How Much Can America Do?

Its power is vast, but its global commitments are breathtaking

"We are a nation with global responsibilities." So said President Reagan in his speech to the nation last week on the events in Beirut and Grenada. But he did not address the question that assertion raises at the most basic level: Has the nation taken on worldwide commitments for the potential use of force that its military power currently is stretched too thin to fulfill?

The answer by military experts is not altogether reassuring. Its essence: as long as trouble on opposite sides of the globe can be met by deployments the size...

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