Gentlemen, you can't fight here! This is the War Room!
September 14, 2009 11:00 AM   Subscribe

1995 Contractor Study Finds that U.S. Analysts Exaggerated Soviet Aggressiveness and Understated Moscow's Fears of a U.S. First Strike. During a 1972 command post exercise, leaders of the Kremlin listened to a briefing on the results of a hypothetical war with the United States. A U.S. attack would kill 80 million Soviet citizens and destroy 85 percent of the country's industrial capacity. According to the recollections of a Soviet general who was present, General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev "trembled" when he was asked to push a button, asking Soviet defense minister Grechko "this is definitely an exercise?" This story appears in a recently released two-volume study on Soviet Intentions, 1965-1985, prepared in 1995 by the Pentagon contractor BDM Corporation, and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive.

Based on an extraordinarily revealing series of interviews with former senior Soviet defense officials--"unhappy Cold Warriors"--during the final days of the Soviet Union, the BDM study puts Soviet nuclear policy in a fresh light by highlighting Soviet leaders' recognition of the catastrophe of nuclear conflict, even while they supported preparations for fighting an unsurvivable war.
posted by DreamerFi (42 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I like the headline:

Previously Classified Interviews with Former Soviet Officials Reveal U.S. Strategic Intelligence Failure Over Decades

It's not a failure if one intentionally overstates a threat to justify lining defense contractors/political contributors' pockets.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:25 AM on September 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


The government lied to us? Wow, that's certainly unprecedented.
posted by tommasz at 11:28 AM on September 14, 2009


Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.
posted by Tacodog at 11:31 AM on September 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


This was the premise of Le Carre's "The Russia House". In essence the Soviets exaggerated their military capacity and effectiveness in hopes of deterring attack, and the Western intelligence agencies believed them because doing otherwise would end the cold war and puts then out of business.
posted by chrchr at 11:32 AM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Of course he trembled at the idea of starting a global nuclear war, even if it was just an exercise. What the hell? Did Americans really think the soviet leadership was emperor fucking Palpatine or something?
posted by Authorized User at 11:36 AM on September 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


The government lied to us? Wow, that's certainly unprecedented.

No. The government was wrong. That's different but equally unsurprising.
posted by Authorized User at 11:37 AM on September 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


That, or in a world of saber-rattling, we were being risk adverse.
posted by dios at 11:39 AM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Where I think this study errs is in giving the idea that somehow we did not know Soviet strategic doctrine was essentially defensive in nature.

In Makers of Modern Strategy, a many-times updated book for professionals in the political science, strategic studies and history fields, the 1986 chapter on post-war Soviet strategy asserted that Soviet strategic thought relied on a strategic defensive with an operational offensive element. That is, the Russian's would wait until attacked and then launch their own conventional invasion of Western Europe.

The author of that study was Condoleezza Rice.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:47 AM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


And now you know... [pregnant pause] the rest of the story.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:50 AM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of the admission a few back that "there were consistent overestimates of the threat every year from 1978 to 1985."
posted by Abiezer at 11:52 AM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess the Russians love their children too.
posted by blenderfish at 11:52 AM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Did Americans really think the soviet leadership was emperor fucking Palpatine or something?

Some indeed did.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:57 AM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I hope you realize that any efforts to get history 'right' are just going to be dismissed as 'Historical Revisionism' by those who refuse any challenge to their World Views.
posted by wendell at 11:59 AM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Did Americans really think the soviet leadership was emperor fucking Palpatine or something?

Of course. As with the scary scary muslims, anybody who has interests counter to those of western business interests must simply be insane, driven by nothing but pure evil. Even these guys have more character depth.
posted by HotPants at 12:05 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The US exaggerated the threat of the Soviet Union throughout the entire Cold War. The "bomber gap" of the mid-1950s and the "missile gap" of the early 1960s are early examples.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:05 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


During the early 1980s, according to the interviews, Fidel Castro recommended to the Kremlin a harder line against Washington, even suggesting the possibility of nuclear strikes. The pressure stopped after Soviet officials gave Castro a briefing on the ecological impact on Cuba of nuclear strikes on the United States.

