Germany has a few US military bases. It’s a bit of a micro cosmos. People pay in USD and can buy American products there. I think even the VAT is added on checkout to the price (whereas in Germany, prices in stores always show VAT included).
I was on one a couple times when they played a theatre play (Christmas Charol or so). Quite interesting.
An open question I have after reading your comment is whether or not this isn't true of other countries foreign miltary installations (like the French bases in Djibouti, etc.). Intuitively it seems like due to the nature of military installations, it makes sense to treat them like an extension of the home country - but I'd be curious to see if other countries approach it differently.
As silly as it might sound: There's no country to actually compare it to because the US is pretty much an outlier in terms of scale and intensity of their military bases on foreign ground.
That's also the reason why the US military building McDonalds in the middle of the Iraqi desert, during an invasion, became pretty much a meme encapsulating the whole of US foreign policy.
In terms of scale, of course - but the US is not the only country with foreign military installations. Just off the top of my head, France, the UK and Russia all have long-term out-of-country bases.
Do literally none of these countries have anything that is remotely equivalent to a PX (seems unlikely)? If so, do they pay with their own currency or the local one, and are those transactions subject to local taxes? At the end of the day I expect it boils down to whatever SOFA is in place, but it's a legitimate question IMO.
The latter should have moved to Africa at least a decade ago, but America is still looking for an appropriate location (friendly, stable, infrastructure).
It's also not unprecedented: CENTCOM, SOUTHCOM, and arguable PACOM all have headquarters that are not in their respective areas of responsibility.
No. VAT in Germany is not charged to American servicemen and women and dependants. This is covered under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) . One may also receive reimbursement of VAT paid on the economy, though that is subject to some restrictions at around €2500, I believe. There are specific rules on cars. The actual forms for receiving reimbursement are onerous enough that VAT forms aren't often used outside of major purchases.
I went to high school on an American military base in Germany in the 1990s. At least then, the major items of note were jeans and gasoline/diesel (though, I had a teenager's bias). Both were subject to significant taxation on the economy that Americans didn't need to pay on base. In practice, this meant there were some restrictions on how many jeans people could purchase at once, to prevent Americans from reselling them to the Germans. There were also special booklets that Americans could buy on base that had little tear-out pages; each page could be exchanged for a certain number of liters of fuel at, specifically, Esso gas stations on the economy. While fuel prices on base (the same rate as the booklets) were considerably more expensive than in the US, it was still far cheaper than off base.
Most of the goods available in stores on base were imported from the US . All prices and payments were in dollars. We did not use pennies on the base, since they were too expensive to import. All bills/receipts were rounded to the nearest five cents .
I was told by a teacher at the time that the Rhine valley had "the single largest concentration of Americans outside of America." That specific area of US installations has grown in the intervening 20 years both due to the wind down of smaller Cold War-era bases scattered throughout Germany and due to the current conflicts the US is involved in, of which, most require US forces to deploy via Germany.
 As a major exception, I believe the bases purchased civilian fuel from German suppliers directly as part of the taxation agreement.
 The base bank would always do business to the penny which, over the course of years, would create a small pile of useless copper in every home.
Additionally, I must admit haven't thought much about the actual status of the "territories" before.
Unless you're talking about privately owned stores.
How is that legal? By law the price shown has to include VAT. Unless somehow the American base is not considered German territory?
And in fact it looks like this is true: https://garmisch.armymwr.com/programs/vat
> Department of Defense personnel stationed in or TDY to Europe may be eligible to use the U.S. Forces Tax-Relief Program to avoid paying this tax for their personal purchases. In other words, you may be able to have the sticker price reduced by extracting the 19% or 7% VAT when making qualifying purchases through a U.S. Forces VAT Office.
So, if these stores have primarily eligible customers, it stands to reason that the labeling would reflect that. (Rather than having the sticker price reduced, the sticker would reflect the reality of what you're going to pay.)
I am not sure about that though, this whole section says something different, and it's couched in various warnings and restrictions:
> Note: there exists NO direct entitlement to VAT relief of the individual member of the U.S. Forces! VAT relief only applies to procurements by a procurements agency of the U.S. Forces, here the VAT office. A contract shall not be concluded between the individual and the vendor as in such case VAT relief is not available.
But they do not understand, refuse to understand, or simply hold irrelevant the narrative manipulation that is necessary to pull it off, and this is something US excels at. The 'spreading freedom' meme is just one example; another example is 'we do it, and after that we declare it illegal for others to do it' - US committed significant war crimes, such as fire bombing of Dresden and Kyoto, and was never held accountable for it.
-The fire bombing of Dresden was executed jointly by the United States and United Kingdom, with the UK flying more sorties. This occurred during a war when Germany was executing strategic bombing campaigns against the UK.
-The United States of America did not fire bomb Kyoto. Nobody did.
The wider point is interesting though. We started the war with the attitude that killing civilians would be a war crime, and then as the war went on that principle was eroded more and more until fire-bombing several civilian populations across Germany was allowed.
There's a reason "Bombber Harris" was also known as Butcher Harris. Even Churchill disliked the area bombing tactics.
