Forward Deployment Link
U.S. reneging on its commitments and withdrawing troops makes power projection difficult. Economic security, military capability and commitments to allies are impossible in a world of isolationism or off shore balancing.
Thayer 06(Bradley, Associate Professor in Missouri State University, In Defense of Primacy, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2751/is_86/ai_n27065796/pg_2/)
A grand strategy based on American primacy means ensuring the United States stays the world's number one power--the diplomatic, economic and military leader. Those arguing against primacy claim that the United States should retrench, either because the United States lacks the power to maintain its primacy and should withdraw from its global commitments, or because the maintenance of primacy will lead the United States into the trap of "imperial overstretch." In the previous issue of The National Interest, Christopher Layne warned of these dangers of primacy and called for retrenchment. (1)
Those arguing for a grand strategy of retrenchment are a diverse lot. They include isolationists, who want no foreign military commitments; selective engagers, who want U.S. military commitments to centers of economic might; and offshore balancers, who want a modified form of selective engagement that would have the United States abandon its landpower presence abroad in favor of relying on airpower and seapower to defend its interests.
But retrenchment, in any of its guises, must be avoided. If the United States adopted such a strategy, it would be a profound strategic mistake that would lead to far greater instability and war in the world, imperil American security and deny the United States and its allies the benefits of primacy.
There are two critical issues in any discussion of America's grand strategy: Can America remain the dominant state? Should it strive to do this? America can remain dominant due to its prodigious military, economic and soft power capabilities. The totality of that equation of power answers the first issue. The United States has overwhelming military capabilities and wealth in comparison to other states or likely potential alliances. Barring some disaster or tremendous folly, that will remain the case for the foreseeable future, With few exceptions, even those who advocate retrenchment acknowledge this.
So the debate revolves around the desirability of maintaining American primacy. Proponents of retrenchment focus a great deal on the costs of U.S. action--but they fail to realize what is good about American primacy. The price and risks of primacy are reported in newspapers every day; the benefits that stem from it are not.
A GRAND strategy of ensuring American primacy takes as its starting point the protection of the U.S. homeland and American global interests. These interests include ensuring that critical resources like oil flow around the world, that the global trade and monetary regimes flourish and that Washington's worldwide network of allies is reassured and protected. Allies are a great asset to the United States, in part because they shoulder some of its burdens. Thus, it is no surprise to see NATO in Afghanistan or the Australians in East Timor.
In contrast, a strategy based on retrenchment will not be able to achieve these fundamental objectives of the United States. Indeed, retrenchment will make the United States less secure than the present grand strategy of primacy. This is because threats will exist no matter what role America chooses to play in international politics. Washington cannot call a "time out", and it cannot hide from threats. Whether they are terrorists, rogue states or rising powers, history shows that threats must be confronted. Simply by declaring that the United States is "going home", thus abandoning its commitments or making unconvincing half-pledges to defend its interests and allies, does not mean that others will respect American wishes to retreat. To make such a declaration implies weakness and emboldens aggression. In the anarchic world of the animal kingdom, predators prefer to eat the weak rather than confront the strong. The same is true of the anarchic world of international politics. If there is no diplomatic solution to the threats that confront the United States, then the conventional and strategic military power of the United States is what protects the country from such threats.
And when enemies must be confronted, a strategy based on primacy focuses on engaging enemies overseas, away from American soil. Indeed, a key tenet of the Bush Doctrine is to attack terrorists far from America's shores and not to wait while they use bases in other countries to plan and train for attacks against the United States itself. This requires a physical, on-the-ground presence that cannot be achieved by offshore balancing.
Indeed, as Barry Posen has noted, U.S. primacy is secured because America, at present, commands the "global commons"--the oceans, the world's airspace and outer space--allowing the United States to project its power far from its borders, while denying those common avenues to its enemies. As a consequence, the costs of power projection for the United States and its allies are reduced, and the robustness of the United States' conventional and strategic deterrent capabilities is increased. (2) This is not an advantage that should be relinquished lightly.
