Military Expansion and Globalization

Updated on May 3, 2018

Introduction

Military expansion is not a new concept. In 221 BCE, Emperor Qin conquered several independent states and unified large sections of China (Steger, 2003). China’s influence reached “tropical Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, India, and East Africa (p. 24).” Another empire in history is the Roman Empire. Khan Academy indicated that Rome was founded in 753 BCE and was not a significant power at the time. It got established in 509 BCE and started to be dominant. At its height, Rome conquered land in modern-day France and modern-day Istanbul (Khan Academy, 2016). The Roman Empire covered over 1.9 million miles of territory (Taagepera, 1979). According to Khan Academy, the Mongol Empire that was created by Genghis Khan went as far a Baghdad, China, Eastern Europe, Persia, and the Caucasus. Khan united the Mongol tribes in 1206. It Mongol Empire was “the largest contiguous empire in world history.” Contiguous means that all the land conquered was connected unlike the British Empire which was more fragmented (Khan Academy, 2017). The Mongol empire covered 9.2 million miles of territory (Taagepera, 1997).

Military expansion that occurred in history involved violence to gain territory. The Qin Empire, Roman Empire, and the Mongol Empire fought bloody battles and used violence to assert their sovereignty. Conquered territory expanded their empire and fortunes. Does this type of military expansion occur in modern times?

Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire

Military Expansion in Modern Times

The Encyclopedia Britannica stated that the United Nations will not recognize the territory a state gains through aggressive war. The territory acquired will not be considered sovereign. This is because “The Draft Declaration on Rights and Duties of States, formulated in 1949 by the International Law Commission of the UN, contained (in Article XI) the rule that states are obligated not to recognize territorial acquisitions achieved by aggressive war (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2007, para. 2).”

According to History.com, Israel decimated its Arab neighbors in six days. The chain of events that occurred in 1967 are as follows:

  • Syria bombarded Israeli Settlements
  • Israel responded by shooting six Syrian MiG fighters
  • Syria accused Israel for massing troops along the Northern Border
  • Egypt mobilized and forced the U.N. Emergency Force from the Israel-Egypt cease fire lines U.N. Peacekeepers left on May 19
  • Jordan signed a mutual-defense treaty with Egypt and Syria along with Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria on May 30
  • Israel launched a preemptive strike on June 5
  • Egypt’s air power was obliterated along with Jordan, Syria, and Iraq
  • Israel achieved air power over the area on June 5
  • Israel's ground forces overran the West Bank and gained the Old City of East Jerusalem
  • Syria's Golan Heights was captured on June 9
  • U.N. helped to administer a cease-fire on June 11
  • Israel doubled their territory

Egypt recognized Israel as a sovereign state and got their territory back. The rest of Egypt’s allies decided to not to pursue any more aggressive action against Israel (History.com, 2010).

Figure 1: Photo of the pre-war Israel.
Figure 1: Photo of the pre-war Israel. | Source
Figure 2: Photo of post-war Israel
Figure 2: Photo of post-war Israel | Source

Figure 1 shows the boundaries for the each state before the war. Figure 2 shows territories gained by Israel particularly a massive gain of Egyptian territory. Why did not the United Nations take action? They did. They brokered the peace talk that ended the war. It could be viewed that the territory gained was not due to aggressive war but for self-defense. Israel eventually gave the Sinai territory back to Egypt after Egypt recognized Israel as a sovereign state as indicated earlier. Israel was the aggressor because she needed to be to survive. Israel’s aggressive doubled her territory, but aggression is not always needed for military expansion.

Military Expansion Without Aggression

The United States military has many bases around the world. According to The Heritage Foundation, having military personnel boosts economic growth in host countries. The claim was made based on data collected from 94 countries (Jones & Kane, 2005). Other benefits for hosting military bases are it strenthrens national defense, they are the military for their host nation, and European and Asian allies welcome the protection (Roget, n.d.).

Figure 3: Photo showing U.S. Military bases around the world.
Figure 3: Photo showing U.S. Military bases around the world. | Source

The likely reason for so many base is due to that “The US was mindful that all out war seemed likely, and they were eager to put as many pieces on the board as possible (Roget, n.d.)” and Figure 3 shows where some of those bases are. The benefits of having U.S. bases are mentioned earlier, but there may be issues for having them.

Local Issues

Guam has two military bases on the island: Anderson AFB and Naval Station. The normal permanent change of station (PCS) for military members has not produced any major impact of resources such as water supply and electricity. The issue is that U.S. Marines and their families is expected to relocated to Guam in the near future. Although seen as a good thing for many Guam residents, some believe that the resources particularly water may run low.

According to an article in the Pacific Daily News, when too much water is taken is taken from the Northern Lens Guam Aquifer too quickly, it can become contaminated. The article further states that:

This process is called saltwater intrusion. It has been estimated that about 60-80 million gallons per day can be produced from the aquifer without harming it. Current water production in the Northern Guam aquifer is between 30-35 million gallons per day…different areas of the aquifer will yield different amounts of groundwater. In some areas of Hagåtña and Mangilao, there are signs that too much water is being pumped and that salt water is making its way into the pump. (Jocson, 2006, para. 8).