Here is the video of McNamara, the man who helped plan the attacks, reflecting on it.
In the aftermath of the first Gulf War, George H. W. Bush originally attempted to create an international precedent where sovereign nations don’t invade each other, by refusing to push into Iraq and depose Saddam after expelling him from Kuwait. That was an important aspect of his “New World Order” and quite forward looking. Clinton mostly upheld it, but subsequently Bush Jr and the neocons tossed that out the window with their invasion of Iraq.
That the Iraq invasion was both poorly justified and poorly executed (the occupation at least) hastened the destruction of H. W.’s precedent. America’s additional regime change attempts since of varying results have further undermined it. At this point the precedent and SOP for the great powers is barely concealed will to power.
The 21st century is going to be ugly as Russia, China and others follow America’s ill-conceived lead in this regard. But make no mistake, it was the US itself that made this dangerous state of affairs more likely.
Yes, it was one of the worst bombing raids and yes, we would consider it a war crime (or at least extremely unethical) nowadays (much like many things both sides had done throughout either World War) but it's usually invoked to play down nazi crimes and it's usually misrepresented because of very successful propaganda.
The estimated death toll was around 25-30 thousand. During and after the war various revisionists and propagandists have blown up that figure to over 100 thousand. Additionally German nazis have built an entire tradition around it, "mourning the fallen" to exploit the incident as a display of nationalism and nazi sympathies.
There's no legal basis to single out the bombing of Dresden as a war crime within the context of the Second World War. I would say that it can be argued that some of the crimes nazis were charged with after WW2 also lacked a pre-existing legal basis but there was no expectation that the winning side would apply punishments consistently, sufficiently or even fairly.
So even if there were good reasons to categorise the Dresden bombings as a war crime in the context of WW2, it'd just be one of many alleged and proven war crimes that went unchallenged -- including other crimes (and "crimes") committed by the US, the Allies in general or any other involved military.
Contrast this with the other players in the war who kept territory they acquired. Even the soviets who were on our side.
I'd love to hear what you're referring to since common knowledge is that Kyoto was notoriously the only part of Japan spared from major bomb raids (originally due to no military significance, then because they wanted to A-bomb it and didn't want earlier strikes to mess up the damage data, but later it was spared from the A-bomb as well)
By the time the US became substantial enough for real international trade, vast swathes of the planet were under other nation's empires leaving fewer trading partners than could be desired. Commodore Perry's somewhat invasive trip to Japan was to try and add a few trading partners from unclaimed nations.
So I suppose it's not too surprising that the colonies gained in the pointless glory seeking of the Spanish American war led to a bit of schizophrenia.
 The study of the methods used when writing history.
You can view the handwritten edits by Roosevelt in the archival drafts.
From our perspective, in the post-colonial era, the term "empire" and "colonisation" are just inherently negative terms. The defining qualities (this article explicitly makes this argument) of empire are considered to be slavery, reservation systems and such. In some sense, empire can just mean "bad" and bad can be proof or empire.
The postcolonial age is also the natiolist age, where nation states are the basis of the political system. That makes imperialism's defining quality "the subjegation of nations" because it denies nations ultimate authority.
Marx associated empire with capitalism (surprise surprise), using the term "international capitalism" interchangeably with empire. Considering history, this has some logic to it. For example, the Royal Britsh East India Trading Company colonized India. The crown later confiscated it. 18th and 19th century empires were about controling trade, whether by a king, legal monopoly or otherwise.
The article plays with a mundane territorial definition. Ff you control "overseas" land...
All interesting discussion topics, but also a problem.
"Is X an Empire" just depends on the definition. It's not a meaningful question in itself. Just because you conclude that "yes, it is" doesn't mean anything.
If X controls my local politics to its benefit, overthrows legitimate governments, and establishes dictatorships whenever it likes, and does that in tons of countries around the world, I'd call it an empire...
Fake news has been a big problem around the world for the past few years and the media has acknowledged and widely publicised it as a problem since 2016. Since a lot of people get their news from Facebook now, and Facebook has been algorithmically recommending fake news articles to people, Facebook has gotten a lot of flak for it, including the CEO being called to testify about it in Congress. A lot of people are now trying to figure out how to combat fake news and this has been on the news and this website for the last few years.
You are pretty naive if you think this nonsense will be fixed in a substantial way. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are dependent on outrage and will not do much to stop it. Yes, there are some people here and in the news discussing these issues but at the same time there are are many more people making a good living off perpetuating propaganda. The most that will happen to Facebook will be a lot of hot air and maybe a slap on the wrist.
D.C. will be first in line, then Puerto Rico.
Our news, history books, movies, etc all hide it by simply not labeling the US as an empire. It's just as easy as that. We use terms like "superpower" or "leader of the western" or "leader of democracies" or other euphemisms to hide and forgive conquests, brutality, genocide and empire.
Empire is evil and it's something our enemies do, not what we do. It's the british, germans, japanese and most recently the evil soviets who create empires. We are not evil, we don't create empires.
I'm pretty sure it's usually "scaled down" because that's how map projection works. Does this writer also think that Greenland and Africa are of comparable size?
This is not simply projection effects, this is explicit downscaling.
