It is now taken as Gospel that the relatively small war in Afghanistan “brought down” the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, an empire of Socialist Soviets extending — when one counts its tributary states — from the Bering Straits to Berlin. Not much evidence has been presented to back this claim. But a lot of feel-good talk by Western commentators, most of whom could not identify the location of Napoleon’s attack routes or the Pripet Marshes, has repeated this claim as fact.
This seems surprising. At first view, it seems hardly credible that a nation, which barely 40 years previous had endured and prospered after a war that killed more than 20 million of its citizens and raged across virtually all of its European homeland could be destroyed by a tiny border war in which fewer than 60,000 ground troops were lost.
But a man named Zbigniew Brzezinski claimed it did, and so it must be.
And that is the problem today. The self-written history by an historic self-promoter, with limited or no historical backing, now appears to be the strategic justification for war in the Ukraine, cited by the odious class of Neocons now running our foreign policy establishment. Their goal — unbelievable — seems now clearly to be “regime change” in Russia. Their machina satanica — a cruel, needless war of Christian against Christian in Ukraine.
The incredibly dangerous goal of pursuing “regime change” — by any means — in respect of what is perhaps the world’s foremost nuclear power would consign its promoters to mental hospitals in any sane jurisdiction.
But we are not governed by sane men, nor is our homeland any longer a sane jurisdiction. We are governed by an ethnic class that bears ancient enmity towards all Russian goyim, and the Russian Tsar that is so deep it is almost beyond human understanding. They even hate Hungarian Christians, notwithstanding the Orban government’s close ties to Israel. And, tragically, their stupidity matches their bile.
The fact that Russia is now headed by a self-proclaimed baptized Christian who is promoting the strong revival of the hated Russian Orthodox Church has ignited their fury. The fact that he has outlawed many of their culture-war hobby-horses — gay marriage, gay and transsexual solicitation, and indoctrination of children — fuels their ire further.
Adding salt to the wound is that the same man grabbed Russia in 2000 out of the mouths of Jewish oligarchs who — along with Boris Yeltsin’s chauffeur — were actually running the country, starving its people, and looting its assets.
Thus, this ethnic class, who, 25 years ago, dreamed of re-taking Russia under the guise this time of predatory capitalism (as opposed to Judeo-Bolshevism), finds itself substantially cut off from any real control of internal Russia. This state of affairs — to a decent person, commendable, to an historian, inevitable, to the Neocons, unacceptable — is what is viewed by the Neocons in Foggy Bottom with rage.
And then came Ukraine. A Neocon-created, purposeful disaster, now coming to a head. After years of provocation, threats of NATO entry since 2008, a western-backed coup in 2014, sanctions under Obama/Biden, armaments shipments under Trump, continual provocations of Russia in an area crucial to the Russian heartland, smack in the center of the prime southern route by which every western power has waged war against Russia, against all warnings by many of America’s older (even in some cases Jewish) leadership class — Henry Kissinger, George Kennan (whose pre-2003 warnings about NATO expansion were ignored), Jack Matlock (Ambassador to Russia under Reagan), John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, Stephen Cohen of Princeton and NYU, Michael Mandelbaum of Johns Hopkins (see “Anatomy of a Blunder” (americanpurpose.com), Richard Pipes, the Jewish historian at Harvard who clearly bore no love for historic Russia, but whose scholarship to the day of his death was generally careful and restrained. Finally, Russia strikes. And for the Neocon class, this the perfect opportunity. Regime change — not for the Ukraine, but for Russia! Through a long, grinding war just like Afghanistan.
And there’s the rub. “Afghanistan” is faked history. And the failure of our leadership class to realize that is a symptom of our dilemma.
In effect, as we discovered in the “Jewish wars” of 2003–21 against Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan that we let the smart Jews go to Mossad. We kept the dumb ones. Or, perhaps, we are simply not listening to the smart ones.
A little history is in order.
First, the fake history.
