The history of US expansionism

  • World’s largest deployed army

The US, as it stands today, has a long history of military expansionism. North America was left vulnerable to British conquest making it ripe for US expansionism. After the Seven Years’ War in Europe, France gave up the continent to Britain and Spain, Napoleon wrested back Louisiana and sold it to the US in 1803. The Spanish Empire was declining, leaving it open to be conquered by Britain and later the United States. The Treaty of San Lorenzo signed between Spain and US distributed the continent like a bag of goodies between both.

The Texas Republic merged with the United States in 1845. War erupted on the disputed borders of Texas in 1846 engulfing most of Texas. US succeeded in invading Mexico and taking over a third of this territory. This included the areas now called Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah and Texas.

In 1898, when there Cubans launched a war of independence to rid themselves of Spanish shackles, US placed Cuba within a special arrangement of her expanding global influence. US base at Guantanamo Bay is an inheritance and outcome of this arrangement.

Hawaii was another victim of US expansionism. Seized by their businessmen in a coup in 1893 it was eventually absorbed under the watch of William McKinley.

The Texas Republic merged with the United States in 1845. War erupted on the disputed borders of Texas in 1846 engulfing most of Texas

After the World War II Soviet Nation and USA carved up the world on ideological basis — both nations following ideologies that were in direct conflict with each other.

The US has 85 military facilities spread over Japan as an inheritance of World War II. US military presence in Turkey (Okinwa) still is a base of anti-American sentiments.

Even today, more than any other country in the world, US has the highest number of army deployed, many of which are there for training exercises at safe bases but a very large number is deployed in conflict zones and potential hot-spots like Somalia. These included Marines, Army rangers and Special Forces personnel.

As per a recent report US has 1.3 million troops posted around the world. In Poland US has 3,500 troops, in Ukraine the number is 250 National Guardsmen, Somalia has 40, Syria boasts of 200 American rangers and 500 members of Special forces, Iraq has between 4,000 to 6,000 US troops, Kuwait has 15,000. Afghanistan hosts 10, 700 troops with a decision to induct another 10,000. A more recent report published in August 2017 states the number of troops deployed is around 12,000. “The number of troops authorised to be assigned to Resolute Force or US. Forces Afghanistan, the two military missions in Afghanistan, is 8,448. However, troops arriving or departing Afghanistan creates overlaps. Units and service members are also in the country on temporary duty, which is less than 120 days. With those additional forces, the actual number of troops on the ground in Afghanistan is between 11,000 and 12,000, officials said.” (Business Insider: Aug. 23, 2017)

In Syria, troops are supporting the Operation Inherent Resolve. Pentagon may be sending an additional 1,000 troops here. In Poland, US has sent its soldiers of 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team to be a part of the Atlantic Resolve. The Atlantic Resolve is aimed to stop Russian aggressive maneuvers.

Joint Multinational Training Group of Ukraine is being supported by the 250 Oklahoma National Guardsmen. The US 10th Airborne division deployed in Ukraine are helping the central government fight the terrorist outfit al-Shabab as well as training the government forces.

In Kuwait, US troops are spread over Ali Al Salem Air Base, Camp Arifjan and Al Jaber Air Base.

To wipe off the Islamic State in Iraq, US troops are part of Operation Inherent Resolve. Iraq is a pointless invasion and destruction of a country on ‘bad intelligence’. The former secretary of state, Colin L. Powell, had in his speech in 2003 telecast on TV called it a ‘blot on his record’. He had given a detailed background of the weapons Iraq was purported to have which actually never existed.

The US Navy’s 7th Fleet is near Pacific Ocean and Japan, the 6th Fleet is near the Strait of Gibraltar and the 5th Fleet by Saudi Arabia. That’s not all, more recently two F-35s each were dispatched to Estonia and Bulgaria. In South Korea US have 12 F-16 fighters, and many B-52, B-1 and B-2 bombers. In the trio: Kuwait, Syria and Iraq, as per a report, US has deployed 400 Airmen 5th Bomb Wing B-52’s from the 69th and the 23rd Squadron.

Though the military presence worldwide may symbolise dominance in the international arena, it leads to more disadvantages than advantages. In Uzbekistan US supported Karimov, a dictator famous for human right violations, yet US backed him for basing rights. Their physical presence makes it easier for host governments to request intervention by the troops in need embroiling US in wars not her own. It also leads to an anti-American feeling among the people where the troops are deployed. Most certainly it is no deterrent against any attack by any terrorist or miscreant organisation on US either.

Though US is still a powerful nation at many levels, the world is changing. The world alliances have changed and continue to do so. The West collectively, is on the downslide. “Goldman Sachs predicts that the collective economic output of the top four developing countries — Brazil, China, India, and Russia — will match that of the G-7 countries by 2032.” (The Atlantic March 20, 2012)

The US policy makers need to strategise. Does this military expansionism support the US goals in the long run? Does this deployment in the nations/regions prove any imminent threat to US? With the game plans changing the rules of engagement also need to be changed.


  1. It is very odd and strange on the part of US to station its forces all around the globe to threaten weaker nations.coutnris
    to act upon according to his diction’s/commandments which is entirely a wrong approach and not in consonance with UN charter
    at all. Hypocrisy and double standard in fulfilling their vital national interests. The best course of action for America is to call back its forces into garrisons and think over to solve poverty, malnutrition, education, and other problems facing these poor countries. Credit must be given to the author in its conclusion why America is doing all this? America must stop policing our planet with its military might!!

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