United States

Stunning: U.S. military operating in 40 percent of world’s countries under guise of ‘war on terror’

A stunning map published this month by Smithsonian Magazine provides new details about the expansive nature of U.S. military involvement around the world as it relates to the post-9/11 “war on terror.”

Contrary to the narrative that the war is winding down, the map resembles a modern-day version of shows a U.S. military presence akin to the period when the the ‘sun never set on the British empire.’ Some 17 years after the war began, U.S. military presence globally is expanding and has now spread to more than 40 percent of the world’s countries.

By ‘presence,’ that includes U.S. military and support personnel who are currently engaged in 80 countries on six continents, according to Brown University’s Costs of War Project at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

The project calculated recently that since 2001, the U.S. has spent more than $5.9 trillion on war, most of it in Afghanistan and Iraq but also Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen, where U.S. military operations are more or less permanent at this point with no prospects of ending them for any reason.

The map’s creators at Smithsonian gathered information from several foreign government sources as well as open-source and unpublished information including military websites, foreign embassies, geographical databases and interviews with academics and journalists.

What’s more stunning is that the authors believe the map shows a “conservative” estimate of numbers regarding the involvement of U.S. military and diplomatic personnel engaged in the war on terror as of 2019.

The map indicates this:

We found that, contrary to what most Americans believe, the war on terror is not winding down—it has spread to more than 40 percent of the world’s countries. The war isn’t being waged by the military alone, which has spent $1.9 trillion fighting terrorism since 2001. The State Department has spent $127 billion in the last 17 years to train police, military and border patrol agents in many countries and to develop antiterrorism education programs, among other activities.

The authors noted that U.S. special operations “are likely more extensive than this map shows,” because most of those ops are classified.

Publication of the map is timely in that President Donald Trump recently announced the withdrawal of all (estimated) 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria and half of the 14,000 U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan, for which he received pushback in congressional, diplomatic, and foreign quarters.


  1. I think that our country and our military would be much stronger if we were NOT deployed to 120 countries and 700 separate military bases. Let’s figure out which of these bases are absolutely essential and trim the fat back to half of those countries and bases.

    Make the military strong by not spreading our military so thin and wide. Plus, STOP FEEDING THE DEFENSE INDUSTRIAL HOG.

  2. In olden times the strongest countries overtook the weaker countries and eventually had to rule them, you do not want to eliminate all of you new workers or slaves, so at some point you might have to play nice. All of these POS countries should just fail and give in, they have nothing to lose. Calling in the US military is the fastest way to eliminate any semblance of infrastructure. People just want to live. Get our troops out and on our southern border. We are just trying to do away with the natural order which means the survival of the fittest or who can hold out the longest. Our enemies know this so they just wait us out until we leave and then take over with little fighting. Dumb neo-cons and the criminal military industrial complex are exactly what Dwight Eisenhower warned us of and we are now bankrupt thanks to them and Obama and no border wall. $23 trillion + in debt and that is not close to accurate with all of the long term debt we really owe. Probably closer to $100 trillion.

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