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American defense analysts have recently displayed new interest in a strategic option that invokes a potential for conducting nonnuclear, limited-objective operations in areas remote from the central theaters currently of greatest concern to the United States--Europe and Southwest Asia. This study addresses the proposition that the United States should be prepared both to counter and, if advisable, to exploit a strategy that involves military actions in areas of the world apart from the central theater of a war or major power confrontation. The main issue is to what extent and under what conditions an investment in such military actions constitutes a useful strategy. Having the capability is a useful deterrent; deciding how or when to use it hinges not on the attractiveness of the concept but on the calculated feasibility of bringing off a successful operation without evoking highly undesirable side effects.

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