THE UNITED STATES has troops deployed in over 150 countries around the world. These are permanent deployments openly admitted to by the US military.
When US Special Forces drive off a bridge in Mali, as recently happened, we discover that US troops are in Mali in greater numbers than we knew, but those troops aren’t listed here or considered in the calculation below.
No secret forces are considered here, no allied forces funded or trained or armed by the United States. And of course no drones. There are over 10,000 athletes from 204 countries competing in the 2012 London Olympics.
Many nations have sent very small delegations. Many nations have a very small US troop presence. In many nations the US troop presence falls just short of or exactly equals the size of the Olympic team.
In 69 nations, there is a larger US military presence than the nation’s Olympic team. This count excludes the oceans of the world, in which over 100,000 US troops are stationed, but which of course don’t have Olympic teams.
It includes the Olympics’ host nation, the United Kingdom, which has 20 times as many US troops stationed on its land compared to the 541 athetes it has competing in London.
The countries with US troops deployed includes Diego Garcia, which could have an Olympic team if Britain hadn’t removed all of its people to make room for a US military base. (See Diego Garcia: Out of Eden by John Pilger.)
And it includes other nations that have been demoted to US territories. It also includes South Korea, despite the US military not releasing the numbers, because the US military has many times the number of troops there — and growing — than South Korea has athletes on its Olympic team.
The question arises, of course, why the United States — a nation that is trailing many poorer nations in education, health, security, sustainability, and infrastructure — is paying such huge sums to create a global presence of representatives with guns rather than athletes in the London Olympics.
The 69 nations with more US troops stationed in their country than they have athletes at the Olympics are:
- Bosnia Herzegovina
- Diego Garcia
- El Salvador
- Marshall Islands
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Puerto Rico
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- Spain Sri Lanka
- St. Helena
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Wake Island