Tied Above, Pressed Below: Security Alliances, Social Movements, and the Politics of Overseas U.S. Military Bases
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Do social movements matter in security politics? Connecting the international relations literature with social movement theories, my research examines how bilateral security alliances influence state-society interaction and social movement outcomes in the politics of overseas U.S military bases. Investigating how host governments react to anti-base movement pressure while managing alliance relations with the U.S., I argue that the host government's response in finding a balance depends on the level of security consensus held by political elites regarding national security. When host government political elites are significantly divided regarding their perception of national security and U.S.-host state security relations, elites sympathetic to anti-base movements cooperatively engage anti-base activists. Thus a weak security consensus opens the possibility for major base policy changes by anti-base movements. Conversely, when a common consensus regarding security relations with the U.S. exists among domestic political elites, the host government strategically responds to anti-base pressure by either ignoring, foot-dragging, co-opting, or at best, making token concessions to anti-base groups. By providing minimal concessions, host governments are able to maintain positive relations with the U.S. while mollifying major anti-base protests. Social movements, therefore, have little effect on base policy outcomes under conditions of strong security consensus. I use movement episodes in five different countries - Philippines, Japan, Italy, Ecuador, and South Korea - to support my argument. The findings are based on government reports and documents, internal activist documents, participant observation, and in-depth interviews with activists, host government elites, and U.S. officials.
alliance; social movements; military base; anti-American; national security
dissertation or thesis