Are America's Supercarriers the Weapon of the Future or a Throwback?

Head on from the wave tops, it rises like a sleek steel Adonis, shoulders swelling massively from a taut waist. From high above, the jutting contours of its deck map the outlines of a miniature continent. The newest of America's 14 aircraft carriers, the 1,092-ft-long Carl Vinson, is the most powerful and expensive conventional weapon of war ever built. It is a symbol of the Reagan Administration's new globalism, in which the 19th century notion of gunboat diplomacy has been transformed into one of aircraft-carrier diplomacy. It is the pre-eminent weapon of an age in which America can no longer depend...

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