Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No, he doesn't mean it as a joke

The ultimate Establishment foreign policy journal, Foreign Affairs, published this piece by Nikolas Gvosdev, professor at the Naval War College: The Soviet Victory That Never Was: What the United States Can Learn From the Soviet War in Afghanistan 12/10/09. Here is the publication's own summary:

The Soviet Union came closer than many think to achieving its objectives in Afghanistan. How it almost managed to win -- and why it ultimately did not -- should serve as a lesson for U.S. policymakers today.
He doesn't exactly argue for the Tinker Bell theory of foreign policy, i.e., if we all clap and wish real hard, it will happen. But he's not far from it.

And, yes, he actually argues, "U.S. military planners would be wise to study how the Soviet Union nearly emerged triumphant from its decade-long war."

He does make some worthwhile historical points. And of course I'm all in favor of learning from the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. But this article seems to me to reflect a real desperation in looking for hope in this gigantic misadventure in the Hindu Kush.

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