November 11, 2009
On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the US is losing the war in Afghanistan, a country that indirectly contributed to the break-up of the USSR. Where coalition forces today battle the Taliban and al Qaeda, in the 1980s, the Soviets fought the Mujahedeen — a Muslim army of volunteers that Moscow called terrorists. Fighting the anti-Soviet Jihad, a brutal war funded by the CIA and the Saudis, became too costly for bankrupt Moscow. In a painful and humiliating withdrawal, the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan in February 1989, just a few months before the implosion of the Soviet System. Without that defeat we might not be celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the end of the Cold War or a unified Europe today. Remarkably, the central Asian country of Afghanistan seems once again to be shaping our future.
It is paradoxical that the graveyard of one superpower should become a battlefield for the other. It is even more ironic that the US, the very nation that used the Mujahedeen and this deeply hostile country to defeat the Soviet Union, should now have fallen victim to this current ordeal.