The Afghan Syndrome: The Soviet Union's Vietnam

Oleg Sarin, Author, Lev Dvoretsky, With, O. L. Sarin, Author
Oleg Sarin, Author, Lev Dvoretsky, With, O. L. Sarin, Author Presidio Press $30 (240p) ISBN 978-0-89141-420-9
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Sarin is an editor of Red Star , the daily newspaper of the Russian armed forces; Dvoretsky is director of a Russian-American joint publishing venture, Amscort International. Here they offer a fresh, pragmatic assessment of the 1979-89 war in Afghanistan from the Soviet viewpoint. Of interest to American readers: the parallels the authors draw between the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the American war in Vietnam. Both wars were a heavy drain on the countries' economies, resulted in a decline of the countries' international prestige and led to widespread distrust of their governments. Along with steep casualties, other similarities include the enemy's ambush tactics and domestic disdain for returning veterans of the war. On the positive side, the authors imply that there might have been no glasnost or perestroika without the crises attending the Afghan misadventure. Sarin and Dvoretsky's book clarifies Soviet political aims and military strategy during the war in Afghanistan. Photos. (June)
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