University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review


The United States is involved in a substantial reconfiguration of its overseas military bases that requires negotiating new base agreements with prospective host nations and amending old agreements with others. U.S. officials must grapple with the effects of anti-base social movements during this process. However, if history is any indication, these officials are unlikely to succeed fully. Both the United States's historical approach and much of the relevant scholarship on military bases underemphasize an important issue in the negotiation of base agreements: the domestic political contexts of host nations. Borrowing from social movements theory, this Article argues that the United States needs to take into account the structural determinants of successful anti-base mobilization in order to understand fully its bargaining position and to produce effective base agreements. The Article uses comparative case studies on anti-base movements in Okinawa and the Philippines to explain that the concept of "political opportunity structure" can be used to achieve these ends.