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SUMMARY Afgantsy

In a timely and eye opening book Rodric Braithwaite examines the Russian experience in that most recent war in Afghanistan after Alexander's conuests and the many British imperial wars and skirmishes Largely basing his account on Russian sources and interviews he shows the war through the eyes of the Russians themselves politicians officers sol. Don t advance on Moscow is the first rule of warfare according to the late Bernard Montgomery a British Field Marshal and victory of the Battle of El Alamein The second is don t go fighting with your land army on the mainland of Asia The time has come I think to reverse the order here history has only two examples of failure before Moscow compared with the many examples of disaster in Asia of disasters in particular in Afghanistan the charnel house of empireI once wrote that it should be compulsory for ever new incumbent of the White House to read The uiet American the novel by Graham Greene set in Vietnam during the last days of the French occupation Now another book has been published which should be compulsory reading for every western leader every neo con and every moral imperialist Afgantsy the Russians in Afghanistan 1979 1989 by Rodric Braithwaite Sadly it has come ten years too late Actually I have a slight ualification here a point I will come to a little later onThere are few better ualified to tell the story of the tragic involvement of the old Soviet Union in Afghanistan than Sir Rodric Braithwaite once British ambassador to Moscow He begins with an intimate knowledge of Russia the Russian people and the Russian sources He also writes with understanding and sympathy for the veterans of this hopeless conflict the Afgantsy of the title who fought and suffered under the most appalling circumstances often caught between the ruthlessness of the enemy and the negligent indifference of their own commanders Put out of your mind the Red Army of 1943 to 1945 Think rather of the Imperial Army of 1914 to 1917 Braithwaite s has a tale to unfold whose lightest word harrows up the blood It s a story of suffering the suffering of the ordinary Russian soldiers mostly ill educated conscripts some 15000 of whom lost their lives the suffering of the ordinary people of Afghanistan over a million of whom lost theirs often in the most dreadful circumstances It s also a story of incompetence the political incompetence of the Kremlin sinking into geriatric senescence and the military incompetence of the Russian central command The political and strategic incompetence goes wider goes so far as Washington to an administration so anxious to avenge the humiliation of Vietnam that it was willing to offer support to the most antediluvian and obscurantist forces the mujahideen that was to morph into al aeda and the Taliban As late as 1998 ten years after the conflict ended Zbigniew Bzrezinski former security advisor to President Jimmy Carter continued to justify American support for the insurgents What is important in the history of the world The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet Empire Some stirred up Muslims or the liberation of central Europe and the end of the Cold WarHere we have the same kind of blindness that led Francis Fukuyama to announce the end of history just before history leapt up and bit him and Bzrezinski on the arse It s the blindness that caused Congressman Charles Wilson to describe Jalaluddin Haani the mujahideen commander as goodness personified This incarnation of goodness is now number three on America s most wanted list The Soviet road to hell was paved with good intentions Although reluctant to intervene in the affairs of the country contrary to Western perceptions at the time they came hoping to make a difference to bring this medieval society into the modern age But the Afghans in the main have only ever wanted one thing to be left alone The British know this or should know this after some fairly disastrous interventions in the nineteenth century In fact soon after the Soviet invasion the Foreign Office helpfully provided the deputy Soviet foreign minister with an account of past involvements only to be told that this time it will be different But it wasn t it never could be Afghanistan is easy to occupy but impossible to hold a lesson that needs to be repeated time and again the lesson that the Soviets ignored the lesson that George Bush and Tony Blair also ignored There might be some excuse for Bush smarting in the aftermath of 911 there is none for Blair given the Foreign Office warning given our history So hence my ualification above even in Afgantsy had been published years earlier it is doubtful if it would have made any difference to the strategic blindness of this stupid man We are now where we are where the Soviets once were the wolf is being held by the earsjust How to let go that s the problem The Russians wanted out years before their final exit The problem was always to do so while retaining a degree of credibility the nightmare beueathed to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 Obama and Cameron would do well to pay heed to this brilliant and superbly researched account of a multi faceted tragedy In the end Afghanistan will be left to its own devices at a waste of so many lives and so much effort History speaks it s such a pity that we fail to listen

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Afgantsy

Diers advisers journalist women As former ambassador to Moscow Rodric Braithwaite brings his uniue insights to the Soviet war in Afghanistan The story has been distorted not only by Cold War propaganda but also by the myths of the nineteenth century Great Game It moves from the high politics of the Kremlin to the lonely Russian conscripts in is. A fascinating and educational read

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Olated mountain outposts The parallels with Afghanistan today speak for themselves 'A superb achievement of narrative history sensitive writing and exciting fresh research' so wrote Simon Sebag Montefiore about Rodric Braithwaite's bestseller Moscow But those words and many others of praise that were given it could eually apply to his new book.. Spoiler alert The Soviet Politburo was not keen to get directly involved with Afghanistan s political turmoil other than supporting the pro communist government who took over the country But got involved they did and Afghanistan became yet another piece in the Cold War chessboard Afgantsy is about the Russian soldier engineer translator nurse who served in that conflict and the legacy they left behind rise of the Taliban yet another occupation this time by the United States Will that country ever find peace


10 thoughts on “Afgantsy

  1. says:

    “Don’t advance on Moscow” is the first rule of warfare according to the late Bernard Montgomery a British Field Marshal and victory of the Battle of El Alamein The second is don’t go fighting with your land army on the mainland of As

  2. says:

    The gist of this history occurs when Ambassador Braithwaite closes Chapter Nine by summarizing the Soviet military effort in Afghanistan “And so the Russians discovered as other armies have discovered in Afghanistan befo

  3. says:

    Authoritative book on the Russian Afghan intervention from the Russian perspective The author compares this war with French Algerian American Vietnamese French Vietnamese interventions The Russians tried to implement their well tried developmental model in Afghanistan with a lot of determination and I think they might have been successful if they had been given enough time by the Americans But the Americans wanted to g

  4. says:

    Nuanced and sophisticated; this is such a wh

  5. says:

    An outstanding and highly readable account of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan Written by someone familiar with the USSR and Russia this book does not have the feel of many which touch the subject as having a particular partisan agenda to pursu

  6. says:

    A fascinating and educational read

  7. says:

    The author of this book was the British ambassador to the USSR and then the Russian Federation but I highly appreciate his objective approach throughout the book which is about the causes of Soviet involvement in

  8. says:

    Spoiler alert The Soviet Politburo was not keen to get directly involved with Afghanistan's political turmoil other than supporting t

  9. says:

    I was a senior in high school when the USSR invaded Afghanistan in December 1979 Shortly thereafter the US boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and President Jimmy Carter reinstated Selective Service registration My mother wrote a letter of protest and actually received a reply from the White House Three years later when I was a junior in college majoring in journalism the Soviets were bogged down in Afghanista

  10. says:

    Afgantsy is a good book to read about those Russian soldiers who have served in Afghanistn during the former USSR's occupation of the country There are a few accounts that I didn't know before like the death of the first Communist President Noor Mohammad Taraki the coup d'état against Hafizullah Amin etc By reading this book one