Sadly, more and more of the news coverage on Fox News is slanted against President Trump and conservatives. Fox Business is usually much better, but even there you should not take everything you hear as gospel truth.
Case in point today from the professionally obstreperous senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino, who proudly embarrassed himself by repeatedly calling Trump “downright idiotic” for saying (in Gasparino’s words) that “the Soviet Union collapsed not because of its economy, which everybody knows, but because they invaded Afghanistan.”
Well, as President Reagan said of Democrats: “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”
Sorry, Charlie, but what you think everybody knows … just isn’t so.
Of course, the economic conditions in the Soviet Union were an underlying condition that led to the collapse, but how do you think the failure of the economy came about?
In an academic paper published in the Review of International Studies in 1999, Rafael Reuveny and Aseem Prakesh wrote about “The Afghanistan war and the breakdown of the Soviet Union.” They concluded that the war was a key factor, but not the only factor, in the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The war impacted Soviet politics in four reinforcing ways: (1) Perception effects: it changed the perceptions of leaders about the efficacy of using the military to hold the empire and to intervene in foreign countries; (2) Military effects: it discredited the Red Army, created cleavage between the party and the military, and demonstrated that the Red Army was not invincible, which emboldened the non Russian republics to push for independence; (3) Legitimacy effects: it provided non-Russians with a common cause to demand independence since they viewed this war as a Russian war fought by non Russians against Afghans; and (4) Participation effects: it created new forms of political participation, started to transform the press/media before glasnost, initiated the first shots of glasnost, and created a significant mass of war veterans (Afghansti) who formed new civil organizations weakening the political hegemony of the communist party.
It is no secret that the Russian people and others in the Soviet Union were not happy to see their young men sent off to die in South Asia. The massive expenditures in both blood and treasure were hugely significant in creating a climate of distrust in the communist government.
Charlie Gasparino may not like it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.