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Unformatted text preview: relative decline of U.S. power, but much less has been said of changes in U.S. credibility. While there has been some erosion in the relative power of the United States measured since 1945 or 1990), the swings in the level of its credibility have been much more pronounced. When the United States withdrew its forces from Vietnam in 1973, its credibility suffered so much that many observers doubted whether the United States would ever deploy its military overseas unless it faced a much greater and direct threat than it faced in Southeast Asia. Additional setbacks over the next decades followed, including the failed rescue of American hostages in Iran during the last year of the Carter administration and President Reagan’s withdrawal of U.S. Marines from Lebanon after the October 1983 Hezbollah bombing of U.S. barracks in Beirut. The bombing killed 241 American servicemen, but it elicited no punitive response—the administration abandoned a plan to assault the training camp where Hezbollah had planned the attack. 2 Operation Desert Storm drastically increased U.S. military credibility. The United Stat...
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- Summer '12