September 11, 2009

Focus on the Tri-Lateral Peace Conference: US Military Bases

A nuclear powered and nuclear weapon-equipped submarine in Nanoose Bay, BC

By J. Boyden

There’s an upcoming Peace Conference from October 2-4 in Toronto that any youth and student activist opposed to imperialist should check out. One of the major topics will be US military bases overseas. Click on these three interesting maps of US military bases to get a picture of the dangerous scope of what is at issue here:

BASES MAP ONE (note there is a problem with the display for Europe and the Middle East)

BASES MAP TWO (from early 2000’s)

BASES MAP THREE (from 2007)

These maps are shocking. The image is of an octopus, reaching its imperialist tentacles across the planet. It is easy to agree with the sentiments of the youth and student activists who, in a Facebook discussion of these maps today, said they showed how “Imperialism grows and spreads like a tumor.” Another comment was more direct: its “crazy shit.”

In fact, however, these maps don’t display nearly a complete picture. For example, new bases, such as the four bases recently announced in Colombia not on the maps. As the World Peace Council has recently stated, “These new Bases [aim at] the transformation of Colombia into a tactical operational center in Latin America.” A ten year bi-lateral agreement will allow 1.400 civilian and military operatives in Colombia, a relatively high figure for US bases, and on top of the recent announcements of the reactivation of the 4th Fleet of the US Navy in the region.

According to the Peace Council, “US Imperialism is aiming in creating a “belt” around certain states in the region of South America […] escalating the threats against the peoples, the peace and security on the whole continent.”

What goes on in these bases? The brutality of imperialism’s record is damning.

Likewise, Canadians should not be content with the existence of bases in Nanoose Bay, British Columbia (US submarine base) as well as bases in US in Ontario and Quebec which are not identified on the map. Distinctions between the US and Canadian military are increasingly blurred. I first heard the phrase ‘interoperability,’ meaning components of the Canadian military are directly placed into US units, in the context of the Security and Prosperity Partnership discussions.

Already we have Canada Command, the Canadian army working under direction of US generals in Afghanistan, and Canadian military support of US operations. Former ultra-right chief of defence Rick Hillier actually won promotion to that office from support by Washington, gained while working with other Canadians alongside the US military in Iraq.

The Tri-Lateral Peace Conference in Toronto Ontario Canada, October 2-4, 2009 aims to “address these problems, analyze the threats posed to peace, sovereignty, democratic and economic rights and present alternative solutions and programs to strengthen the anti-imperialist movements of the people.”

It looks to be an important and informative discussion, with representatives from Mexican, US, Canadian and Cuba peace organizations. Save the date!

A conference registration form can be found here.

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