Hah! The occasional bit of humor lurks in even such deadly serious analysis.

The assumption of the imperialist camp's inherent aggressiveness led to a situation where the Soviet leadership was trying to avoid war at all costs, but in the event of an actual U.S./NATO attack was willing to use any weapons in their possession. This scenario would turn any European conflict involving the use of tactical nuclear weapons into a full-blown nuclear exchange. Ironically, in the minds of the Soviet leaders this created a stronger deterrence because they were aware that their Western counterparts thought along the same lines.

You know, as much as everyone hated the idea of MAD, it really did work. Nobody used even little nuclear bombs during the Cold War, and Bush was making noises about using tactical nuke bunker-busters against terrorists just a few years ago. That would have been unthinkable during the Cold War.

They say that it was 'ironic', but I don't think it's ironic if it works.

From satellite photography, the Soviets observed that U.S. missile silos were "relatively poorly protected by overhed cover and grouped rather close to each other and to the cluster's launch control center." The vulnerability of U.S. ICBM deployments convinced the high command that the ICBM "fields were first-strike weapons."

That's a really interesting observation. When we first started to build our launch fields, they were in the Midwest, which was out of the Soviet ICBM range at the time. I gather we must have just continued to build them in that same pattern. Why change it if it seems to be working? And the fact that the launch facilities were unprotected made them MORE threatening to the Soviet Union, not less.

Moreover, defense leaders put greater emphasis on launch-on-warning of attack, although preemption remained an option until Brezhnev renounced it in 1980.

That reduced tensions dramatically, as I recall. That's part of why the Bush doctrine of preemptive attacks, anywhere, against anyone we don't like is so damn dangerous. It encourages everyone to arm themselves to the teeth, in case they become unpopular with either the American government or large American corporations.
posted by Malor at 12:06 PM on September 14, 2009


The more things change, the more they stay the same.

There is a special pit in hell for Donald Rumsfeld.
posted by chicxulub at 12:12 PM on September 14, 2009


You know, as much as everyone hated the idea of MAD, it really did work. Nobody used even little nuclear bombs during the Cold War, and Bush was making noises about using tactical nuke bunker-busters against terrorists just a few years ago. That would have been unthinkable during the Cold War.

Yeah, but the tradeoff was how much spent on weapons which never got used, and how much anxiety on the part of the general populace?

Seriously, I don't know a single person my age that just flat-out assumed that nuclear war definitely would happen within their lifetime, and knew this from the time they were kids. Growing up with that in the back of your brain has got to do something to you -- in fact, you know how many people in their 30's and 40's who seem paranoiacally afraid of "Commies" or "terrorists" or whatever international boogeyman is out there? I wonder if that paranoia didn't start in the Cold War, when those people were 8 or 9 and hearing about nuclear bombs for the first time, like I did.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:16 PM on September 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


Crap: I don't know a single person my age that DIDN'T just flat-out assume that nuclear war would happen within their lifetime.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:16 PM on September 14, 2009


I'm sorry, I don't actually see where the report finds that analysts "Exaggerated Soviet Aggressiveness and Understated Moscow's Fears of a U.S. First Strike." Yes they use that as their subtitle. But from what I see, analysts overestimated aggressiveness and underestimated fears. That's not the same thing.
posted by FuManchu at 12:23 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Gwynne Dyer, in his book War, puts an interesting spin on the evolution of the U.S.'s nuclear strategy as it came out of the RAND think tank. Short version: they realized early on that a few hundred nuclear bombs provided sufficient deterrent for MAD to kick in. But then the nuclear war analysts were out of work. So they started spinning fantasies about 'controlled escalation' and 'missile gaps' and various scenarios in which nuclear war was different than a global holocaust, and possibly 'winnable'.

In short, the madness of nuclear weapons during the cold war was driven by a bunch of desk jockeys at a think tank who had to publish or perish. This was the conclusion of one of those analysts interviewed by Dyer.
posted by fatbird at 12:23 PM on September 14, 2009


Did Americans really think the soviet leadership was emperor fucking Palpatine or something?

