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Did Communism Keep Us Blinded To Terrorism?

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  • Did Communism Keep Us Blinded To Terrorism?

    Do you believe that Communism and the Soviet Union kept us blinded to the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan during the 1980s(especially during the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan).

    I believe it did because we were giving supplies to Osama Bin Laden and every other Afghan that fought the Russians because we were so focused on giving the Russians a Vietnam-like war and stopping the spread of Communism.
    24
    Yes
    33.33%
    8
    No
    66.67%
    16
    Last edited by TankBrigade; 23 Aug 07, 08:47.
    "Let arms yield rank to the toga of peace." -Cicero

    "People complain about official corruption, but that's nothing compared with our criminal waste of time." -From Ikiru

  • #2
    I think there is a lot of truth to that. Whilst we were a bit pre-occupied with Russians I think the rise of arab nationalism ( iranian revolution for example) was ignored. We viewed the the soviet afghan war as part of the cold war, for people like bin laden and a lot of foreign fighters (this extended to Bosnia in the 90's) in afghaanistan it was the first major campaign in the jihad against the infidel invading muslim lands. I suspect they felt they beat one infidel superpower (albeit with the help of another infidel superpower) why not take down another one.

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    • #3
      No, I don't think so.

      First, terrorism back then was a lot milder - in retrospect, of course. (The type of terrorism nowadays aim to kill hundreds and thousands.) It's a more targeted and selective.

      Second, Communism IS the main threat. Even if it was never likely that the Soviets and NATO would come to blows in the plains of Germany, the main threat to western interests were Communist insurgencies all over the world. That had to be contained, for otherwise, there was a risk the Communists could win by the back door. The west successfully contained the threat, and the natural superiority of capitalism and democracy overwhelmed the Communists.

      Third, the main confrontation is always between the Soviet Union and the US. There might not have been blows exchanged, but it's because the two sides know that the other side was not dropping its guard. The focus of the US on the main adversary was absolutely spot on.

      Indeed, if the Cold War had somehow extended till today, the national security focus of the US will still have to be the Soviet Union, not al-Qaeda.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TankBrigade View Post
        I believe it did because we were giving supplies to Osama Bin Laden and every other Afghan that fought the Russians because we were so focused on giving the Russians a Vietnam-like war and stopping the spread of Communism.
        It's the old adage that one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. During the Cold War it suited both Superpowers to back organisations that would cause unrest within a nation supposedly within the other's sphere of influence. Said organisations were often totally mercenary in nature carrying as much allegiance to their sponsors as the regime they were ostensibly trying to overthrow. Bin Laden is just one of many opportunists who took advantage of the Cold War to further his own aims. We will be paying the price of the Cold War for many years to come.
        Signing out.

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        • #5
          I agree with what your saying Oguoku but I think your responding to a different point. The question was did the struggle against communism blind us to the other threat of islamic terrorism not was I slamic terrorism more important than Communism. Whilst I agree with the point that the communists were the main focus and quite rightly so but the growing threat of arab nationalistic/islamic terrorsm was building and it was ignored. US marines barracks in Beirut for example . I think the fact that we metaphorically speaking walked around in the 90's thinking," this is nice the cold war is over", blinded the west to threat of terrorism.
          Last edited by copenhagen; 23 Aug 07, 09:25.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
            It's the old adage that one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. During the Cold War it suited both Superpowers to back organisations that would cause unrest within a nation supposedly within the other's sphere of influence. Said organisations were often totally mercenary in nature carrying as much allegiance to their sponsors as the regime they were ostensibly trying to overthrow. Bin Laden is just one of many opportunists who took advantage of the Cold War to further his own aims. We will be paying the price of the Cold War for many years to come.
            anyone who fight against bloodthirsty us regmie is a freedom fighter. bushitler and mr hallaburton cheney should be shot for incompetance

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            • #7
              Yes, the late 1980's and early 1990's were a time of hope and a lot of people thought that a New World Order would emerge but unfortunately it was one which no-one wanted.
              "The Eastern front is like a house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse."- General Heinz Guderian


              "Oakland Raiders: Committed to Excellence"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                I think the fact that we metaphorically speaking walked around in the 90's thinking this is nice the cold war is over blinded the west to threat of terrorism.
                I don't think anyone considered what would happen once the Cold War ended.
                Signing out.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hip E's Mel View Post
                  anyone who fight against bloodthirsty us regmie is a freedom fighter. bushitler and mr hallaburton cheney should be shot for incompetance
                  bushitler??? Are you referring to President Bush?? or perhaps Governor Jeb Bush or even Ex-President Bush??? What basis does he compare to Hitler???
                  "The Eastern front is like a house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse."- General Heinz Guderian


                  "Oakland Raiders: Committed to Excellence"

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                  • #10
                    If you gonna make your first point on here , you might aswell make it a controversial one.

