An Illustrated Guide to the Modern United States Army by Tim Ripley

By Tim Ripley

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Under the MBFR mandate, reductions would be considered only in the countries comprising the central zone of confrontation, defined to include the FRG, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemborg, the GDR, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Notably excluded from this area was any part of Soviet territory. This was an important deficiency from the Western perspective because, in contrast to the long period of time required for reinforcements from the US to arrive in Europe, armored forces deployed in the western military districts of the Soviet Union could reinforce any Pact invasion rapidly.

The NATO allies opposed country limits generally in order to maintain their flexibility in 44 Regaining the High Ground the event that one country was forced to reduce its forces for domestic reasons. This was particularly important for the West given the seeming impatience of US politicians and publics with the burden of maintaining American troops in Europe. The MBFR talks were notable as much for what was excluded as for what was considered. With one short-lived exception, Western reluctance to include limits on armaments led to a focus solely on manpower reductions, omitting in the process warships, aircraft, nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and conventional armaments of all sizes.

On the increasing number of Americans of non-European descent: Between 1950 and 1980 the percentage of Americans of non-white descent increased from 11 per cent to 19 per cent. See Table 40, 'Race by Sex: 100 to 1980,' General Population Characteristics: 1980 Census of Population, Bureau of Census, US Department of Commerce, 1980. Regarding the westward movement of the American population: The number of residents of the north-east as a proportion of the total US 38 Regaining the High Ground population, decreased steadily from 26 per cent in 1950 to 21 per cent in 1986.

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