Yup. I'm guessing you never heard Reagan talk about the "evil empire." The "axis of evil" was just the sequel.
posted by shetterly at 12:29 PM on September 14, 2009


Speaking as someone who studies Russian military, the FOIA and US intelligence releases have usually been suspiciously empty regarding detailed aspects of Soviet force structure during the Cold War. About the best that's out there right now is the CIA FOIA archives, and those documents are very devoid of detail. I've found it extremely difficult to crosscheck facts about basic Cold War history except for the Cuban missile crisis and anecdotes about the wheelings and dealings of Soviet heads of state. Most of what's been released about the USSR, even in recent years, is nothing but summaries and highly abstracted analyses. For example with the bomber gap, it's always mentioned that the U-2 detected bombers at Saratov Engels and estimates were extrapolated to bombers at other bases, but the "other" bases are never explained in declassified papers.

Back in the 1990s when I was in the military I had several opportunities to see intelligence surveys of foreign forces, and I've become convinced there is a metric fuckton of information about the Cold War that has never been declassified or released under FOIA programs. Want to know the details of the KAL 007 shootdown? Good luck. Even 1950s era documents are not available, except for vague collections of analyses in the CIA holdings. I'm starting to think it will take a congressional investigation to unlock some of the real history of the Cold War, or at least some progressive presidential oversight. I'm convinced there are amazing stories and interesting perspectives about the Cold War that have yet to see the light of day, if ever.
posted by crapmatic at 12:53 PM on September 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


chicxulub: "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

... the ramifications of an American defeat in Vietnam Afghanistan would not only be a devastating setback for our nation in what is now the central front in the global war on communism terror, but would inevitably further destabilize neighboring Indochina nuclear Pakistan. ... We have reached a seminal moment in our struggle against communist aggression violent Islamist extremism, and we must commit the "decisive force" that Gen. Westmoreland McChrystal tells us carries the least risk of failure. - Lindsey Graham, Joseph I. Lieberman and John McCain
posted by Joe Beese at 1:25 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but the tradeoff was how much spent on weapons which never got used, and how much anxiety on the part of the general populace?

That's very true. It had an enormous pricetag, and not just monetary. Maybe, even probably, it didn't need to be that high. But it DID work. It almost certainly wasn't the best solution, but it was A solution, and we should remember that.

For all their bloviating and brinksmanship, the Cold Warriors didn't use any nuclear weapons after WW2. Now that the Cold War is over, we've gotten at least somewhat closer to using them in anger again. That fear wasn't all bad.
posted by Malor at 1:52 PM on September 14, 2009


When I was in the sixth grade, in the mid-80s, our teacher had us do "USSR week." During that week, we simulated life in a contemporary Soviet classroom. We weren't allowed to sit without permission. We weren't ever allowed to laugh. We weren't allowed to ask questions. During recess, while all the other classes were out being kids, were were required to do calisthenics. That especially was no fun, as we were all pretty much ridiculed by the other kids the whole time.

The teacher went out of her way to be unhappy: no smiling, no laughing, everything very stern. Every infraction was severely punished: talking out of turn got you five minutes in a closet, the first time. Corporal punishments (swats w/ a paddle) were routine.

The classroom was dead silent, all the time, but not in that conducive-to-study way (although I'm sure my teacher dug it.)

This was more like boot camp than anything else, and while it wasn't hard or anything, it wasn't fun. I think that was supposed to be the point: here in America, we were lucky to live the way we did. But even at the ripe old age of 12, I wondered how in the hell my teacher could possibly know what school was actually like in the USSR, and also I very much doubted that kids living under a communist regime were little automatons who never cut up like every kid does. The whole thing was well-meant but utter bullshit, stemming from fears that the people on the other side of the world were just inhuman, which is just a terrible thing to teach to kids.
posted by nushustu at 1:55 PM on September 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


Did Americans really think the soviet leadership was emperor fucking Palpatine or something?

They elected Reagan for chrissakes. What do you expect?
posted by rodgerd at 2:24 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


“It's not a failure if one intentionally overstates a threat to justify lining defense contractors/political contributors' pockets.”

