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Base closings: the rise and decline of the US military bases issue in Spain, 1975-2005

Cooley, Alexander and Hopkin, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0002-3187-4013 (2010) Base closings: the rise and decline of the US military bases issue in Spain, 1975-2005. International Political Science Review, 31 (4). pp. 494-513. ISSN 0192-5121

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0192512110372975


This article examines the conditions under which the United States foreign military bases become a contentious political issue in democratic base-hosting countries. Democratic consolidation, and in particular the institutionalization of the party system, reduces the incentives for political elites to mobilize domestic political support in opposition to foreign military presence. In the Spanish case, changes in the pattern of party competition explain why the basing issue was particularly contentious in domestic politics from 1981 to 1988, despite long-standing and profound public opposition to the use of the bases by the United States, and most recently in the 2003 Iraq campaign. Neither a public opinion explanation, focusing on anti-Americanism, nor a security-based explanation, focusing on the nature of bilateral security relations, can explain these same trends. The argument illuminates long-neglected important interactions in emerging democracies between party system dynamics and foreign policy positions and has important implications for determining the domestic political conditions under which overseas democratic countries will contest United States security hegemony

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 The authors
Divisions: Government
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DP Spain
J Political Science > JZ International relations
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
E History America > E151 United States (General)
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2010 09:22
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2024 20:09

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