Condi Rice is in Bulgaria putting the finishing touches on arrangements for the US to use three military bases there. Meanwhile, 2000 protesters took to thee streets. Bulgaria has a sizable Muslim population, and many of its citizens cannot stomach the idea of US troops being stationed there for the purpose of attacking other Muslim countries. Of course, they are also there to guarantee the flow of oil from the black sea.
This from Reuters:
Protesters from the ultranationalist Attack party, a key opposition group which unexpectedly entered parliament in last year's elections, hoisted banners saying "Condi, we don't want your bombs" and "No to the U.S. bases in Bulgaria".
Rice, who arrived in Sofia on Thursday for a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers, is due to sign a deal with NATO newcomer Bulgaria to establish three military bases on the Balkan state's territory.
Several dozen police with shields and helmets deployed as the protesters held up hundreds of Bulgarian flags, chanted "USA out!" and demanded Sofia hold a referendum on the bases.
And from Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections:
A report said US interest in providing security and prosperity in the Black Sea region is related to the transport of oil. It cites the Washington File report, which says shipping traffic into and out of the Black Sea has more than doubled since 2001, with 150 ships a day passing through the Turkish Straits, including an average of 25 oil tankers per day.
A terrorist attack against shipping or port facilities "would directly threaten the interests and economic security of the United States, and of all the nations which use the energy from the region," the newsletter cited Ambassador Beyrle as saying.
The Washington File recalls that on October 23, US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley visited Bucharest, Romania, and said the United States and Romania expected to reach an agreement "very soon" that would allow American troops to use military bases near the Black Sea.
"Hadley did not discuss basing negotiations in neighbouring Bulgaria, but US officials have been negotiating with both countries for more than a year."
Source: Dow Jones
The US already has more than 700 bases worldwide, but it can't defend its borders. Why? Because it's more interested in presiding over a global empire than it is in defending its citizens from attack.
This from LewRockwell.com:
Why does the US need new military bases in Bulgaria and Romania? According to Chalmers Johnson, in his book "The Sorrows of Empire," America already possesses more than 725 overseas bases. This incredible estimate comes from two official sources: The Department of Defense's "Base Structure Report," and "Worldwide Manpower Distribution by Geographical Area." Johnson claims that the figure is actually an underestimate, because many bases are "secret" or otherwise not listed on official books. As an example, Johnson quotes several sources who cite at least six US installations in Israel which are either operating or are under construction.
During the Cold War, it was argued that the US needed forward basing in strategic areas of the world to counter the Soviet position, and contain Soviet expansion. But the US continues to aggressively pursue more bases in far-flung areas of the globe, despite the fact that the Cold War has been over for more than a decade. American officials have explained that the new bases in Bulgaria and Romania are part of a broader US strategy of shifting troops based in Western Europe further east. In other words, now that the Soviet Union has collapsed, America is aggressively expanding into its former sphere of influence by recruiting former Soviet satellites into NATO, and garrisoning them with bases and troops. In fact, since 9/11 alone the US has acquired at least 14 new bases in Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, the Persian Gulf, and Pakistan, and was evicted from a recently procured base in Uzbekistan. This figure does not include the newly-announced Bulgarian and Romanian bases. Are we to believe that the US needs more military bases worldwide – not less – now that the Cold War is over?
Apparently so. Thomas Donnelly, an archetype neoconservative militarist, recently published a pamphlet entitled "The Military We Need," available at http://www.aei.org/books/. Among other things, he argues for the creation of "new networks of overseas bases," and a "semipermanent ring of 'frontier forts' along the American security perimeter from West Africa to East Asia." In Counterpunch, Winslow T. Wheeler quoted Donnelly at a speech before the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute as saying the US "homeland" includes the area defined in the Monroe Doctrine. In Donnelly's mind, the US has apparently already annexed the Caribbean and Central America.
Since the end of the Cold War, the US has acquired a plethora of new bases throughout the Persian Gulf. Some observers believe that these bases were obtained to "secure" a strategic commodity – oil. While oil security was certainly a main concern of the first Gulf War, US bases in the Middle East are actually generating the very insecurity – in the forms of terrorism and insurgency – that they supposedly exist to combat. Certainly, there were no terrorist or insurgent attacks on Iraqi oil facilities before that country was invaded, occupied, and garrisoned with US bases and troops. Furthermore, Bin Laden cited US military occupation of Saudi Arabia as a key reason for Al-Qaida attacks against US interests. Another problem with the "oil security" thesis is that America only had two permanent bases (both naval) operating in the entire region during the Cold War, when the Middle East faced the threat of invasion by the Soviet Union – one in Bahrain, and the other on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, 3340 miles from Baghdad.