Foreign Policy Blogs

Afghanistan, NATO and the Warsaw Pact

From 1979 to 1989, the Soviet Army attempted to occupy Afghanistan and defeat an insurgency of Afghan rebels. They failed and two years later found their own country falling to pieces and with it, the Soviet Bloc's collective security alliance, the Warsaw Pact. Although, the Russian Afghan War was not the main reason the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact dissolved, it definitely played a role. Now with the US Army mired in an Afghan insurgency of its own, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been trying to push America's NATO allies to help out. Although Gates is right to seek more allies and  troops for Afghanistan, he is conveniently forgetting why they are needed in the first place. After the US military invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, it should have devoted the vast resources that were necessary to winning the peace afterwards because a scattered Taliban does not mean a defeated Taliban. Instead, those resources were sent to fight a war in Iraq, which was being effectively contained and wasn't an imminent threat to the stability of the Middle East, or America. Now, bogged down in two quagmires, the US has to go begging with bowl in hand to allies it has denigrated in the past. Gates has to even resort to empty threats saying, “NATO is a collective security agreement, a military alliance. The members have signed up with certain obligations in this regard. But if it were to become the case that some allies are not prepared to fulfill their military obligations, while others continue to do so, I think that that is a very dangerous situation for the future of the alliance.”

Afghanistan indirectly caused the end of the Warsaw Pact. It would be ironic if it did the same to NATO.

 

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FPA Administrator
FPA Administrator

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