According to Brzezinski, the brilliant and ambitious National Security Advisor to President Carter, he and Carter (Carter as lead pony, ZB as ringmaster) “drew” the Soviet Union into Afghanistan by secretly authorizing a transfer of $500 million in weapons funding to a group of (as always) dissident, derelict Muslims, this time called the “Mujahideen,” who were organizing in southern Afghanistan as, in effect, a representation of the Pashtun nation which extends across parts of Northern Pakistan and southern Afghanistan. It was this budget outlay, according to Professor Brzezinski, that — when detected, presumably by the ever-watchful Soviet KGB — freaked the Soviet leadership into introducing ground troops into Afghanistan 6 months later — in October of 1979. This “masterstroke” embroiled the Soviets in their “Vietnam,” leading inevitably, as US funding for the Mujahideen increased, to the ultimate dissolution of the Soviet Union under Gorbachev on that fateful December night in 1991.
As far as can be discerned from the archival records, the story appears to be quite different. The minutes of the relevant 1979 Politburo meetings at the Wilson Center Digital Archive at Princeton University (declassified in the Perestroika period of 1992) are fascinating for a number of things. They contain clear evidence of the animal aggressiveness of Yuri Andropov, then head of the KGB and the total dominance he had even then over the Politburo. They reveal — by his absence in many cases — the declining influence of the physically failing Brezhnev. One report from a preexisting Soviet military advisory group to the Politburo indicates an awareness of “American aid,” but contra to ZB’s assumptions, expresses caution about putting in Soviet troops for fear of triggering an aid increase. (See generally the Wilson Archives, Wilson Center Digital Archive.) In later documents much more central to the decision to enter, especially a personal memorandum by Andropov to Brezhnev, also from the Wilson Center Digital Archive, only the risk of the new, corrupt, oppressive, personally motivated leader is made, and the need to assist in his capture and overthrow.
Later, post troop entry, memoranda discuss at greater length the Muslim rebellion, but focus solely on aid from Pakistan, the Saudis, and China. Nowhere is the fine hand of the U.S. mentioned except for a U.S. consul in Turkey apparently making noises about establishing a “new Ottoman Caliphate,” whatever that was about.
Instead, the archive indicates Andropov strongly urged the entry of ground troops due to two factors (I) the erratic actions of the — ironically — pro Soviet leader who had just deposed — for personal reasons — the previous very pro-Soviet leader of what in each case was a highly socialist government; and (II) apparent contacts KGB agents believed that the new President was having with American interested parties, but no mention of U.S. aid to rebels in the southeast..
This summary is consistent with a history channel summary prepared by Suzanne McGee, “Why the Soviet Union Invaded Afghanistan,” which fails to note any concern about perceived US military aid to the mujahideen in making the decision to send troops to Afghanistan. See also Artur Kalandarov, The Soviet and American Wars in Afghanistan: Applying Clausewitzian Concepts to Modern Military Failure. It is also consistent with the authoritative account by Diego Cordovez and Selig S. Harrison, Out of Afghanistan: The Inside Story of the Soviet Withdrawal (Oxford University Press, 1995).
In what appears to have been a classic case of destroying the good to achieve the perfect, or, perhaps, to be fair, feeling the Soviets to be between a Scylla and Charybdis, Andropov argued for the entry of ground troops to depose the new Afghan President in conjunction with the Afghanistan military which, since the 1950’s, had historically been trained by the Russian military and had pro-Soviet inclinations. (This in contrast to Afghanistan’s civilian leadership class, which had been trained primarily in the United States.) In this respect, Andropov’s actions could be analogized to those of the Kennedy Administration in believing they had to dispose of fellow-capitalist Diem to save the anti-communist effort.
The absent but not completely somnolent Brezhnev later complained that he was told the entry would last only six months. Whether this was the actual view of Andropov or a sales pitch is not known. However, Andropov’s 1982 efforts to negotiate an extraction of all Soviet troops indicates that the incursion was viewed as short term and quickly was perceived as a mistake.
