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The Fateful Pebble: Afghanistan's Role in the Fall of the Soviet…

von Anthony Arnold

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"The Fateful Pebble explores the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan as a catalyst that helped trigger the first extraordinary political event of the 20th century, the self-generated collapse of the Soviet empire. At the dawn of the 1980s decade, the Soviet military machine seemed invincible and Moscow's expansionist designs unswervable. Intermediate-range SS-20 missiles were intimidating Western Europe, the Soviet ICBM force was at least the equal of America's, and, with the invasion of Afghanistan at the end of 1979, the Kremlin showed its willingness to project its power directly into a neighboring nonaligned country. But nearly ten years later, the last Soviet army regular units withdrew into Central Asia without ever having conquered the elusive Afghan resistance fighters who had spontaneously risen up against them. Less than three years after that retreat, the Soviet Union itself had ceased to exist." "The early chapters provide unique perceptions of Russian and Afghan psychology, a historical view of how military defeat had led to earlier Russian domestic upheavals, and a description of how the Communist Party apparat, the Soviet military establishment, and the KGB had successfully defended Moscow's empire in the past." "The details of the consecutive failure of each of these institutions to solve Moscow's "Afghanistan problem" show how the authority of each was seriously undermined at home and abroad. Each, as it lost its prestige with the public and its own middle-grade officers. Internally splintered, no longer mutually supportive, and resting on an eroding foundation of war-weakened public confidence, eventually the three institutions collapsed, together with the regime they supported. The book illustrates how the KGB in particular suffered defeat because it came to believe its own disinformation. In the end, the implosion of the vast false-front "Potemkin village" that had been the Soviet Union can be ascribed in large part to the cruel truths of the Afghan war."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (mehr)
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"The Fateful Pebble explores the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan as a catalyst that helped trigger the first extraordinary political event of the 20th century, the self-generated collapse of the Soviet empire. At the dawn of the 1980s decade, the Soviet military machine seemed invincible and Moscow's expansionist designs unswervable. Intermediate-range SS-20 missiles were intimidating Western Europe, the Soviet ICBM force was at least the equal of America's, and, with the invasion of Afghanistan at the end of 1979, the Kremlin showed its willingness to project its power directly into a neighboring nonaligned country. But nearly ten years later, the last Soviet army regular units withdrew into Central Asia without ever having conquered the elusive Afghan resistance fighters who had spontaneously risen up against them. Less than three years after that retreat, the Soviet Union itself had ceased to exist." "The early chapters provide unique perceptions of Russian and Afghan psychology, a historical view of how military defeat had led to earlier Russian domestic upheavals, and a description of how the Communist Party apparat, the Soviet military establishment, and the KGB had successfully defended Moscow's empire in the past." "The details of the consecutive failure of each of these institutions to solve Moscow's "Afghanistan problem" show how the authority of each was seriously undermined at home and abroad. Each, as it lost its prestige with the public and its own middle-grade officers. Internally splintered, no longer mutually supportive, and resting on an eroding foundation of war-weakened public confidence, eventually the three institutions collapsed, together with the regime they supported. The book illustrates how the KGB in particular suffered defeat because it came to believe its own disinformation. In the end, the implosion of the vast false-front "Potemkin village" that had been the Soviet Union can be ascribed in large part to the cruel truths of the Afghan war."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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