Every instance matters—any case of withdrawal causes rivals to challenge US hegemony
DR. JACQUELYN K. DAVIS et al, executive VP of IFPA, DR. ROBERT L. PFALTZGRAFF, JR., Professor of International Security Studies at Tufts University, DR. CHARLES M. PERRY, VP and director of studies of IFPA, JAMES L. SCHOFF, associate director of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, ”UPDATING U.S. DETERRENCE CONCEPTS AND OPERATIONAL PLANNING REASSURING ALLIES, DETERRING LEGACY THREATS, AND DISSUADING NUCLEAR "WANNABES"”, February 2009, Institute for Foreign Policy Analyses, http://www.ifpa.org/pdf/Updating_US_Deterrence_Concepts.pdf
If the notion of tailored deterrence is key to 21st century deterrence planning, so, too, is the recognition that while deterrence must be regionally focused, it must still have global relevance. In other words, how we deal with North Korea will have implications and "lessons-learned" for how we deal with an Iranian leadership on the brink of crossing the nuclear threshold. This is evident from IFPA's recent assessments of nuclear trends in both countries, as is the fact that U.S. partners and potential adversaries are watching us very closely, and are deriving lessons for themselves from innovations in U.S. defense and deterrence planning. Indeed, there is some evidence that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons follows to some extent from North Korea's defiance in the Six-Party Talks, and that the Iranian leadership perceives nuclear weapons as one way to deter U.S. attempts to bring down the regime in Tehran. Likewise, as Japan and the United States engage in operational planning discussions about North Korea and Taiwan, Japanese policy elites are striving to assess the degree to which NATO's extended deterrence experiences and formats—particularly, the deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons on European soil and NATO's nuclear consultations on an Alliance-wide level—may apply to future U.S.-Japanese security cooperation that might include a more explicit link to forward-deployed U.S. nuclear forces and shared nuclear decision-making. This is occurring, as will be discussed below, at a time when the NATO allies themselves are about to embark on their own new assessment of defense and deterrence planning for the new era, including the ongoing utility of NATO nuclear forces.
Maintaining commitment credibility is key to deter challenges to US hegemony
Max Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of "War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today.", "America in decline? Not in today's world: Max Boot", 6/8/10, http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/06/america_in_decline_not_in_toda.html
Much nonsense has been written in recent years about the prospects of American decline and the inevitable rise of China. But it was not a declining power that I saw in recent weeks as I jetted from the Middle East to the Far East through two of America's pivotal geographic commands -- Central Command and Pacific Command.
The very fact that the entire world is divided into American military commands is significant. There is no French, Indian or Brazilian equivalent -- not yet even a Chinese counterpart. It is simply assumed without much comment that American soldiers will be central players in the affairs of the entire world. It is also taken for granted that a vast network of U.S. bases will stretch from Germany to Japan -- more than 700 in all, depending on how you count. They constitute a virtual American empire of Wal-Mart-style PXs, fast-food restaurants, golf courses and gyms. There is an especially large American presence in the Middle East, one of the world's most crisis-prone regions. For all the anti-Americanism in the Arab world, almost all the states bordering what they call the Arabian Gulf support substantial American bases. These governments are worried about the looming Iranian threat and know that only the United States can offer them protection. They are happy to deal with China, but it would never occur to a single sultan or sheik that the People's Liberation Army will protect them from Iranian intimidation. In the Far East, a similar dynamic prevails. All of China's neighbors happily trade with it, but all are wary of the Middle Kingdom's pretensions to regional hegemony. Even Vietnam, a country that handed America its worst military defeat ever, is eager to establish close ties with Washington as a counter to Beijing. What of America's two most important allies in Northeast Asia -- South Korea and Japan? Not long ago, relations with Seoul were frosty because it was pursuing a "sunshine policy" of outreach to North Korea that the George W. Bush administration (rightly) viewed as one of the world's most dangerous rogue states. More recently, relations with Japan became strained after the election of the Liberal Democratic Party in 2009 on a platform of cozying up to China, rethinking the 50-year-old alliance between the United States and Japan, and moving U.S. bases out of Okinawa. Now Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has had to undertake an embarrassing U-turn by agreeing to an earlier plan that would move a U.S. Marine Corps air base from one part of Okinawa to another, but keep it on the island. In justifying his reversal, Hatoyama said "we cannot afford to reduce the U.S. military deterrence" because of "political uncertainties remaining in East Asia." There is no shortage of such uncertainties with the Chinese navy becoming increasingly assertive in moving into Japanese waters and with North Korea, which has missiles that can easily hit Japan, sinking a South Korean naval ship. The latter incident naturally has focused attention in Seoul and served to accelerate the reaffirmation of close American-Korean ties that had already begun with the election of the more conservative President Lee Myung-bak in 2008. The anti-Americanism that had been prevalent in South Korea only a few years ago has all but disappeared, and it is not only (or even mainly) because of President Barack Obama's vaunted charm. It is largely because South Korea has tried detente and found that it did nothing to moderate the aggressive behavior of the North Korean regime. China is South Korea's largest trade partner by far, but Beijing shows scant interest in reining in Kim Jong Il. Chinese leaders fear that North Korea will collapse, leading to a horde of refugees moving north and, eventually, the creation an American-allied regime on the Yalu River. Rather than risk this strategic calamity, China continues to prop up the crazy North