Presumably lacking the background that would have been provided by timely perusal of live Politburo minutes, however, this move must have terrified some members of the U. S. foreign policy establishment, despite the open and long information trail of the entry, made clear to the President by the CIA. See Douglas MacEachin (CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence, 1993–95), “Predicting the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan: The Intelligence Community’s Record” (Federation of American Scientists.org) . Among the terrified group was, predictably, Brzezinski, as well as a goodly number of the famous or infamous “team B” members then advising the CIA, most of whom were the same group of Neocons who have caused so much trouble over the succeeding 40 years.
Afghanistan’s western border smacks up all along a good part of Iran — both its northern and its massive southern oil fields. A quick look at the map, undoubtedly pulled out in haste that morning by National Security Council, State Department, and Langley mandarins (let’s not presume too much preexisting “area knowledge” here, folks), indicate that if the Soviets took all of — or only the western fringe of — Afghanistan, a huge shift in the balance of power would have occurred in the Middle East. The Soviet war machine would be in much closer striking range of the oil necessary to run the NATO and Japanese military operations. With a direct interior line of supply back to the USSR — no need here for a jerry-built African sub-base in Kenya to support further massive jerry-built air and sea lifts to the Persian Gulf — the Soviets would be poised like a Cobra for a master-strike at the major Western oil fields. See, e.g., James D. J. Brown, Oil Fueled: The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan (April 9, 2013).
Memories of the Soviet taking of the Carpathians in 1939, the only non-Russian European source of oil — the Polesti Fields in Romania, necessary for German Panzers,) and the Mannerheim line in the Winter War of 1940 (think Swedish chromium, necessary for German steel), preparatory to Stalin’s planned attack on Western Europe (known to U.S. elites but covered up for PR reasons) must have arisen. If not in American minds, such thinking would occur to those of weathered Wehrmacht Eastern Front veterans then running West German foreign policy, not the least of whom was former Wehrmacht Lt. Helmut Schmidt’s (Eastern Front 1941) veteran of direct front-line combat through the siege of Leningrad), then the Chancellor of West Germany (1974–1982).
Was this to be the southern prong, of which the northern would be a land invasion of Europe? In essence a large-scale replica of Stalin’s possible plan of 1940 (pre-empted by Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa)?
But, for now, the Americans were in luck. Instead of proceeding in a high concentration down the western border of Afghanistan, and attempting to cut deals with the local tribes — especially the unlikely ally of the Balochistanis, strategically located in the southwest corner of Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan (closest to the Persian Gulf and its nearby oil fields). Controlling those areas would permit them to operate in large numbers with significant offensive bases aimed on a vector pointing at the Persian Gulf oil pocket (ominously, the predominant ethnic group in western Afghanistan were the Tajiks, counted as perhaps more supportive of the socialist government than the Pashtun, although the Mujahideen consisted also to some extent of Tajiks). However, instead of going for the oil fields, the Soviets directed their troops in a fly-net, air-dropping them in all major Afghan cities, in insufficient numbers to do more than hunker down against rebel attack, especially in the useless Eastern portion — the location of Kabul, the nation’s capital.
Of course, with the benefit of hindsight guided by the Politburo minutes, we can see why. The operation probably was about limited regime change to a new leader, possibly nothing more, plus some military assistance in putting down the Muslim uprising, which increasingly took precedence in Soviet politburo memoranda after the Christmas Eve invasion and quick overthrow of the disliked Amin and his replacement by a “gentler, kinder” authoritarian leader.
Moreover, wiser “old hands” might have — and probably did at the time — also point out ferocious geographic and topographical issues in controlling any part of Afghan terrain, especially without cooperation of the local population, made more difficult of course by the ideological battle being waged against the old social network (including its religious practices) in the rural areas. Would Andropov — clearly motivated by Socialist ideology in his actions, as were the Kennedy and Johnson administrations vis-à-vis Vietnam — have been able constitutionally to cut the necessary deal with conservative Balochi and/or Tajik tribesmen who controlled the Iranian border areas to permit a permanent USSR base there without the interference that ultimately brought the Soviets down? But that is another story.
But the Americans did not know that (nor frankly can we know that today — Andropov may have had much more in mind than he let on to his beloved Comrades. See Imtiaz H. Bokhari (member of the faculty of the Staff College, Quetta Pakistan), Soviet Threat to the Gulf (Military Review, the Professional Journal of the U.S. Army, August, 1985, p. 51) (c. 1985).
