the point of my post
is not to dispute the Soviet Communist threat to the West, post World War II. And I don't seriously dispute anything you just said in your post (although as far as the Middle East, I always thought the Soviets backed some of these countries you mention at various times because of US ties to the Saudis and a strategic US presence in the region).
There is no doubt that as the '50s progressed into the '60s, the U.S. had to play "catch up"...... Communist Russia was aggressively and brazenly invading its neighbors while openly proclaiming world domination as its goal.... (Kruschev's "we will bury you" pronouncement, etc.).The Korean War was almost a "microcosm" of the whole period.... unprepared and underequipped US troops thrown in to try and halt a startlingly quick Communist advance, which many believe failed only because it moved too quickly, spreading itself too thin and cutting itself off.
The point I was trying to make, or, more accurately, the question I was trying to ask is whether this Communist threat (or any other threat) in reality remained at such a high level from the later '60s and into the '70s and onward so as to justify the considerable and often questionable continuing policy of preemption, much of it considered illegal in the international community (CIA-staged coups, the arming of ruthless dictators, etc.) I just get a sense that the WW2 and immediate post WW2 periods put such a scare into the US and the West that ever since that time (starting perhaps with the Vietnam war) its leaders have over-reacted, often dramatically and misguidedly, toward a preemptive mindset, which may create as many (or more) problems as it solves.
I'm not claiming to be absolutely correct about this. Maybe I'm only partially correct. Maybe I'm on shaky ground here. It's just an observation/question of mine. I guess spending billions and sacrificing lives recently to deal with two of our past "preemptions" (Saddam and bin Laden) is weighing on my mind.