True. No quibble with this at all. But the Soviet party/military cooperation was strained later on and there’s little question the military was pretty full on ‘go’ with conventional weaponry. And so you had all the tension with Gorby and the eventual coup.

You had about 1/4 of the Soviet population involved in defense industry. For as much as the U.S. spent (and still spends) on defense, that’s a staggering figure. Not to mention their proxy wars, etc. The nuclear stuff – bit of a different story.

I think the big difference was, for us, the military saber rattling = money. For a communist military, it was about prestige.
Easy to misjudge (and/or overtly exploit). But you had some validity in the game theory end of it. It’s just that you can get so bound up in evading what you think the other guy is doing you get off your own game.

The whole ‘Crazy Ivan’ thing, speaking tactically. I mean, hell, back in 1970 off the coast of Petropavlovsk the Black Lila and the USS Tautog did slam into each other.
What I think is instructive in looking at the Soviets (looking at our flaws – obvious) is the case with Stanislav Petrov. Here’s a guy who essentially ‘went against doctrine’ and didn’t fire his missles when he ostensibly should have. But everyone was cool with it. Everyone said he acted responsibly and so – how strict and nervous could Soviet nuclear doctrine have been?

On the other hand – he didn’t hand in his paperwork on time because the missile dectection system was buggy so he didn’t want to embarrass command and the high ranking party scientists (which would have been career suicide), so it kind of was a catch-22.

They’re dangerous because they’re unpredictable, but they’re not unpredictable because they’re crazy (as these reports show), they’re unpredictable because if some guy screws up or does well there’s this whole (unseeable from the outside) game of prestige everyone has to play before anything rational gets done.

Which, yeah, would really piss off anyone trying to figure out what’s actually going on inside the Soviet borders. And on top of that you have assheads on your side trying to make a buck off peddling weapons for armageddon.

Really, probably the only reason we survived the cold war was because there wasn’t any money or prestige in ending the world. (Honey! I just made a $3 million dollar bonus, so I got a great place for us in this rainless valley in Antarctica!)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:32 PM on September 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I remember reading awhile back about how we had an overblown idea of Soviet capability and armament from the very start because we were getting a lot of our information about the USSR's military from German forces who'd been eager to surrender to us in the end of the war because they were terrified to surrender to the Soviets. We might potentially put them in POW camps or try them for war crimes, but the Soviets hated the Germans and their troops were more likely to simply shoot them and leave them to rot. So basically we had a bunch of German soldiers who were a) terrified of the USSR and b) eager to tell the Americans whatever we wanted to hear, neither of which is conducive to accurate intel gathering.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:05 PM on September 14, 2009


What? I thought we all knew this a self-evident. At least, those of us growing up in the '60s did.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:34 PM on September 14, 2009


Yes, the soviets were scared to death of US agressiveness. News at 11.
posted by vivelame at 3:39 PM on September 14, 2009


+g where warranted.
posted by vivelame at 3:39 PM on September 14, 2009


Doesn't this study also imply that "Soviet Analysts Exaggerated US Aggressiveness"??
posted by FuManchu at 3:48 PM on September 14, 2009


Doesn't this study also imply that "Soviet Analysts Exaggerated US Aggressiveness"??

Panama, Vietnam, Grenada, Chile, Cambodia... yeah, I can't understand why anyone might be concerned about US aggression.
posted by rodgerd at 4:02 PM on September 14, 2009


Panama, Vietnam, Grenada, Chile, Cambodia... yeah, I can't understand why anyone might be concerned about US aggression.

Cause the Soviets never invaded anyone....

The subject was US aggression towards the USSR, and it seems pretty clear that both sides thought the other was more crazy and trigger-happy than they actually were. Possibly, as some upthread have mentioned, this may have actually helped deter a nuclear exchange.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:04 PM on September 14, 2009


I think it is, and should always have been, pretty obvious that both sides were scared shitless of each other. And screwed up as it was, Mutually Assured Destruction did work, in the sense that there are still things living on Earth besides huge mutant cockroaches.

I'm sure there was some element of intentional exaggeration and demonization of the enemy at some point, on both sides. But estimates are never 100% correct, and it does make sense to err on the safe side (thinking the enemy is more dangerous than he is), especially in light of the stakes.

