Why Not Abandon All Foreign Bases?
Thursday October 21, 2021
Neoconservatives—like Michael Rubin at the American Enterprise Institute (“The One Foreign Base Biden Should Abandon”)—haven’t gotten over President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
But Rubin is also upset that “the Biden administration is determined to hold on to the one base that America should have abandoned a decade ago.” This is Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.
Rubin maintains that during the Cold War, Incirlik was crucial. But even though “the base supported U-2 surveillance flights, US operations during the 1958 Lebanon crisis, the 1991 liberation of Kuwait, and, most recently, the fight against the Taliban,” Incirlik—which “also hosts approximately 50 nuclear weapons”—is “now a strategic liability” instead of “a strategic asset.”
Turkey “is as much an enemy as an ally.” President Erdogan cannot be trusted. “Every American serviceman, contractor, and family at Incirlik are potential hostages.” “Incirlik now risks a repeat of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.” An American “departure from Incirlik” would not “affect US operations.” The United States should use the “Mihail Kogalniceanu air base in Romania” or the “Souda Bay Naval Base” in Greece. It would not be “irresponsible” to leave “an obsolete base.”