Bokhari states that, “answers to the question of [whether] the Soviet march into Afghanistan is part of an overall grand strategy for reaching the gulf or whether the move essentially resulted from defensive or offensive motivation or both would greatly help in evaluating the possible consequences. While academia can afford to differ in their analyses, the success of Western policy will increasingly depend upon the ability of Western statesmen to correctly assess the root.” (Military Review, the Professional Journal of the U.S. Army, August, 1985, p. 51). He continues “the Soviet move into Afghanistan was initially interpreted by many analysts as part of a grand design aimed at world domination. [Although] over the years, the number of analysts who continue to believe this way has [by 1985] declined (Ibid., 55)…., [a] pacified Afghanistan will provide the Soviets an excellent base for operations in Pakistan. The existing communication infrastructure is adequate to support large sized operations. … Air bases in southern Afghanistan are well-sited to provide tactical air cover to ground operations right up to the Indian Ocean in the south and to the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. The terrain in Baluchistan is well-suited for large-sized mechanized operations … and [p]erhaps the Soviets will conclude that it was less dangerous — and in some ways more promising — to move south by way of Baluchistan. … With this indirect approach, Iran and the Persian Gulf would be completely outflanked. Because of their presence in Afghanistan, the Soviets have already bypassed the mountain barriers of Iran” (Ibid., p. 58. See also William E. Griffith, “The Implications of Afghanistan,” Survival (July–August 1980) and Shazia Pirzada (Research Officer at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad), “The Soviet Union and the Gulf, Capabilities and Intentions,” Strategic Studies (Autumn 1986), p. 24).
So, the US properly prepared for the worst, funding the Mujahideen as, apparently, the best force to use against the invading Russians. In that, we cannot fault Brzezinski or the Carter Administration. Some may have thought it was cleverly enmeshing the Soviets, but I imagine wiser heads viewed it as staving off a small though non negligible chance of disaster.
However, two things do appear clear:
First, unless there is classified Soviet information not yet released, it does not appear that the $500 million appropriation drew the Soviets in.
Second, if it in fact had so done, and had we not been colossally lucky that the Russian incursion appeared to be limited in scope, going to the eastern side instead of the western side, drawing the Soviets in could have been a colossal self-induced disaster for the U.S and might well have lost us the Cold War. Merely a quick perusal of Pakistan Command and Staff College faculty member Imtiaz H. Bakhari’s ominous and contemporaneous article in Military Review, cited above, is enough to see the potential dangers from the move, if successfully done, to US, European, and Japanese oil security. So, in the end, it may be good for ZB’s reputation that at some point his little fable about the $500 million will be found out. If so, his reputation may not be permanently tainted by the thought that he advised Carter to make what might have been the most disastrous decision of any American President since Roosevelt decided to have fun with a two-front war.
Crucially, most serious analysts do not believe that Afghanistan was a material contributor to the ultimate amelioration or dissolution of the USSR. The former was caused by actions taken across the Potomac, namely the negotiation by Secretary of Defense Harold Brown with Germany and France for the introduction of Pershing launchers and Tomahawk cruise nuclear missiles into German bases — thus de-facto making Germany, at least in-extremis — a nuclear power. This had a dramatic impact on Gorbachev and Scheverdnadze, leading them to become much more accommodating in their nuclear arms negotiations, which quickly resulted in the removal of not only the Tomahawk/Pershings but also the Soviet IRBMs that had prompted the introduction of the Tomahawk/Pershings in the first place. The ultimate dissolution of the USSR, as chronicled by Jack Matlock (Ambassador to Russia at the time) and most other serious commentators, involved a confluence of domestic events — not a much-delayed reaction to the loss of a minor border war. (See Matlock, Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador’s Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union, Random House, 1995).
