteed by the u.s. military presence and so while it does cause a concern where there aren't these transitions when there is a political instability if the government leaders firmly believe that the u.s. bases and the alliance relation they have in the united states is integral to the road national security and their own national defense, then i think in the long run
they can breathe a sigh of relief under those circumstances. >> host: how much resources and time does the u.s. spend building relationships? >> guest: there is no cookie-cutter approach. so for some of the bases that we are seeing today djibouti is a good example because we are flying drones and i'm sure that in that case there is some discussion among the policymakers and military officials and for them it is almost like a quid pro quo where they are exchanging aid to have
the access using whatever infrastructure exists so it is much quicker but over time the relationship can and should develop if they want to continue using the bases. for the countries that have really seen the u.s. presence for the longer period of time of course we have to continue to manage their relations and the relations and cultivate a relationship with these countries because as i said, security relationships require a partnership and if another country believes we don't face common threats or share the same values than it's easy for the political leaders to say well we don't have these security threats or share the same values as the united states then why do we have thousands of american
troops on this will so it is a partnership and it does require a lot of diplomatic work to maintain that relationship and of course at the local level that's one thing i try to mention in my book as well i think the base officials can do a bit more in terms of the public outreach and in the countries that we've have long-standing relationships these programs do exist but i think it's when they are blindsided when a decision is made without letting others in the community know if it is explained well why we continue to have the troops in our community. if that isn't explainable or if people move away or forget what the purpose is, if this is
ensured continually then i think it can run into these not in my backyard problems that we can later escalate to the politicians to really push their own government, foreign policy issues like the relationship in the united states. >> host: when you think about the potential effects of the u.s. pulling back a lot of its overseas bases what would it be the effect be the effect on the geopolitics? >> guest: there's different views but the few that i take is you would create a security vacuum's even in a place like europe that is considered stable, we have seen significant cuts in the last ten, 15 years. but even for europe i think they
would be nervous if they realized within their own military of a command structure is very much integrated in the military and maybe not so much for their own defense but in southern europe and the balkans extending outwards to the middle east i think there would be a lot more concern if concerned if the u.s. were to suddenly pull out and the nato members, germany, italy, poland, if they had to suddenly put their own military expenses to raise their own military to meet whatever threats are out there asia is another case that's interesting. someone made the comment that the united states is the least distrusted actor and as some have argued that it is a linchpin for stability in the region. it's not -- again there are different views about whether
the u.s. military presence is a source of stability or instability and further militarization of the region but at the moment even in the democracies in japan and south korea come even they can't really trust one another and so of course if the united states were to remove all the troops the first thing in japan would want to do is raise its own self-defense. but let's not kid ourselves that is a military and it would give them the right to expand so if japan begins to build its military power that makes the chinese feel. the same with some southeast southeast asian countries like the philippines, vietnam and indonesia where they have concerns about china seaside
riots and maritime ambitions. they would also feel nervous so in that sense, it can put a lid on potentially escalating the tensions that may spiral out of control. >> host: how many servicemen and women are based overseas? >> guest: i have to check the facts on that because it's always changing. i'm familiar with asia because there's 2500 about 50,000 in japan that makes up the bold and of course here at is the other theater but i say that about the different troops abroad at any given time.
>> host: are we growing in africa? >> guest: our presence is growing but again the way that the beijing strategies stud david can set up is that we prefer having these access agreements or what is considered later facilities. we don't want to leave a heavy footprint and so we are establishing more agreements. that's for sure. and i mentioned the use of the trial and technologies. c-span .
right now we want to meet and talk with author brian stevenson. i want to learn a little bit about you. >> a private nonprofit human rights organization that provides legal services mostly to incarcerated people in the deep south. we represent children prosecuted as adults and are trying to change the way we talk about race and poverty.
we focus mostly on criminal justice reform. >> headquartered in montgomery, alabama. how many people on death row? >> actually the largest death row per capita in the country. country. it is unique in that it is the only state that has a provision that allows elected trial judges to override juries. juries. we have about 200 people on death row. >> we invited you want to talk about the book. your first book. >> the story focuses on walter mcmillan. there was a murder. a young white woman was murdered. the police could not solve the crime