The Presidency: Instruments of Power at Sea

That remarkable American product, the aircraft carrier, is uniquely the instrument of Presidents. It is the hunkered-down warning of great power that can come alive instantly, as it did in 1972 in the mining of Haiphong harbor in Viet Nam. It can also serve as a floating fragment of American hospitality, as it did when the Kitty Hawk in 1979 helped rescue the displaced and frightened boat people of Viet Nam from their desperation in the South China Sea.

Anyone who has watched night operations from the bridge of the Enterprise or the...

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