Scholarship on the U.S. Military Presence in Asia

Zachary Fredman's picture

Hello Everyone,

 

I'm looking for sources to use for a course I'm developing on the history of the U.S. military presence in Asia from 1945 to the present. The class will examine whether or not the strategic benefits and other positive facets of the U.S. military presence in Asia outweigh the array of ills it has caused. I'm trying to locate more sources that make the case that the U.S. military bases in Asia have been a force for good. Tim Kane published an article in Commentary making this argument, and the Rand Corporation published a study in 2013 that reviewed the relative costs and strategic benefits of overseas U.S. military basing. Does anyone know of other sources that might be helpful? 

There is no shortage of excellent scholarship outlining the negative effects of U.S. military bases in Asia, such as work by David Vine, Seungsook Moon, and others. 

 

Thanks,

Zach Fredman 

Zach,

I cannot point you to any sources better than what you have done, but I do want to put this out there. The U.S. military and the U.S. government are currently positioning the U.s. towards a "Rebalance to Asia" or an "Asia-Pacific Rebalance." This is important as both institutions are inherently arguing for a positive forward presence in Asia. The issues you want to address in your class are currently under discussion in the DOD and within various Services.

For that reason, the editors of the _Marine Corps University Journal_ (especially me!) are running a special issue on the Rebalance and conventional deterrence and platforms for the Spring 2017 issue. Anyone interested in addressing the Rebalance in any Asian country or as a part of related issues (bases, cyber, technology, foreign policy, or historical background) should contact me to discuss a submission. Papers do not need to be specifically about the USMC.

The _MCU Journal_ is a peer reviewed and indexed journal that speaks to both military and civilian communities. The editors are looking for manuscripts ranging from 4,000 to 10,000 words. We adhere to _Chicago Manual of Style_, 16th ed. for most matters, especially footnotes. We encourage junior scholars and advanced graduate students to consider publishing with us. We have the time and willingness to work with new authors. We would also consider a review essay and book reviews with some discussion.

Feel free to email the acquisitions editor, Alexandra Kindell at alexkindell@gmail.com. I would not normally plug a journal in a reply, but this issue needs to be addressed outside of the Pentagon and PACOM.

If I might be so bold to suggest a few ideas.

First, you might start with the excellent work of Hal Friedman on the US in the Pacific after WW II, it is uniformly excellent although limited in the period it covers (and dense). His first volume is entitled _Arguing Over the American Lake: Bureaucracy and Rivalry in the U.S. Pacific, 1945-1947_.

Second, for a quick overview vis-à-vis Japan, but which provides the context for all else, you should check out my book _A Military History of Japan: From the Samurai to the 21st Century_, the final chapter, which looks extensively at US and Japanese relations after the war.

Next, there are some fine general works about the Cold war that have come out recently, on the Navy during the Cold War by Jeff Barlow, _From Hot War to Cold_ that of course includes a healthy does on the Pacific and Asia and Jonathan M. House's _Military History of the Cold War_.
I leave it to you to google these to find their publishers, but all of this is recent scholarship

Finally, I am not aware of any one synthesis on US policy and defense policy overall for Asia and the Western Pacific/Pacific Rim. This is an area of opportunity I would think. You will have to use larger studies and survey works such as Ronald Spector's _In the Ruins of Empire_, but even that is limited in its coverage of the period and really only goes up to the early 1950s.

The fields are white unto the harvest for this sort of macro-synthetic history.

vr John T. Kuehn,
soon-no-longer-to-be the Stofft Professor
US Army Command and General Staff College
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Zach,

You might want to check out:

Marc Gallicchio, The Scramble for Asia: U.S. Military Power in the Aftermath of the Pacific War
(New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008).

Hope this helps.

Hal Friedman
Henry Ford College
Dearborn, Michigan

Zach,

see

Military Presence: U.S. Personnel in the Pacific Theater
http://www.gao.gov/products/NSIAD-91-192
NSIAD-91-192: Published: Aug 20, 1991. Publicly Released: Aug 20, 1991.

INTEGRATING LANDPOWER IN THE INDO–ASIA–PACIFIC THROUGH 2020: ANALYSIS OF A THEATER ARMY CAMPAIGN DESIGN
BY BENJAMIN A. BENNETT (LAND WARFARE PAPER 107, MAY 2015)
https://www.ausa.org/publications/integrating-landpower-indo%E2%80%93asi...

THE U.S. ARMY IN MOTION IN THE PACIFIC
(TORCHBEARER ISSUE PAPER, APRIL 2015)
https://www.ausa.org/publications/us-army-motion-pacific

also the articles in
ASIAN DEFENCE JOURNAL
www.adj.com.my/
Asian Defence Journal (ADJ)

and

Asia Pacific Defence Reporter www.asiapacificdefencereporter.com/

Mike Yared

Dear Alexandra, John, Hal, and Mike,

Thank you for all these excellent recommendations!

-Zach Fredman