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'The Red Template': US Policy in Soviet-Occupied Afghanistan

Andrew Hartman
Third World Quarterly
Vol. 23, No. 3 (Jun., 2002), pp. 467-489
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3993537
Page Count: 23
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'The Red Template': US Policy in Soviet-Occupied Afghanistan
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Abstract

'The red template' examines the policies of the United States in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan in the context of the Cold War. The available documentation tends to support the thesis of this paper: that US policy in Afghanistan, consistent with US policy elsewhere both during and after the Cold War, is geared to protect US private power and thus US access to oil. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on 25 December 1979, the belief among US foreign policy-makers that the Soviet Union was finally embarking on their longtime mission of advancing upon the oil of the Persian Gulf and the warm water ports of the Arabian Sea was finally supported--a propaganda defeat for the Soviet Union. America's response--to finance and arm the most fundamental and dangerous Muslims that could be rounded up--is a decision that continues to shake the world. The possibilities of the resulting 'blowback'--in the form of well-documented terror and the not so well-known heroin trade--were ignored in the drive to support those who would struggle against Soviet-dominated communism. This paper details the cold calculus of US decision-makers and the negative effects on the people of Afghanistan and beyond. The rise of the Taliban can be directly attributed to this process and America's so-called 'War on Terrorism' is yet another harsh penalty the people of this war-ravaged country must accept at the hands of the world's sole remaining superpower.

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