Since the 1950s, Washington has provided assistance to several countries in which the United States has bases or other military facilities–primarily military aid under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program and economic aid through the Economic Support Fund (ESF). Indeed, from FY 1962 to FY 1992, an annual average of about 10 percent of U.S. foreign assistance went to base-rights countries.
Today, however, following a withdrawal from bases in the Philippines, the United States has only three traditional base-rights arrangements: with Greece, Turkey, and Portugal. Partly as a result, only 7 percent of the $14 billion foreign aid budget for FY 1993 goes to base-rights countries. Looked at another way: U.S. security assistance to base-rights countries plunged from $1.5 billion in FY 1992 to $980 million in FY 1993. Also, in contrast to past years, most FY 1993 base-rights aid will be concessional (low-interest) loans, not grants. And the prevailing sentiment in the House of Representatives is that base-rights aid be “phased out as soon as possible.“
Is this, then, the “end of an era” for American bases abroad?