How Many Countries has the US Invaded 2023

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While the Russian invasion of Ukraine dominated headlines in early 2022 and the countries Germany invaded were a vital part of World War II, the United States has itself been an aggressor on many occasions. Instances of the United States invading non-U.S. territory range throughout the country's history, from the 1805 Battle of Derna in what is now Libya to the 2001-2021 takeover and occupation of Afghanistan.

No single list of countries the U.S. has invaded can be considered truly comprehensive for the simple reason that there exist many differing definitions of precisely which military actions can be classified as an invasion. For example, if one counts only the times the U.S. has declared war on another country and fought on foreign land, there would be 11 instances of invasion spread across five wars.

Countries the U.S. has invaded after a declaration of war:

Country Year War Notes
Great Britain 1812 War of 1812 Maritime engagements, no war on British home soil
Mexico 1846 Mexican-American War
Spain 1898 Spanish-American War Cuba and Spain's Pacific territories, not Spanish mainland
Germany 1917 World War I
Austria-Hungary 1917 World War I
Germany 1941 World War II
Italy 1941 World War II
Japan 1941 World War II
Bulgaria 1942 World War II
Hungary 1942 World War II
Romania 1942 World War II

On the other hand, if one's definition of an invasion were to include any significant hostile incursion into another country's territory, even if war were not officially declared, the list could include several more entries. For example, a list compiled by Dr. Gideon Polya of La Trobe University in 2013 included the following:

Countries the U.S. has invaded since 1776:

Afghanistan Albania Algeria Angola Argentina
Austria Bolivia Bosnia Burma Cambodia
Chile China Colombia Cuba Dominican Republic
Egypt El Salvador France Germany Greece
Grenada Guam Guatemala Haiti Hawaii
Honduras Hungary India Indonesia Iran
Iraq Italy Japan Korea Kuwait
Laos Lebanon Liberia Libya Macedonia
Mali Mexico Micronesia Morocco Nicaragua
Niger Oman Pakistan Panama Papua New Guinea
Philippines Puerto Rico Russia Samoa Saudi Arabia
Somalia Sudan Syria Tunisia Turkey
Uganda Uruguay Vanuatu Vietnam Virgin Islands
Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire (now Congo)

The ultimate list of countries invaded by the United States

Finally, if one's definition of an invasion is expanded to include any instance in which U.S. forces interacted with a foreign country or territory—including areas in the Western Hemisphere that were foreign territories at the time but are now U.S. states—one could cite hundreds of incidents since the founding of the country. In fact, according to historians Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock, the United States has been "militarily involved" with every country on the globe but three: Andorra, Bhutan, and Liechtenstein.

A more complete tally of the United States' international "use of force" incidents can be seen in the table below, compiled from multiple previously published lists, including those created by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Global Policy Forum. Note that even this list should not be considered comprehensive. For example, many covert operations lack a known official record, and so will not appear.

Note that this list, detailed and inclusive as it is, can also be misleading. The CRS counts any event of any size, even those that were just a small posse entering another country to pursue a criminal. The CRS also expressly states that the legality of the events on the list has not been taken into consideration—for instance, if the U.S. sends troops to protect its embassy during a civil war or deploys a deterrent force into a country whose neighbor is amassing troops on its border, the act would likely be considered welcome by some participants and an invasion by others.

As such, the source lists (and in turn, the list below) include many events which may or may not fit one's definition of an invasion. For instance, peacekeeping missions in which the U.S. was (arguably) invited into non-U.S. territory, humanitarian missions such as disaster relief efforts, or WWII battles in which the U.S. landed on the shores of a Pacific island such as Vanuatu—technically an invasion—in order to repel Japanese forces already occupying it. In light of this extreme level of inclusiveness, additional details of each event are included to enable each reader to filter the invasions from the non-invasions according to their own unique criteria.

How Many Countries has the US Invaded 2023

Note: According to the Congressional Research Service, the legality of most instances listed has not been addressed under domestic or international law. As such, it is highly likely that many listed incidents (particularly those classified as peacekeeping or humanitarian missions) were considered a welcome presence rather than an invasion. Note also that the scale of listed events ranges from quick incidents involving only a few individuals to years-long wars involving millions of soldiers. Finally, according to the CRS, the list does not include: covert operations (though some were included by other sources); domestic disaster relief; routine alliance stationing and training exercises; occurrences in which U.S. forces have been stationed abroad since World War II in occupation forces or for participation in mutual security organizations, base agreements, or routine military assistance or training operations; the Civil and Revolutionary Wars; or the continual use of U.S. military units in the exploration, settlement, and pacification of the western part of the United States.

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How Many Countries has the US Invaded 2023