As I have watched how the U.S. national-security establishment has set up its latest crisis, this one in Ukraine, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how it set up a similar crisis in Afghanistan in 1979.
Back then, the goal of U.S. national-security state officials was to goad the Soviet Union into invading Afghanistan. U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski put it succinctly when he told President Carter, “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.”
What he meant by that was the opportunity of getting Soviet soldiers killed, maimed, and injured for no good reason, just as the Pentagon and the CIA did to tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam. Additionally, the Soviet Union would have to waste large sums of taxpayer money, just as the U.S. government also did in Vietnam.
To goad the Soviets into invading Afghanistan, U.S. officials began supporting the anti-Soviet resistance that was committed to removing a pro-Soviet regime from power. U.S. officials figured that faced with the possibility that Afghanistan might end up with a pro-U.S. regime, the Soviets would have no choice but to invade.
The scheme worked brilliantly. The Soviets invaded on December 24, 1979, and for the next decade were bogged down in a guerrilla war, much like the United States was when it invaded Vietnam and, for that matter, when it invaded Afghanistan in 2001. In the process, many Soviet soldiers were killed, maimed, and injured, just as U.S. officials hoped they would be. Moreover, the war helped to bankrupt the Soviet Union, which ultimately led to its dismantling.
Needless to say, U.S. national-security state officials were ecstatic over what they had accomplished. As Brzezinski gloated, “We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.”
Of course, the U.S. government played the innocent and portrayed the Soviet Union as a horrible aggressor. The following year, the U.S. government boycotted the Summer Olympics in Russia to protest Soviet aggression in Afghanistan.
When asked in an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998 whether he regretted any of this, Brzezinski was shocked that anyone would even ask such a question. He responded, “Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: ‘We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.’ Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime, a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”
The interviewer then asked, “And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?” Brezinski responded, “What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”
Of course, that interview was conducted prior to the blowback of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. I can’t help but wonder whether Brzezinski would have considered his scheme to be worth it in light of what those attacks did to America.
The irony is that the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 also brought a sudden and surprising end to the U.S. national-security state’s Cold War racket, which was guaranteeing them a perpetual flow of ever-increasing amounts of U.S. taxpayer money into the coffers of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA.
That was when U.S. officials went into the Middle East and began poking hornets’ nests, which succeeded in producing terrorist blowback. That’s when we got the “war on terrorism,” which replaced the “war on communism.” That guaranteed the continuous flow of ever-increasing amounts of U.S. taxpayer money into the pockets of the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and the entire “defense” industry.
But U.S. officials weren’t about to let go of the Russians so easily. Rather than dismantle NATO, which was nothing more than a Cold War dinosaur, they used the organization to gobble up former members of the Warsaw Pact, with the aim of stationing U.S. troops, missiles, and tanks closer and closer to Russia’s borders. The scheme ultimately called for NATO to absorb Ukraine, which would mean that the Pentagon and the CIA would be able to install their missiles, tanks, and troops on Russia’s border.
Thus, their latest scheme has placed Russia in the position of choosing between invading Ukraine, which would thereby prevent the Pentagon and the CIA from installing their troops, missiles, and tanks on Russia’s border versus letting NATO absorb Ukraine, which would enable the Pentagon and the CIA to install their troops, missiles, and tanks on Russia’s border.
If Russia invades, there is no doubt that the U.S. national-security establishment will, once again, play the innocent and cry out against those aggressive Russians. And make no mistake about it: Despite crocodile tears that U.S. officials will openly shed for the people of Ukraine, the truth is that U.S. officials couldn’t care one whit how many of them are killed, injured, or maimed in such an invasion, any more than they were concerned about the people of Afghanistan who were killed, injured, and maimed after U.S. officials succeeded in goading the Soviets to invade Afghanistan or, for that matter, after the Pentagon and the CIA invaded and occupied the country in 2001. The people of Ukraine are as much pawns in the evil machinations of the U.S. national-security establishment as the people of Afghanistan.