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IS LOSING A WAR BETTER IN LONG RUN?

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Who were the victors and who the vanquished in World War II? Fifty years later, it's not so easy to tell.

The United States was a war winner. It remains the world's most powerful nation, economically and militarily.The once-great Soviet Union emerged victorious from the European clash, then self-destructed during the 1980s, leaving a diverse collection of independent states with severe financial problems.

Japan and Germany, losers in World War II, have rebuilt so well they now compete successfully with the United States in world markets.

Looking back, there is a temptation to ask if losing might be better than winning, but no losers have said yes.