chapter  2
9 Pages

The American pivot

American military power has been a double-edged sword which has both cost and saved many thousands of civilian lives during the present century. For some the United States is remembered most for the My Lai massacre in Vietnam1 or because of the thousands of ordinary people who died as a result of direct or indirect American and Soviet involvement in the other regional wars which became bloody arenas for their Cold War ideological competition. For many of those over 60 it is remembered more with gratitude for its mid-century part in liberating substantial areas of Europe and Asia from frequently brutal occupying forces and for the enormous contribution which it made to the rebuilding of those states that emerged shattered from the Second World War.