[QODLink]
Archive
US to expand its military empire
The United States has said it is planning to build more military bases in Eastern Europe and the ex-Soviet Union.
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2003 13:14 GMT
The US has military bases all over the world
The United States has said it is planning to build more military bases in Eastern Europe and the ex-Soviet Union.

The world's only superpower, which already maintains a military presence in 140 countries, said it was expanding its empire because of "increased threats" in the post September 11 world. 

A senior US official told Moscow on Wednesday he hoped Russia would not take the news as an aggressive act.

The message was delivered by Marc Grossman, the US undersecretary of state for political affairs, to the Russian foreign ministry and top officials in the country's security services.

However, Grossman refused to divulge Russian officials' response to the US push.

Poland and Azerbaijan

He also refused to confirm that Poland and Azerbaijan were the two most likely destinations where Washington planned to open bases in coming years.

"We briefed the Russian side on our thinking and we tried to emphasise that everything that we are doing is designed in a way that will meet our treaty commitments, that will meet our political commitments, and is not directed against any country," Grossman said.

US MILTARY FACTS

- $379 billion yearly  defence budget 

- 247,000 troops and civilians posted overseas

- 13 military bases in countries around Afghanistan

- A fleet of more than 15,000 aircraft

- Navy operates more than 1000 ocean going vessels

"I want to be clear here though, that what has been decided is that we need to make change." 

Grossman added that the idea of a US eastward push was formalised by US President George Bush on Monday, and that he was sent to Moscow for urgent negotiations as a result.

"I think there is recognition on their side there are new threats, there is a recognition there are new opportunities to meet those new threats, and also I hope, there is a recognition that we would like Russia to be a partner in this.

Russian concerns

"I felt... that this old way of thinking, that the Cold War is over, was very much welcomed by the Russian side."

Although America's military presence is global, it only has significant deployments in 25 countries.

In January 2002, the US opened its first military base in the former Soviet Union, when the Kyrgyz government granted it permission to build the Manas military airfield.

The US also has the use of military bases in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Georgia.

Russia is worried about losing influence over its former empire and has recently opened a new airbase of its own less than 30 km from the Kyrgyz Manas base.

Source:
Aljazeera + Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to hear genocide charges for targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims.
'I'm dying anyway, one piece at a time' said Steve Fobister, who suffers from disabilities caused by mercury poisoning.
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
join our mailing list