It may be a possiblity that additional military personnel and their families relocating to Guam may have adverse effects on the island’s water supply.

Another issue may include overcrowding. Too many tourists and military personnel influxes may cause it. A third issue involves cultural sites such as Pagat. Pagat hold a cultural meaning to the local residents, but the military wants to make it into a firing range. A fourth issue involves military exercises. Exercises conducted at night involving fire and aircraft use may keep residents up at night.

Regional Issues

Chrisman (2003) stated that “…the globalization of U.S. culture has meant the globalization of black culture (p. 75).” Chrisman further stated that “U.S. citizens are lacking cognition…and…embraced a culture of lumpenism and brutality: gangster rap, police, and prison shows (p. 75).” That may be debatable, but it will be used as an issue. U.S. bases may have a large number of personnel and military family members that promote “lumpinism and brutality” through the type of music they listen to. South Korea has many U.S. bases. It is possible that U.S. military personnel, in addition to media, promoted black culture in South Korea.

According to Hogarth, Korean drama and K-Pop became popular in China. It popularity was coined as the Korean Wave. K-Pop in particular had a western influence (Hogarth, 2013). The article further stated that:

K-Pop appears to have more Western influence…borrowing a lot form Afro-Carribbean culture…does not focus on arm and shoulder movements, which is a characterisric of traditional Korean dance, but rather on hip and leg actions. (p. 144, bold emphasis added).

Personnel from U.S. bases may have had a role with the promotion of “lumpenism.” That is a regional issue affecting South Korea and China which is near Guam; U.S. bases may have a global issue.

Global Issue

Where there are bases overseas, there are a lot of disposable income that military personnel have. One way to capitalize on that is through human trafficking. In South Korea, there were “Women from the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Bolivia, Peru, Mongolia, China, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan were trafficked into South Korea (Hughes, Chon, & Ellerman, 2007, p. 906).” Hughes et al. further stated that the women were taken into near U.S. bases. Women are coming from different parts of the world into South Korea into the sex industry. Human trafficking is a profitable enterprise for organize crime and is considered a global problem (Jones, Engstrom, Hilliard, & Diaz, 2007).

Conclusion

Military expansion using violence has been common even before modern times. The Qin Empire from China, the Roman Empire in Europe, and the Mongol Empire were some examples. They all used violence to gain territory. The modern day example provided is Israel with her 6 day war that brought her neighbors to its knees and double her territory in the aftermath. U.S. bases around the world was a form of military expansion that does not involve gaining territory with violence. Local, regional, and global issues of U.S. bases were discussed. Issues were scarce resources and culture, spread of lumpenism, and human trafficking.

References

BBC News. (n.d.). Photographs of pre-war and post-war Israel. Retrieved 19 April 2018, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/v3_israel_palestinians/maps/html/six_day_war.stm

Chrisman, R. (2003). Globalization and the media industry. The Black Scholar, 43(3), 74-77

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2007). Conquest. Retrieved 19 April 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/conquest-international-law

History.com. (2010). Six-day war ends. Retrieved 29 April 2018, from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/six-day-war-ends

Hogarth, H.K. (2013). The korean wave: An asian reaction to western-dominated globalization. Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 12. 135-151

Hughes, Donna & Y Chon, Katherine & P Ellerman, Derek. (2007). Modern-day comfort women the u.s. military, transnational crime, and the trafficking of women. Violence against women. 13. 901-22

Jocson, J. (2006). Do you know where your water comes from? Retrieved 19 April 2018, from http://content-static.guampdn.com

Jones, G. & Kane, T. (2005). The impact of u.s. troop deployments on economic growth. Retrieved 19 April 2018, from https://www.heritage.org

Jones, L., Engstrom, D., Hilliard, T., & Diaz, M. (2007). Globalization and human trafficking. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 34(2). 107-123

Khan Academy. (2017). Genghis khan and the mongol empire. Retrieved on 19 April 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiIJFRqrQYk

Khan Academy. (2016). Overview of the roman empire. Retrieved on 19 April 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl-1snoSWpo

Roget, S. (n.d.). Why is the u.s. allowed to have military bases all over the world? Retrieved on 19 April 2018, from https://www.ranker.com

Steger, M. B. (2003). Globalization: A very short introduction. Oxford: OXFORD University Press.

Taagepera, R. (1997). "Expansion and contraction patterns of large polities: context for russia". International Studies Quarterly. 41 (3): 492–502.

Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and duration of empires: growth-decline curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 121–122, 124–125, 127–129, 132–133.

Vine, D. (2015). Where in the world is the U.S. military? Retrieved on 19 April 2018, from https://www.politico.com

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