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President John F Kennedys inaugural address set the trend of his administration to adopt an ever more active role in world politics The internationalist administration was committed to spreading Capitalism and Democracy around the globe Kennedy said that the country was prepared to pay any price bear any burden meet any hardship support any friend oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty This sounds all very well and romantic but after reading Caputtos The Rumor if War it is easy to argue that the Kennedy administrations decision to deploy and later escalated the presence of American military force in Indochina did very little to oppose our communist foe the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong and did even less to assure the survival and success of liberty Following the Great Depression and World War II the American public had an unprecedented sense of patriotism and idealism Armed with a monopoly on the atomic bomb and the most powerful economy in the world Americans began to see themselves as not only the model of what it is to be a great nation but also as the worlds only superpower The period of global military superiority was short lived by 1950 it was apparent that another military and economic superpower had emerged in the Soviet Union The Soviet Union tested and successfully exploded an atomic bomb and many Americans as well as Europeans believed it to be almost inevitable that a new world war fought with atomic weapons would be fought between Capitalist America and Socialist Russia But the American peoples Perception that their nation epitomized what all nations should strive to be would last well into the period of the Vietnam War As the leading advocate of private ownership America needed a stable predictable world eager for imports to avert a resurrection of the Great Depression The United States wanted to put down nationalist movements around the world Groups such as
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