An acquaintance who is a self professed Communist dismissed America’s war in Afghanistan as: “that’s the way capitalism rolls…” Failing to make the distinction between imperialism and capitalism is a frequent mistake of leftists from Chris Hedges to Caleb Maupin. But the Soviets made the same mistake in Afghanistan as any other empire that foundered there for much the same reasons. No less than Mikhaill Gorbachev has said that as a member of the Politburo, he was stunned as were the other members that the decision had been taken to invade Afghanistan. The decision was made by three men in secret, General Ustinov, Mr. Andropov and Mr. Gromyko, representing the military, the KGB and the foreign ministry aka the Soviet deep state. Chris Miller gets into the details of how it happened. Basically the foreign policy apparatus saw it as a way to enhance their power, prestige and and patronage while Brezhnev was functionally asleep at the wheel. A weak executive was overwhelmed by the appetites of it’s agencies. Sound familiar? There is much to be learned here and Chris Miller lays out a sequence of events many Americans should recognize.
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