SOVIET UNION: Proximity and Self-Interest

In Central Asia, the worries about Afghanistan are real

The debate still goes on in the U.S. over why the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan last December. Hawkish observers—including National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski—have argued that the move could turn out to be Moscow's first big step toward the oil and warm waters of the Persian Gulf. Historian George Kennan and other defenders of détente say no, the Kremlin was acting defensively to shore up its southern border. Not surprisingly, the latter interpretation is endorsed in the Soviet Union. Also not surprisingly, an insistence on the defensive, legitimate and temporary nature...

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