Korean communists -- to the growing consternation of South Koreans, who can never forget that Seoul, a city of 15 million people, is within range of what the top U.S. commander in South Korea describes as the world's largest concentration of artillery. South Korea knows that only the United States offers the deterrence needed to keep a nuclear-armed North Korea in check. That is why the South Koreans, who have one of the world's largest militaries (655,000 activity-duty personnel), are eager to host 28,000 U.S. troops in perpetuity and even to hand over their military forces in wartime to the command of an American four-star general. Under an agreement negotiated during the Bush administration, operational control is due to revert to the South Koreans in 2012, but senior members of the government and military told us they want to push that date back by a number of years. South Korea's eagerness to continue subordinating its armed forces to American control is the ultimate vote of confidence in American leadership. What other country would the South Koreans possibly entrust with the very core of their national existence? Not China, that's for sure. And yet South Korea is not so unusual in this regard. The Persian Gulf emirates also entrust their continued existence to America's benign power. The Kurds, whom we visited in Irbil, are eager to host a U.S. base, because they know that all of the gains they have made since 1991 have been made possible by our protection. Even Arab Iraqi politicians, who traffic in nationalist slogans while running for office, are quietly talking about renegotiating the accord that would bring the U.S. troop presence in Iraq to zero by the end of 2011. They know what Kosovars, Kuwaitis and countless others have learned over many decades: American power is the world's best guarantor of freedom and prosperity. This isn't to deny the prevalence of anti-Americanism even in the Age of Obama. Nor is it to wish away the real threats to American power -- from external challenges (Iran, China, Islamist terrorists) to, more worrying, internal weaknesses (rising debt levels, decreasing military spending as a percentage of the federal budget, a shrinking Navy). But if my cross-global jaunt taught me anything, it is that those countries that dismiss the prospects for continuing American leadership do so at their peril. The U.S. still possesses unprecedented power projection capabilities, and just as important, it is armed with the goodwill of countless countries that know the U.S. offers protection from local bullies. They may resent us, but they fear their neighbors, and that's the ultimate buttress of our status as the world's superpower.
Bases are key to primacy
Zachary Fillingham, Geopolitical Monitor, a military research service, "U.S. military bases: a global footprint", 12/9/09, http://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/us-military-bases-a-global-footprint-1/
In the words of the U.S. Overseas Basing Commission, U.S. military bases are, “the skeleton upon which the flesh and muscle of operational capability [can be] molded .” Global military bases have been a constant in U.S. foreign policy since World War II. Currently, there are over seven hundred of them worldwide, serving as home for over 2,500,000 military personnel . On top of America’s permanent base structure, the U.S. Navy’s eleven aircraft carriers can also be taken as impromptu military bases insofar that they can be rapidly deployed to project American military power anywhere in the world . Supporters maintain that U.S. military bases provide a litany of strategic benefits: they guarantee American access to markets and strategic commodities (energy in particular), afford the U.S. military a forward position with which to project military power, and serve as a potent symbol of American global power . To detractors, they are merely a euphemism for empire and all too frequently their strategic value is nullified by the political, social, and environmental rot suffered in the host country.
Bases are key to US power projection—history proves
Michael A. Allen, Department of Political Science Binghamton University (SUNY), "Deploying Military Bases Overseas: An Emprical Assessment", 6/6/10, http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/3/1/3/6/9/p313697_index.html
Military basing in foreign countries is a fundamental component of military force projection for any power wishing to exercise influence outside of its immediate region. The use of foreign deployments by democracies has a historical legacy that dates back to the Delian league as the Athenian city-state expanded its influence via outposts throughout Ancient Greece and the tradition of extra-territorial basing continued through the Roman Empire (Finely, 1998; Luttwak, 1979). With each democratic power that has expanded its influence through deploying military assets abroad, accusations of imperialism were quickly established both during their time and in subsequent writings (Finely, 1998). These same accusations have been levied against the United States in popular press as the US currently holds the most extensive base deployment and coverage in world history. This manuscript attempts to find the determinants of base deployment to discern the primary driving forces behind the decision to establish a new base in a foreign country by the United States. While there has been a rise of claims arguing pax Americana is being or has been achiesved via a network of military bases through an intentional, imperialist agenda (Bacevich, 2002; Chomsky, 2004; Johnson, 2004), there have been very few large-scale quantitative work verifying the claim in international relations. This paper presents a new dataset detailing the name and location of major military installation deployments by the United States since the end of the 19th century. The paper uses multiple regression techniques to ascertain primary influences on base deployment and finds that strategic security concerns have a primary effect in determining what countries the United States is likely to use as a basing site while alternative explanations are less satisfactory. This paper proceeds in five sections. The next section discusses the current literature on military bases and the relevant hypotheses to be derived from it while the third section details the collection of the foreign deployed military assets data. Section four presents the research design and section five conducts and interprets the regression results. The final section concludes the paper with further thoughts and a proposed agenda for further investigation.
