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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)


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 Post subject: If the USSR was victorious in Afghanistan... PostPosted: 2009-01-23 07:32pm
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Sith Acolyte
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Like the "If the US wins the Vietnam War..." thread, this asks two questions.

1) What policies, strategies, and tactics will give the USSR victory in Afghanistan? A victory is defined as Afghanistan remaining a Soviet client-state, with a relatively stable government, i.e., the Taliban would not be able to overthrow the Communist Party of Afghanistan.

2) How would the presence of a relatively stable (but Communist) Afghanistan affect history? And what would this state look like? Like North Korea, impoverished but stable, i.e., the government leaders don't have to worry that the starving masses will overthrow them, as the government has absolute control over the citizens lives? Or is it impossible to stabilize Afghanistan, and the state will look like Pakistan, i.e., very reliant upon a superpower (the US in Pakistan's case, the USSR in the hypothetical Afghanistan's) while fighting a de facto civil war?

One obvious benefit of a Soviet victory (although the US wouldn't have the benefit of hindsight to recognize it as such) is no Osama bin Laden, no al-Qaida, no Taliban, at least, no Islamists capable of doing more than set off an occasional terror bomb or snipe at a relatively insignificant (Communist) government official, not when the military and intelligence services are hunting the Islamists like dogs.



Please do not make Americans fight giant monsters.

Those gun nuts do not understand the meaning of "overkill," and will simply use weapon after weapon of mass destruction (WMD) until the monster is dead, or until they run out of weapons.

They have more WMD than there are monsters for us to fight. (More insanity here.)

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 Post subject: Re: If the USSR was victorious in Afghanistan... PostPosted: 2009-01-24 05:47pm
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Well, less, no or simply ineffective help from the US may be enough for the russians to "win" the war.
Wheter this will result in a stable government or nor, i dont know.

But even if they managed to establsih a stable government, it would still be a soviet puppet,
Once this puppet lost its support, it is in GREAT danger to be overthrown.
And with the fall of the soviet union, it will have exactly zero support.

I think there are two possible outcomes:

-Warlords: Local warlords effectively reign about their territory. There may be a government in Kabul, but i doubt it will have much influence. Somewhat similar to the situation in Afghanistan today (or rather: what it would be without foreign troops).

-Taliban again. Someone has to overthrow the government. As the soviets are unlikely to wipe out the taliban movement, they are pretty good candidates for an uprising.

I doubt there would be a large impact on history - at least till 2001. The war on terror would either not be happening at all, or somewhat different.



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 Post subject: Re: If the USSR was victorious in Afghanistan... PostPosted: 2009-01-25 02:43pm
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So a Soviet victory hangs upon two things?

1) Avert the economic crisis that caused the Soviet Union's fall.

2) Minimize the amount of US aid going to the Afghan insurgents.

One may be dealt with by adopting incremental economic reforms, as China did under Deng Xiaoping. Two may be dealt with by taking advantage of the Arab oil embargo's effects on the US economy, e.g., the Soviet government secretly offering to sell oil at reduced prices to the US, and importing large numbers of American cars or loaning money to American car companies, in exchange for POTUS muting his reaction to Soviet plans in Afghanistan; this would also require similar deals with China so the Chinese government would not step in and provide aid to the mujahideen, and ideally, that the Chinese government would pressure Pakistan's to not aid the mujahideen (Chinese and Pakistani aid wouldn't be able to match the US aid not provided in this scenario, but they could provide just enough to keep the conflict going for decades and simply wait for the USSR to wear itself out and withdraw its troops from Afghanistan).



Please do not make Americans fight giant monsters.

Those gun nuts do not understand the meaning of "overkill," and will simply use weapon after weapon of mass destruction (WMD) until the monster is dead, or until they run out of weapons.

They have more WMD than there are monsters for us to fight. (More insanity here.)

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 Post subject: Re: If the USSR was victorious in Afghanistan... PostPosted: 2009-01-25 04:52pm
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Well, 1) is not required - unless your szenario is "what if the USSR would rule Afghanistan today".

The Soviet-Afghan war went from August 7, 1978 to February 15, 1989 - roughly ten years.
Some estaminates (not from experts, just general miltary people i know) say that the soviets could have won around 85 if not for US-aid of the mujaheddin. After all, there is a lot of difference between "being able to strike anywhere, anytime you want without great risk" and "having enemys able to counter every weapon you have".

2) simply requires american incompetence - the US pumped rougly 600 million $ into their aid each year. And the "support chain" involved somewhat shaky contratcs with Egypt, Pakistan and Israel (or rahter, Israel businessmen).
The original aid-plans were somewhat around 1 million a year IIRC, only including small arms and similar equipment.
This would have been orders of magnitude less efficient that the actual help the US sent - after all, the radios, Stingers and Anti-tank weaponery made the difference.

Thats appealing about the szenario - simply having one or two incompetent people in the CIA or in the egyptian/pakistan/Isrealic government would have changed the whole thing, due to lack of US-supplys.



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"Destiny and fate are for those too weak to forge their own futures. Where we are 'supposed' to be is irrelevent." - Sir Nitram
"The world owes you nothing but painful lessons" - CaptainChewbacca
"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one." - Wilhelm Stekel
"In 1969 it was easier to send a man to the Moon than to have the public accept a homosexual" - Broomstick

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 Post subject: Re: If the USSR was victorious in Afghanistan... PostPosted: 2009-01-26 03:11am
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Lack of US supplies would cripple the islamist insurgency, but it would be a long time before Afghanistan becomes politically stable. Remember, it's one of the poorest and worst places on Earth. Literally. Was so, is at the time of the Soviet attempt to modernize Afghanistan in the Soviet way, and will be so in the future as it has been shown. Barring supermassive economic aid from the USSR to Afghanistan, it's hard to imagine the place stabilizing in any fashion. That's too bad, but so it is.



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 Post subject: Re: If the USSR was victorious in Afghanistan... PostPosted: 2009-01-26 06:05am
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Stas Bush wrote:
Lack of US supplies would cripple the islamist insurgency, but it would be a long time before Afghanistan becomes politically stable. Remember, it's one of the poorest and worst places on Earth. Literally. Was so, is at the time of the Soviet attempt to modernize Afghanistan in the Soviet way, and will be so in the future as it has been shown. Barring supermassive economic aid from the USSR to Afghanistan, it's hard to imagine the place stabilizing in any fashion. That's too bad, but so it is.


Was not pre soviet afganistan actually a relatively well off country with something like 70 % literacy ?



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 Post subject: Re: If the USSR was victorious in Afghanistan... PostPosted: 2009-01-26 06:15am
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Sarevok wrote:
Was not pre soviet afganistan actually a relatively well off country with something like 70 % literacy ?

Frankly, the economic record of Daud's Afghanistan is not something I'm terribly knowledgeable about, but the fact that Daoud failed to improve the living standard of Afghanis, eventually leading to a coup, signifies that it wasn't stable in the first place. Neither was it stable during the DRA period, prompting the Soviet intervention in the first place.



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