Ukraine as the New Afghanistan
And now back to the Ukraine. The Neocons see the Ukraine as today’s Afghanistan, a war that will dissolve Russia much as Afghanistan dissolved the USSR. Since the analogy — like many such sloppily used in formulating bad foreign policy — is without foundation, it means that not only are our foreign policy elites dangerous risk-takers but also that they are egregiously ill-informed. Ukraine may have many effects, but those are unpredictable, and many of them fearsome to those interested in maintaining a peaceful world.
In effect, the Ukraine war is worse than a crime, it is a mistake. And those the words of Talleyrand, who knew something about mistakes and crimes.
The Neocons running our foreign policy have finally succeeded where Brzezinski failed — by their actions they actually have drawn the greatest nuclear power in the world into a crucial strategic area — Ukraine. ZB should be tipping his hat to them from his grave. Except, since he perhaps knew the real story and knew he was simply blowing smoke with his “dissolution” narrative, his eyes might instead be widening in terror; sort of like Churchill after the Chamberlain Polish guarantee. “Hey gentlemen, I didn’t really mean that!”
And now what.
Until this war broke out, Russia maintained, albeit with larger reserves, a miniature military compared with its former self. Its entire Army numbered about 400,000 troops. (Hitler’s at the commencement of Operation Barbarossa numbered 6 million; Stalin’s, 12–20 million.) Nothing close to what is typically viewed as necessary to launch an offensive attack on Western Europe; and, even given the pathetically reduced size (65,000) of the German Wehrmacht — now tastefully re-designated the “Bundeswehr” — it made for an unlikely base from which to launch an invasion across a continental Europe.
Moreover, Russia’s current borders basically represent a Western victory for which Hitler could only have dreamed. The current borders of Russia approximate the winter front line of 1941 and 1943 — east of the Dneipier, not quite at the Volga or the Don. This represents a huge loss by Russia of territory and hinterland for maneuver compared to its pre-1992 borders. Had Hitler (who likely knew far more, even in advance, of the difficulties of Barbarossa than he let on) been able to cut a deal with that as the new Soviet border as of December 1943, he would have accepted it instantly and would have danced Austrian waltzes all the way from the Reichschancery to Obersalzburg. It would have represented the greatest feat of arms in European history.
So this was the state of play in January, 2022. We had it all. But we wanted more.
From Russia’s point of view, the loss of the Ukraine and Belorussia, already disconcerting, would turn into a strategic catastrophe if either or both became aligned with a hostile block.
Specifically, the continent of Asia narrows dramatically as it extends westward into Europe.
A defense of Russia at the line of its current border thus is almost impossible. The defensive front, a broad plain stretching from Leningrad in the North to the Black Sea in the South, is, from a geographic point of view, a vast prairie, plain or tundra, amenable to Blitzkrieg attack from almost any direction at will. The loss of Belarus would mean the loss of the defensive part-perimeter of the Pripet Marshes. The retreat of the border from Western Ukraine to east of the Donbass meant the loss of the partial southern perimeter of the Carpathian mountain chain.
Moving the Russian border back up to the western border of Belarus and Ukraine would therefore narrow the defensive front from 1,000 miles from Rostov on Don to St. Petersburg to a mere 500 miles from the hard-to-pass northern Carpathians to Kaliningrad on the Baltic. And part of that 500 miles would be blocked by the Pripet marshes in southern Belarus and the Pinsk marshes in northern Ukraine. This has historically forced attackers into two relatively narrow lines of attack. One through the very northernmost part of Russia, on a vector direct to St. Petersburg, usually coupled with a divergent vector after the Pripets have been surpassed, down to Moscow; and the second through the narrow gap between the Carpathians and the Pripets — essentially the gap represented by the Western border of Ukraine.
These potential lines of attack represented the historic defensive lines of the Russian and Soviet empires.
The events of 1991 blew those lines apart. Unless both Bularus and Ukraine remained neutral, or pro-Russian, therefore, Russia stood mortally at risk of attack at any time from almost any vector.
But now, Putin’s modest demands for Ukrainian neutrality have been rejected by the neocon foreign policy elite. And now, fatefully, the Russian armed forces have entered this area — Ukraine — from which they stand so much to gain if they can push to the Western border, closing Western attack lines to a miniscule remnant of what they have been since 1991.