Withdrawal from Afghanistan would be in the end of US hegemony, inviting Iran and Pakistan to fill the vacuum
John Byrnes, Fmr. Advisor to the Afghan National Police on counter-insurgency, 9/7/09, American Thinker (Afghanistan Matters, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2334403/posts)
Afghanistan continues to be a failed state, Pakistan is failing. We have the opportunity to continue to influence events in the region due to our presence in Afghanistan. Should the US withdraw entirely from Afghanistan certain events are highly likely to unfold. The first would be a Taliban victory in Afghanistan. The Taliban might not see the complete victory they achieved in 1996. They would at least end up seizing and dominating several provinces. These provinces would certainly include several, North and East, which dominate the landlocked nation’s rudimentary road net. The Taliban would gain a stranglehold on the Afghan economy. They would also rule the Pashtun speaking border region. The resulting consequences of this outcome are impossible to predict. However a larger autonomous Taliban dominated zone would surely threaten the weak Pakistani government. The unspoken, nightmare outcome, we all seek to avoid, is the takeover of Pakistan by the Taliban. Pakistan is a nuclear power. Yet in spite of this modern achievement, it is a failing nation. Assassination and civil violence have dominated recent politics. The populace is fragmented ethnically and politically. The urban elites live western lives with modern hopes. Most others live poor desperate lives. Islam is the single greatest unifying factor. Pakistanis of various ethnicities have shown a consistent predilection for anti-American, anti-western, pro-Taliban politics. Two or even three Talibanized nations in place of today’s Afghanistan and Pakistan are in no one’s interest, especially if one of them is nuclear armed. Remember, Afghanistan’s western neighbor is the WMD seeking state of Iran. That nation has infiltrated arms and personnel into the western Farsi speaking provinces of Afghanistan to pressure the US and Afghan governments, and to create its own sphere of influence. George Will’s imagined scenario of special-forces and airpower serving in place of boots on the ground in Afghanistan surely sounds good to deskbound policy wonks. But they would do well to remember that policy failed us through the Clinton era. At that time Pakistan was under the more stable hand of Musharraf. If we abandon our foothold in Afghanistan, we abandon our contacts on the ground. In order for predators, cruise missiles, and SF operators to succeed repeatedly against al-Qaeda, or any other enemies, our forces need human intelligence. This is why al-Qaeda and the Taliban high command retreated to and continue to hide in the inaccessible reaches of Pakistan. It’s why al-Qaeda chose the then closed state of Afghanistan as a base in the first place. A premature withdrawal from Afghanistan will also present a tremendous propaganda victory to the Taliban. This would be a truly strategic weapon for all of our Islamist enemies in the current struggle. George Will has stepped up his campaign, and now wants to quit Iraq early as well. He cites the ties that Shiite Iran has established with Shiite Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki as a reason to end our commitment there. If we were to follow Mr. Will’s prescription, by 2011 we could be facing a hostile band of powers stretching from the India-Pakistan border through Syria, to the Mediterranean. This would be the worst middle-eastern scenario the US ever faced, as bad as the Soviet dominated region envisioned by Carter and Reagan circa 1980. We could face two Islamic, hostile, nuclear powers. Such an outcome would represent the beginning of the end for Israel. It would signify the end of American hegemony, and the start of a truly new world order; one that would be highly unfavorable to our interests. These are just the consequences for us. Mr. Will would also abandon the Afghans, the Iraqis and others to the Taliban to the likeminded Shia of Iran, and to al-Qaeda. He and his applause section remind us that Islam is incompatible with democracy, that extremism pervades the region, and that generally we have no business there anymore.While I do not subscribe to the left’s drivel that poverty and frustration are the root of terrorism, I think that a poorer more Islamic mid-east will be more miserable for the Afghans and Iraqis, and the Pakistanis and Iranians. Having spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I have seen that most people there want peace and prosperity. They want to end the violence and raise their children more comfortably than poverty and war has thus far allowed. While Islam may indeed lend itself to oppressive rule, so did Christianity, for nearly two millennia of Romans, feudalism, and absolutism. Today, millions of Iraqis and Afghans have shown an appreciation for democracy, and the idea of peaceful, lawful change of governments. Come to think of it, so have the much abused Lebanese. In Iran, millions voted, and when the mullahs executed a massive electoral fraud millions protested. In India millions of Muslims regularly live peaceful lives in a democracy. It is true that democratizing the Islamic world is not, and should not be the primary prescriptive mission of the US military. However to cede the entire middle-east to the forces of extremism, to abandon our allies, to surrender our security, and make the world a much more dangerous place seems folly. And to do it so that we can say we are not nation building, so that our military is doing what a few purists claim is “its job” is beyond foolishness. My job as a soldier is to preserve the security of my nation by whatever means necessary. Right now I can’t think of a better way we can do that than holding the line against the Taliban in Afghanistan.