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National Defense

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To the Editor:

Eliot A. Cohen’s thoughtful analysis of the future of national defense [“What To Do About National Defense,” November 1994] left out what may be one of our central concerns. In dealing with potential enemies, Mr. Cohen seems to assume that we would, as it were, have to face them one at a time. But this has not been the case in any of our major conflicts, including and since World War II, and is less likely to be so in the future.

In World War II we faced an alliance of major powers—Germany, Italy, and Japan. In Korea we fought a de-facto alliance of North Korea and China; and in Vietnam we struggled unsuccessfully against the same sort of combination of Communist powers, which of necessity limited the scale of our effort and eventually defeated us.

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