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                    • #11
                      I don't think anyone considered what would happen once the Cold War ended.
                      __________________
                      Thats not entirely true.I remember reading about an analyst at the CIA in the early 90's who postulated the notion that the west had to find a way of living/contending with Islamic extremism. I forget who he was unfortunatley ( I read so much stuff) but unsuprisingly he worked ont the middle east desk.He wasnt taken particularly seriously due to the well known political situation of the time.I rememebr the world trade centre bomb in 93 (it was 93 wasnt it), it wasnt really taken overly seriously in the overall context of a wider problem. To be fair the cold war kept a lid on a lot of stuff in regards to islamic terrorism.
                      Last edited by copenhagen; 23 Aug 07, 09:40.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                        I don't think anyone considered what would happen once the Cold War ended.
                        __________________
                        Thats not entirely true.I rememebr reading about an analyst at the CIA in the early 90's who postualted the notion that the west had to find a way of livingg/contending with Islamic extremism. I forget who he was unfortunatley ( I read so much stuff) but unsuprisingly he worked ont the middle east desk.He wasnt taken particularly seriously at the time due to the well known political situation of the time.
                        There are always 'Cassandras' whose views become clear after the event. Let's say that those in a position to act did not consider (or plain ignored) what might happen once the Cold War ended. It's as true of the Russians as it is of the Americans. They played the Cold War like novices playing a chess game, rarely considering more than a couple of moves ahead and with little regard to what the other player was attempting to do.
                        Signing out.

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                        • #13
                          Anyway, I'm drifting off topic. It was the perceived threat (rather than the actual threat) of Communism that led to the Cold War and it was the division of the World into opposing camps that led to the ignoring (or downgrading) of the threat of terrorist activity.
                          Signing out.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                            No, I don't think so.

                            First, terrorism back then was a lot milder - in retrospect, of course. (The type of terrorism nowadays aim to kill hundreds and thousands.) It's a more targeted and selective.
                            I don't think so dude. Back then (1970's-1980's) there were tons of terrorist attacks occurring. Just look at the incidents of hijacked aircraft. Secretary of State George Schultz back in the 80s was trying to get President Reagan's ear on the threats of terrorism and it was due in part to his perseverance that such military groups as Delta Force were created with the intent as using them as anti-terrorism units. Reagan assented, but didn't give Schultz all the leverage that he wanted to wage a covert war against terrorists. That was a bit of a digression, but that also goes to show that American officials were not completely blinded to the threat of terrorism. When Israeli athletes got killed at the Munich games, when airliners were getting blown up, the government was taking note, and has been taking note for quiet some time. They've just been a little slow on the uptake, and even now, are proving to show a bit of ineptitude by using the weapons and tactics of the last war--the Cold War-- in a post-Cold War environment.
                            "The State is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else."

                            Frederic Bastiat

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TankBrigade View Post
                              Do you believe that Communism and the Soviet Union kept us blinded to the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan during the 1980s(especially during the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan).

                              I believe it did because we were giving supplies to Osama Bin Laden and every other Afghan that fought the Russians because we were so focused on giving the Russians a Vietnam-like war and stopping the spread of Communism.
                              No.

                              For starters, you characterisation is wrong. The US didn't give supplies to OBL and every Afghan that fought the Russians. It certainly didn't give supplies to OBL, and he certainly didn't want them. The 'Afghan Arabs' went to war off their own backs, or those of the Saudi government. Who it did give supplies to was the Pakistani ISI, who in turn funnelled it to groups of their choice - almost always radical Islamic Pashtun (? Been awhile since I read up) groups. While these groups were certainly not nice - they eventually evolved into the Taliban, among others - they were hardly the centre of Islamic terrorism, either then or now. The jihadists who ventured to Afghanistan, fought, and then went home in 1992 to spread mayhem in the Balkans, Algeria, Chechneya and anywhere else they could would have done so regardless of US involvement. The 'home' of the modern Islamic movement, Egypt, would have continued to function regardless of Afghanistan; the Saudis would have continued to try and remain in power by playing to the fundamentalists; the upswing in Islamic feeling brought about by the events of 1979 and the Iraq-Iran war would have remained; the Palestinian and Lebanese troubles would have continued.

                              Secondly, I don't know how anyone could suggest that terrorism was ignored in this period, either 'classic' terrorism as practiced by the FCOs or the so-called 'new' terrorism introduced by the likes of Hizbollah. The US was certainly aware of terrorists; Red Army Faction attacked a US nuclear weapons storage facility in Germany in the '70s, and the Red Brigades kidnapped General Dozier, deputy chief of staff for Southern European land forces in NATO, to name two of the more signifigant acts of terrorism against it. They were certainly aware of new terrorism also after the Marine bombings in Lebanon - hard to ignore several hundred dead servicemen.
                              Colonel Summers' widely quoted critique of US strategy in the Vietnam War is having a modest vogue...it is poor history, poor strategy, and poor Clausewitz to boot - Robet Komer, Survival, 27:2, p. 94.

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