As for the War on Terror metaphors, while clever (a tiny little bit) I don't they work at all. The Soviets had the very real capacity to either invade huge parts of the world by conventional means, or destroy the whole world by nuclear means. Terrorism, almost by definition, is the act of an enemy who lacks the power to pose a serious threat by any kind of normal warfare.

The real irony of the Bush years, for me, is that for all the hollow "national security" posturing, he actually aligned himself *with* Putin, a man who still had a ton of nuclear and conventional weapons, was untrustworthy at best, and posed a very real security threat orders of magnitude beyond anything presented by bin Laden.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:13 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


>> Did Americans really think the soviet leadership was emperor fucking Palpatine or something?

Palpatine had some tiny remnant of human qualms even at his worst. A better reference would be Sauron and his soulless legions of orcs.

However, pick a nation -- any nation -- and chances are quite good Americans at some point in their history were conditioned to regard them as the sub-human embodiment of evil.
posted by Brosef K at 6:10 PM on September 14, 2009


BTW, the United States has VERY seriously considered using nuclear weapons on a number of occasions not widely known by the general public.

Nixon and Kissinger (and LBJ) wanted quite badly to either destroy the dike and irrigation system in Southeast Asia which would lead to the drowning and starvation of additional millions of Southeast Asians, but Nixon also mused about just nuking Vietnam and calling it a day. In each case, LBJ and Nixon's contemplation, it boiled down to the domestic reaction in a nation already on the verge of outright insurrection which peaked in 1968. If Nixon thought the American public would have supported nuclear weapons against Vietnam, there would be no Vietnam today.

Daniel Ellsberg-Nixon/Bush wanted to Nuke Vietnam/Irag 2-2 (YouTube)

In the Korean War...

>> On 5 April 1950, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) issued orders for the retaliatory atomic-bombing of Manchurian PRC military bases, if either their armies crossed into Korea or if PRC or KPA bombers attacked Korea from there. The President ordered transferred nine Mark-IV nuclear capsules “to the Air Force’s Ninth Bomb Group, the designated carrier of the weapons ... [and] signed an order to use them against Chinese and Korean targets”—which he never transmitted, having out-witted the JCS to agreeing to sack the insubordinate Soldier MacArthur (announced 10 April 1950), and because neither the PRC nor USSR likewise escalated the war.

Korean War (Wikipedia)

In a program, known as Operation Chariot, implemented in some capacities by the AEC and Edward Teller, the Army Corps of Engineers intended to detonate nuclear weapons to create artificial harbors for military and commercial (oil) facilities in the state of Alaska.

>> Project Chariot was a 1958 US Atomic Energy Commission proposal to construct an artificial harbor at Cape Thompson on the North Slope of the U.S. state of Alaska by burying and detonating a string of nuclear devices.

Operation Chariot (1958) (Wikipedia)

In each case, it was public pressure that stayed their hands.

When you consider, for example, that Kruschev backed down against Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, because he was not insane enough to "push the button," but reports suggest that Kennedy WAS prepared to destroy the Soviet Union and its 300,000,000 human lives, the United States looks like a raging, drunken lunatic against the restraint of the Soviet leadership.

One final note, not related to nuclear weapons, but relevant to the Soviet Union. WW II was won at Stalingrad. If not for the Soviet Union, the Allies would not have defeated the Axis powers. The United States (and its entertainment industry) REALLY likes to work the beacon-on-a-hill Greatest Generation-defeats-Hitler theme, but the dirty, filthy, godless communists got the planet out of that mess. And much of the assumptions of these conservatives, programmed on the mythology of the Cold War still operate off of those duck-and-cover, Red Dawn false assumptions.

Americans experienced the least of the horrors of that war. The Soviets lost 23,000,000 people and the battle was waged on their home soil (26,000,000 counting the satellite nations of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania). 14% of their population was killed, more than any other nation by far. Millions more maimed and crippled. Another thing not mentioned is that the Soviet Union lost the most citizens to the Holocaust.

