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Old 02-14-2010, 10:22 PM   #56
irishjayhawk irishjayhawk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
The Afghanistan of today isn't much different than the Afghanistan of Jimmy Carter's day (with NATO troops there instead of Soviet troops). In between Carter and Obama, Reagan defeated a superpower. Your take would be mind bogglingly off base if you were someone who considered the Americans to be the good guys.
Curious, what would you say in response to this:

Quote:
Anybody who claims that Reagan singlehandedly ended the Cold War is flat-out wrong. It's just simply not true.
Let me start by examining the actions that Reagan took to end the cold war, in bullet form.

-Ordered the largest peacetime buildup of US troops in history -Delivered speech at the Berlin Wall -Signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

While most people think that Reagan somehow miraculously saved the world from the Soviet Union, I argue that the Soviet Union was doomed to fail.
First, understand the nature of the Soviet military-industrial complex. That term gets thrown around in relation the United States, but we cannot even compare to the Soviets during the height of the Cold War. 25% of their GDP went into the military.

The Soviets were also fighting in Afghanistan, and we all know how well that went over for them. After 9 years, they lost and allowed a civil war to perpetuate, eventually leading to the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. This also caused a huge economic drain, which brings me to my next point.
Fighting wars and investing heavily in the military will eventually suck an economy dry. With a surplus of oil, a war being fought, and tons of money being dumped into the military, the Soviet Union's economy had stalled.
Gorbachev realized the need for reform and that's what he did. He allowed for greater freedom of the press, tried to reduce the corruption at the highest levels of government, and most importantly reduced the size of the military. Search perestroika or glasnost for further information.

Without a massive military, the Soviet Union itself became unsustainable and had to break up. The Soviet Union was on the brink of collapse before Reagan came to power, Reagan merely "beat" them through kicking the United States war machine into high gear.

I can't help but see the similarities between the US now and the Soviet Union then. Our military is spread far too thin and is far too large to begin with. We have dumped trillions of dollars into military spending and run up a bill that will take decades to pay off. We are currently fighting two wars with no clear goals or deadlines for troop withdrawal. Once the wars are over, more money will have to be spent to restore our armies to appropriate levels.

We face many of the same problems the Soviets did at the end of their time, and Gorbachev-style reforms will become increasingly necessary for the United States to survive. The United States cannot be hegemonic forever, especially if we cannot pay the bills. The first path to recovery is to drop the misconception that Ronald Reagan should be revered as a president. Increased military spending may have ended the Cold War, but if unchecked it will be the undoing of America as well.
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