Saturday, June 12, 2004

Who Won the Cold War?

Out of all the fictions and myths surrounding President Reagan, the script that his sycophants most want to spread is the idea that he won the cold war. You know the story: Saint Ronnie heated up the arms race and broke the Soviet Union.

The only problem is that - like most Reagan myths - it just ain't true.

Most historians will tell you that the Soviet Union collapsed from its own internal weakness. In fact, the Soviets themselves wrote about their weaknesses before Reagan ever took office. It was dissatisfaction with those weaknesses that brought Gorbachev into power in the first place.

And the Soviet Union never even TRIED to keep up with the U.S. in the arms race during the 80s. The didn't think Star Wars was realistic.

But there was one single event that did severely weaken the Soviet Union, and which directly led to the collapse of the country. You know what that was: their disastrous War in Afghanistan.

That war was fought against American-backed Islamicists. And the decision to back those Islamicists was made by President Jimmy Carter.

Robert Gates, the head of the CIA under Carter, wrote his memoirs. In those memoirs he says that the United States began to secretly arm the Maujahideen in July of 1979 - six months before the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

It was, according to Gates, the largest covert military operation ever undertaken by the CIA, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter's National Security Advider, told him that intervening in Afghanistan might cause the Soviet Union to invade. Mind you, this was not some act of prescient brilliance - they didn't know that it would be a good thing for the Soviets to invade, they thought it was a serious risk - but they did know that the Soviets might.

And the Soviets DID invade.

And never recovered.

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