If you want to see just a slice of the horror, THIS is an exceptional (and disturbing) film:

Come and See (1985)

Really, it embarrasses movies like Saving Private Ryan.

The United States exists at all to this day because of the Soviet Union (ironic, ain't it) and France (Revolutionary War) who supplied, troops, weapons, and ships against the British. Americans like to kick dirt on their allies and crow about their mighty prowess as defenders of all that is righteous and good.

Shame.
posted by Brosef K at 6:54 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


If Nixon thought the American public would have supported nuclear weapons against Vietnam, there would be no Vietnam today.

From this article on Nixon and Vietnam, there's no indication that the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam was ever taken seriously. It looks like the thought was raised on a few occasions, but quickly shot down.

Now, they explicitly wanted North Vietnam to think they might use nukes, part of their 'madman theory', but there don't appear to have been any serious plans to that effect.

Duck Hook itself was aborted because of the Vietnam-era protests, but even if it had gone ahead, there seems to be little evidence that it would have been anything other than conventional warfare.
posted by Malor at 7:25 PM on September 14, 2009


nushustu wrote: When I was in the sixth grade, in the mid-80s, our teacher had us do "USSR week." During that week, we simulated life in a contemporary Soviet classroom. We weren't allowed to sit without permission. We weren't ever allowed to laugh. We weren't allowed to ask questions. During recess, while all the other classes were out being kids, were were required to do calisthenics. That especially was no fun, as we were all pretty much ridiculed by the other kids the whole time.

The teacher went out of her way to be unhappy: no smiling, no laughing, everything very stern. Every infraction was severely punished: talking out of turn got you five minutes in a closet, the first time. Corporal punishments (swats w/ a paddle) were routine.


Sounds like Catholic school.
posted by wierdo at 11:12 PM on September 14, 2009


America found itself in a really good position after WWII and has somehow deluded itself into thinking that things have always been as they were during that period and that we deserve for them to always continue that way.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:03 AM on September 15, 2009


The Soviet Union was a horrific and brutally oppressive dictatorship, but they weren't out to take over the world.

A lot of Soviet bluster and posturing was largely due to insecurity caused by massive invasions of Russia by Napoleon in 1812 and Hitler in 1841 and the Soviet Union's huge losses in World War II. Also, the Americans, British, Czechs, French, Greeks, Japanese, and Poles all intervened in the Russian Civil War by each sending at least 12,000 troops against the Reds.

After World War II the Soviets established a buffer zone of puppet satellite states (the Eastern Bloc) in the area that they took over while conquering Nazi Germany, in violation of their agreements at the Yalta Conference. The Warsaw Pact countries were all within where the Eastern Front was when the war in Europe ended in May 1945. (The Warsaw Pact was established in May 1955 in response to West Germany joining NATO in October 1954. NATO was established in April 1949.) Basically, both the Soviet Union and the US set up shop where the armies were when the war ended, which explains the partition of Korea. The US still has troops in Germany, Japan, and Korea, although they aren't occupation forces.

The Soviet-engineered Czechoslovak coup d'état in February 1948 transformed the US approach from economic containment to military escalation and more direct confrontation, which was exacerbated by the Soviet blockade of Berlin from June 1948 to May 1949. (There was never an official agreement to allow road and rail traffic through the Soviet-occupied zone into Berlin.)

The Soviets crushed uprisings in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. (Less brutally, the US invaded uncooperative former client states Panama and Iraq. The military dictatorships run by Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein were fine as long as they were our sons-of-bitches.) The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in response to covert US support of the mujahideen insurgency and by invitation of the puppet Communist government.

Kruschev backed down against Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis

After the US backed a a failed invasion of Cuba in April 1961, installed Jupiter IRBMs in Turkey beginning in 1961, launched an economic embargo of Cuba in February 1962, and continued covert operations against Cuba, the Soviets put nuclear missiles in Cuba in September 1962 and sparked the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Which was resolved when the US agreed to remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey in exchange for the Soviets removing their missiles from Cuba.)
posted by kirkaracha at 12:13 PM on September 15, 2009


« Older Toxic Waters: A series about the worsening polluti...  |  Demanding that you alone be he... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments