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  1. Vietnam, Iraq & Afghanistan: Different or the Same?
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  4. Modern American Poetry

Vietnam, Iraq & Afghanistan: Different or the Same?

Israel has torpedoed U. Of course, hawkish critics of the Obama administration say that it lacks influence in these cases because it is unwilling to use the U.

But is this true? The Obama administration channeled very high levels of military manpower and financial resources into lengthy U.

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Furthermore, in previous decades, the U. The bloody Korean War, for example, left things much as they were before the conflict began, with the Korean peninsula divided and a ruthless dictatorship in place in the north. The lengthy and costly Vietnam War led to a humiliating defeat for the United States -- not because the U. Even CIA ventures drawing upon U.

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Yes, the CIA, bolstered by U. But, seven years later, the CIA-directed, -funded, and -equipped invasion at Cuba's Bay of Pigs failed to topple the Castro government when the Cuban public failed to rally behind the U. Although the U. The Cold War confrontation between the U. For decades, the two governments engaged in an arms race, with the United States clearly in the lead. But the U. Along the way, U.

Modern American Poetry

As Zbigniew Brzezinski put it recently, "Preponderance should not be confused with omnipotence. Though the American death toll was significantly lower than the Vietnamese 58, versus 3 million , the superpower was unable to avoid defeat; media coverage of the devastating happenings eventually undermined credibility both at home and abroad. The war in Iraq and its chaotic aftermath, however, highlight the basic unipolarist misconception that sophisticated military and economic power are sufficient to subdue any adversary.

The United States possesses by far the largest pile of sophisticated weaponry on earth, yet its conventional military power is severely stretched in fighting one and a quarter wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, its nuclear edge is tempered by the other nations — including China, India and Russia, which have large, conventional forces and demographic depth — that have the means to respond with substantial nuclear retaliation.

Even tiny North Korea, with maybe a half-dozen bombs, has become hard to tackle.

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The "war on terrorism," for its part, is far more complex than a massive deployment of men and munitions against a clearly perceived enemy-state or coalition of states. In this war, terrorism is not the enemy; it is a battle tactic used by an elusive, globally dispersed, well-funded enemy.

Building a worldwide coalition of allies to fight such an enemy is not a policy choice. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation.

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