Week of the Big Stick

Reagan flexes U.S. muscle--but the end is unclear

Navy warplanes firing missiles at Libyan patrol boats. Army helicopters ferrying troops into the jungles of Central America. American might was unleashed and on display last week, resonating with echoes of fights for right and freedom from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. As the images of far-flung war flickered over television screens, Americans could hardly be blamed for humming a bar or two from the Marines' Hymn--but not too loudly and more than a bit nervously.

To most Americans, smiting Libya's Muammar Gaddafi certainly felt good: taking up his "line of death" dare, double-daring him back, winning...

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