Minerva-funded researchers Michael A. Allen, Michael Flynn, Carla Martinez Machain, and Andrew Stravers' Owl in the Olive Tree blog post on "Understanding How Populations Perceive U.S. Troop Deployments."
A mainstay of U.S. foreign policy in the Post-War era has been the deployment of hundreds of thousands of military personnel to countries around the globe. Since 1950, almost a quarter of U.S. troops were deployed abroad in an average year (Kane 2006). This trend evolved from World War II, as the United States began to acquire overseas bases. Many temporary wartime deployments became permanent presences codified in treaties between the U.S. and host countries during the Cold War. Despite their importance to U.S. foreign policy and world politics, we are just beginning to understand many of the non-security dimensions of these deployments, and the social, economic, and political effects they have on their host environments.
Many host-state residents are more likely to encounter U.S. military personnel than other U.S. government actors. This means that their perceptions regarding the United States, its government, and people may be heavily influenced by the nature of these interactions. U.S. military personnel are thus serving an underappreciated, and often unintentional, role as public diplomats....