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The Lawfare Podcast: Rebecca Herman on ‘Cooperating with the Colossus’

Today, the U.S. military maintains around 800 bases in installations around the world with around 75 of those in Latin America, including perhaps its most notorious in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But it wasn’t always this way.

To learn more about this fraught and understudied history, Lawfare managing editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Dr. Rebecca Herman, assistant professor of history at UC Berkeley, to discuss her new book, “Cooperating with the Colossus: A Social and Political History of US Military Bases in World War II Latin America.” They discussed how the U.S. went from its good neighbor policy of the 1930s to nearly 200 military bases on sovereign Latin American soil by the end of the war, and the thorny questions of legal jurisdiction, labor rights, and gender relations that arose from those new sites. They also got into how, in Prof. Herman’s words, although national sovereignty and international cooperation are compatible concepts in principle, they’re difficult to reconcile in practice.