When the Germans fire, the British duck;
When the British fire, the Germans duck;
When the Italians fire, nobody ducks;
And when the Americans fire, EVERYBODY ducks.
The Americans' constant, self-perpetuating fear of Communism, as instigated by the likes of Senator McCarthy, fuelled the American war machine throughout the Cold War, making them the world's international police force with the likes of the UK, France and so on backing them up. As "Reds under the Bed" are no longer a threat, they're turning their attention to other countries they deem to be "problematic".
This is my opinion, backed up with research about the Kalten Krieg as researched from a German POV, and as such, is probably wrong.
Was the "reds under the bed" millarky in the 50's all because Capitalism is petrified of Communism? Scared of loosing the odd buck or two eh?
As an Opensource Software fanboy, I took great delight in Steve (smell all my money) Ballmer calling us Communists. From a die hard Capitalist, that must have been the worst insult he could think of as the Opensource movement of sharing software is a complete anathema to his way of financial thinking.