Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

The CNN documentary on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan unflinchingly exposes both Soviet and Western influences in the destabilization of the region. What was supposed to be a quick occupation that would end in a few weeks, the Soviet invasion lasted for a decade. After Muslim extremists in the region rebelled against sweeping socialist policies in Afghanistan, a rebellion ensued. This rebellion was in part influenced by the fact that Soviet policies were ignorant to Afghanistanian culture and Muslim practices and by the fact that these policies were threatening the control of the Muslim religious leaders. As the political and social unrest reached its height, the Soviet-friendly prime minister assassinated and replaced with a power-hungry dictator, Soviet authorities decided to get militarily intervene. The United States saw this as a threat – Jimmy Carter even went far enough to say that this move threatened American national security and that he was considering unleashing nuclear weapons as a response to this. Thus, the United States began its funding and support of the  the Islamic anti-Soviet jihadist group (which was referred to as ‘mujahideen’).

What was interesting was about the documentary was the fact that many American officials explicitly stated that the war in Afghanistan was fueled by American covert operations which supplied arms and training to the mujahideen. One representative said that this was “our war paid with [Afghanistanian] blood”. What was CNN’s bias in presenting the information like this? Was this admittance of direct US manipulation and destabilizing aid one of owning up for America’s action?

The documentary also exposes the ultimate chaos of the US-USSR proxy war. An American official smugly admits that American troops acquired Soviet weapons from Czechoslovakia, China and Egypt because of the alleged materialistic interests that outweighed their socialist priorities. This goes to show how the vision of socialism was failing in the Soviet Union and how intent the United States was to bleed the Soviet Union dry. The unfortunate and truly tragic aspect of this point in history is that this vindictive and disorganized action was fought on foreign land and radically disrupted a religious and cultural country.


Three poignant things:

1) People in Germany do not particularly want it to become an immigrant state, as it has effects on both on the families already existing there and the new immigrants. But because immigrant workers are staying and not moving back to their old countries as many German citizens expected, they are staying, aggravating many Germans.

2) Islam is becoming prevalent in German culture as well as other countries in western Europe. According to the economist, many German citizens are wary of practicing Islamists, and are calling for some type of restricted practice, which would be a step backwards in social/religious rights and tolerance.

3) People are afraid of the decline or the original German, as younger German generations are not reproducing at the same rates as young immigrant generations, which could eventually lead to a massive national misplacement.

2 Questions

1) How do the older generations interpret immigrant labor as opposed to the younger generations?

2) How could Germany’s history of intolerance perhaps force them into an unwanted position? Are they under the international microscope and must tread more lightly with immigrant reforms than other countries would have to?

1 Interesting Point

1) A lot of comments disagree with the article, is this most likely a politically biased minority? Or an general reflective demographic?

The Roots and Growth of Christianity in Early Rus

Something that I found to be particularly interesting is the manner in which Christianity came to Rus compared to the power that the church wields in Russia today.
Pages sixty-three to sixty-seven paint a very clear picture of the real purpose for the introduction of Christianity to Rus. It’s made quite clear that Vladimir wanted to bring Greek Orthodoxy to Rus because it was a religion that could bring him greater wealth, influence, and power than he currently possessed, but he didn’t have to sacrifice much for it.
The book states that numerous religions presented themselves to Vladimir in order to grow throughout his lands, but Vladimir declined them because of personal opinions or dislikes for them. For example, Vladimir rejects Islam because it requires him to become circumcised and stop drinking alcohol (apparently his favorite activity).
Then, Vladimir sends judges to the lands of these religions to determine which one he wants to accept or which one is most favorable to him. Eventually, Vladimir decides that because he can extort a wife, a city, and an alliance of sorts out of it, he will convert himself and all of Rus to Greek Orthodoxy (I should also mention that his envoys liked the Greek church services the most, too).
It takes time, but the Orthodox church grows over the next few centuries to become a significant political, cultural, and religious (obviously) player in Russia with major influence over the direction that the nation takes.
The part of this whole situation that is most interesting to me is the course of growth that the church and the state take together. In much of Europe the Roman Catholic church (or the Orthodox church in Eastern Europe) grew independent of the state. In fact, the church often grew in times that the states were not growing, but in Russia, the church often grew with the state. The timeline of growth is not perfect for this as the church grew in times when the state was stagnant and the state grew in times when the church was less influential, but I think that two factors have primarily caused this unusual growth pattern.
First is Vladimir made the Orthodox church the state religion at a time when Rus did not yet have a great sense of “self” or national unity. This allowed the church to establish at a time when the state gained a greater identity, causing the two bodies to have a very heavily linked history of growth.
Second is the mutual relationship between the church and the state. Vladimir made Orthodoxy the state religion for the benefits that he (and his children) would reap. The church benefited from the large amount of previously unreached people and the state benefited from the economic and cultural effects that the church had on Rus.