At the Cato Institute, John Glaser makes the case that America’s bases on foreign soil are vulnerable and wasteful. According to Glaser, they may even cause more trouble than they prevent. He advocates for drawing down America’s foreign deployed troop levels in order to avoid being drawn into conflicts where the American people have no interest. He concludes:
The Future of U.S. Defense Policy
Advocates of a forward-deployed posture contend that it has been a driving force in creating a more peaceful world since the end of World War II by dampening the effects of anarchy and by preventing conflicts from spiraling out of control. This argument is the essence of the logic behind deterrence and reassurance. But other plausible causal explanations exist for the lack of a great-power war since 1945. Although trade and economic interdependence are not always sufficient to stave off conflict between potential belligerents, there is solid evidence that the two factors do reduce the likelihood of war. The destructive power of modern conventional militaries has also made war prohibitively costly in many cases, and the fact that most of the world’s great powers possess nuclear weapons has likely been a major factor in the decline of international conflict. Normative changes in how people see war, from a noble and virtuous ambition to a barbaric last resort, have also contributed to peace among nations.
The U.S. forward-deployed military posture should reflect real U.S. defense interests. The remarkably secure position of the United States, along with the relatively peaceful state of international politics, should allow a withdrawal from this global network of overseas military bases. Rather than defending the security of other states and attempting to stabilize regions of conflict around the world, the United States should encourage allies to carry the burden of their own defense and extricate itself from regional disputes, lest it get drawn into conflicts in which its vital interests are not at stake.
Read more here.