Since the start of Donald Trump’s run for the U.S. presidency in 2015, he has been critical of the amount of money U.S. allies contribute to their own defense.
The media also reported that U.S. military leadership in South Korea discussed the possibility of withdrawing up to 4,000 troops from South Korea if it does not increase its contributions. The Pentagon has since denied having such plans.
1. What’s in it for the US?
The U.S. currently has approximately 174,000 active-duty personnel deployed to overseas locations in approximately 140 countries. The Department of Defense Comptroller’s Office estimates the total cost of overseas bases and deployments at US$24.4 billion in fiscal year 2020. These figures generally exclude the costs of ongoing combat operations.
For example, the weaker country may sacrifice control over their foreign policy and give the major power access to territory or airspace it otherwise would not have. Deployments in Japan and Korea gave the U.S. influence in Southeast and East Asian regional matters during the Cold War.