Another comparison, Wikipedia lists the area of Alaska as 1,717,856 km^2 and that of the contiguous United States 8,080,400 km^2, so on a map with only projection correction Alaska should be around 1/4 of the size of the lower 48, this is clearly not true on the wikipedia example shown above, and for any other map in the same style.
So no, Alaska is not scaled down for the sake of accurately depicting its size.
 Including many U.S. Americans
Have only really seen maps using Mercator myself though.
The closer to the focus of the map, the better it's area representation.
... that's the big ole' 'Empire'?
... and a few mostly unpopulated dots in the Ocean?
Oh, so scary! The power!
And to consider that Filipinos, who are culturally distinct from Americans in every way, and who have almost nothing in common with Americans but a temporary geopolitical alignment should be considered 'Americans' in the same way as those from New Orleans and NYC?
So that's 2018 intersectionalist history?
America is quite fundamentally distinct from the Philippines and always has been, there's no fundamental reason that most Americans on the street should care enough to 'go to war' over foreign interdiction.
Going to war for those with whom the US has a special arrangement, and going to war for the 'homeland' are indeed quite different questions.
There's no 'hiding' here.
Thanks for the history tidbits Graun, but as usually the headline is ridiculous.
Where they fork off is the Philippines are now an independent nation, Hawaii is now a US State, Oregon Territory was eventually split into 3 entire US States and part of a couple of others, and Puerto Rico still has more or less the same status as it did in 1941, but a few more rights and privileges afforded to them along with present day Guam, present day Northern Marianas Islands, and present day US Virgin Islands. American Samoa is US Territory, but a Navy playground so while the people are American Nationals living under the US Constituton, they’re not American Citizens and their territory is considered to be on par with all those unpopulated guano Islands we once claimed. That’s the law, 2019.
The Filipinos are culturally distinct but we still count large numbers of them as American Citizens, both as immigrants and as a people that have lived in the mainland since before the Philippines were granted independence. The Native Hawaiians were and still are considered culturally distinct but they are still American Citizens by birthright.
Put another way, your defensive posture is simply out of place here. On December 7th 1941, the Japanese attacked the United States. That shouldn’t need qualification. If they had only attacked Manila but didn’t make it to Oahu, they still would have been attacking the United States and that was certainly the intent of their attack.
No version of the word "intersectional" appears in the article, nor (so far as I can tell) in anything else by its author.
I agree that the word "empire" here seems overblown, but it seems like perhaps you're bringing your own pet hates into this for some reason?
Also: The article, and the book it's based on, are from 2019 (though I'm sure much of the work was done in 2018 and indeed earlier). Not sure what the point of specifying "2018" is meant to be.
This is horrendously sloppy journalism.
The first attack on Wake was three days later and was repelled. The successful attack was another 12 days after that.
And the Midway attack was six months after Pearl.
In the case of Wake, 8 of the 12 Grumman F4F Wildcat fighters were destroyed. In the case of Midway, the attack that day was repulsed.
It's interesting though that in this case both Wikipedia and "Joe H. N. Internet" could be called popular memory. :P
If anything, Pearl Harbor (and other surrounding targets) was the target specifically to tie up American efforts in the Northeast Pacific and keep them out of the way of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. That much the article seems to get correctly, and is arguably the article's main point.
His strategy was not too dissimilar to China's today. Loosely to create a huge space of Japanese air space by taking those far flung outposts to ensure any enemy was stretched across thousands of miles of hostile Pacific.
The Battle of Midway, six months later, was one of the most famous and strategically important naval battles of the entire war. As they lost that naval battle it is never really called an attack on the islands, least not in what I've read. They didn't make it that far.
They were more significant as refueling stops for transpacific flights, and as projection points for America's air and naval power. Japan wanted to use them for the same purpose, but was unable to; even with the "successful" invasion of Wake Island, the American submarine blockade kept it from being strategically useful to Japan.
Ultimately, the US was able to build up its carrier force enough to offset the need for these force projection points (or at least the need for Wake, given that they didn't retake it until after Japan had already surrendered).
Are non-American lives somehow worth less? (Or just worthless?)
That's the kind of ethno-centric mindset that doesn't even bother to count the civilian "collateral damage" as long as our guys are safe in their body armor or -- better -- thousands of miles away directing drones from behind a desk.
It doesn't help much with building intercultural trust and understanding, though, or "winning hearts and minds".
While I understand that this can be an emotional topic, I would appreciate it if you refrained from putting words in my mouth.
A more inclusive "every life lost matters" would have served equally well in the context, wouldn't it?
Besides, the non-American lives lost - that is, the Japanese lives lost - were lost specifically because they were attacking American soil unprovoked and by surprise. While their lives certainly did matter, and I do sympathize with the soldiers and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, it should be entirely unsurprising that, you know, maybe I'll have a little more sympathy for the defenders. This is not a US-centric mindset, by the way (despite me happening to be American), unless you think extending the same difference in sympathy to Chinese defenders v. Japanese aggressors in the same exact war is somehow "US-centric", or similarly extending the same difference in sympathy to Middle Eastern defenders v. American aggressors.