Just as in Afghanistan, we don’t know what will be the final intention. The stated intention is modest — at most a partition of the Ukraine on the Dnieper and probably less, just the Donbass. But, if Russian victories accumulate, if Russia calls up its reserves and creates a 2-million man army as the war progresses, if Putin loses patience, or gets the taste of blood in his mouth, what will they do? God knows. So the Neocons have started a war that could reclaim the pre-1991 borders of the Soviet Union. Or worse. So they better damn well win this war. But they have no capacity or understanding of how to do it. Or even why. They seem to think if they continue to promote gay rights and throw Europe into medieval night by cutting it off from half its current energy supplies (Russian gas), the West will win.
The longer this war grinds on, the more likely the Russians will massively and suddenly up the ante and go for more.
All of Ukraine?
Or — unthinkable — Poland and a defenseless Germany? As noted above, German ground forces number 65,000 — barely larger than the New York City police department. Compare this with when Germany surrendered in May, 1945 — 1.5 million men under arms. In fact, no sizable European army exists that would be close to matching the Russian army. A blitzkrieg attack to the borders of France may sound unlikely, but stranger things have happened when aggressive military leaders have seen a chance for victory. Read Caesar’s Gallic Wars. Read his Civil War. Remember Operation Barbarossa. Think of Napoleon at Tilsit. And a few years later. And remember Pearl Harbor.
So much for NATO. 70 years of Western perseverance, guided in the main by competent, if imperfect, elites, in shambles.
Back to a far worse situation than August 1939, when at least to face the Soviets we had Germany (and vice versa) and to face Japan we had China (and vice versa). We have methodically laid waste to any allied power that might have realistically defended either of our “Eastern fronts”; we have been unsatisfied with overwhelming victory; we have made enemies of the two most powerful nations on earth, other than us; we have pushed one step too far.
And we will now discover the underlying fraud of NATO and the alliance with Japan, which, on the one hand, could never, ever, conventionally defend Europe against Soviet aggression and thus relied on the threat of strategic nuclear weapons launched at the Soviets by the U.S., which threat became simply not credible once the Soviets/Russians reached nuclear parity by 1970. It will also expose the underlying fraud of our defense treaties with Japan and other Pacific rim nations, since China also has nuclear strike capability.
Now, we will face an enraged and contemptuous Russian behemoth on one side and a contemptuous and massive China on the other. Having neutered Germany and Japan, we could not contain our arrogance. This last neocon gasp may well leave us a failing Third-World Latin American-type country, slowly sinking into oblivion — no dollar as reserve currency, no empire, no manufacturing, no people capable of replicating what we had, massive numbers pouring over our borders, increased sales volumes for the rich, anarcho-tyranny for the many.
Elizabeth I of England is reported by some to have said “I do not like wars. They have uncertain outcomes.” If not, she should have.
Bearing that in mind, may this be the war that kills America, not Russia?
End this war.
[Part II will delve into Soviet and Russian military doctrine and the implications for the nuclearization of war in Europe].
Sadly for Brzezinski, the account in this book indicates that ZB’s analysis of the reasons for entry of the Soviets was completely off base, as, in the end, were much of his policies in response. Insultingly, the book received a stellar review from none other than President James Earl Carter, as well as by Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State at the time, and Lawrence Eagleburger, U.S. Secretary of State under George Bush I, and Charles William Maynes, the editor of Foreign Policy.
 In Out of Afghanistan (op. cit.), Selig Harrison tells us that as soon as 1982, Andropov was seeking ways to negotiate his way out of Afghanistan. However, the ZB successors in Team B — the Neocons in the Reagan administration — wanted to “bleed” the, so they actually resisted UN and other multilateral or bilateral attempts to negotiate a cessation of hostilities sufficient to let the Soviets withdraw without humiliation. It must be wondered at that they were willing to take the risk that Andropov might up the ante and capture the southwestern section of Afghanistan by bribery or force in order to establish bases with a clear shot at the Persian Gulf. What were they thinking?