The Wall Street Journal took President Donald Trump to the woodshed this week for daring to defend the Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.
While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Trump not only insulted our allies who have been fighting alongside us in Afghanistan, he made historically inaccurate claims that the Soviet Union had the “right” to invade the country because terrorists were targeting the Soviets.
“Russia used to be the Soviet Union,” Trump said. “Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan. Russia. So you take a look at other countries. Pakistan is there. They should be fighting. But Russia should be fighting. The reason Russia was in, in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is it was a tough fight. And literally they went bankrupt. They went into being called Russia again as opposed to the Soviet Union.”
Trump’s claim is egregiously wrong on so many levels that it seems like Russian dictator Vladimir Putin must have forced him to say it. The reason why the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan is because they were trying to prop up a communist regime that was under threat of being overthrown by rebels. Terrorism had nothing to do with it. And while the invasion contributed to the eventual fall of the Soviet Union, it was not the main factor.
The Wall Street Journal responded to Trump’s alternative history by ripping him a new one:
“We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American President,” the editorial board wrote. “The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with three divisions in December 1979 to prop up a fellow communist government. The invasion was condemned throughout the non-communist world. The Soviets justified the invasion as an extension of the Brezhnev Doctrine, asserting their right to prevent countries from leaving the communist sphere.”
So, Trump literally defended the Brezhnev Doctrine and communism by defending the Soviet invasion.
It should be pointed out that the United States opposed the invasion and even boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in the Soviet Union to protest the action.
Trump also went on to insult the allies who have helped us on the ground in Afghanistan all these years, targeting India in particular for building a library.
This attack on our allies did not impress the Wall Street Journal editors either.
“This mockery is a slander against every ally that has supported the U.S. effort in Afghanistan with troops who fought and often died,” they wrote. “The United Kingdom has had more than 450 killed fighting in Afghanistan.”
Trump’s words had immediate impact on our own troops in Afghanistan as morale has dropped to an all-time low.
This is yet another foreign policy blunder Trump had made, and it seriously jeopardizes our national security while emboldening Russia to pursue future military action. Because if Trump is going to make excuses to defend past Russian invasions, it’s very possible he’ll defend new ones as Putin gets more aggressive, especially in Eastern Europe where NATO is already on edge.
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