Over the course of the last century, the US has encircled the world with a web of military bases unlike any other in history. Today, they amount to more than 700, in 40 countries. No continent is spared. They are one of the most powerful forces at play in the world today, yet one of the less talked-about. They have shaped the lives of millions, yet remain a mystery to most. Why do countries like Germany, Italy, Japan and South Korea still host hundreds of US military bases and thousands of US soldiers? And why is the US aggressively expanding in many new countries? How do the bases affect local populations, and what stance has president Obama taken on this controversial subject? This documentary film answers these and other questions through the words of prominent experts, intellectuals and ex-insiders Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Chalmers Johnson and others and through the shocking but often inspiring stories of those directly affected by US bases in Italy, Japan, the Indian Ocean and elsewhere.