In today’s “Best of the Web,” James Taranto pokes fun at Mikhail Gorbachev for finally admitting the obvious about the Soviet war on Afghanistan; now, I’ll poke fun at Taranto for failing to see the obvious parallels:
The Soviet Union’s 10-year invasion of Afghanistan was a mistake, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged on the eve of the 15th anniversary of Soviet withdrawal.
“The fact that we moved our troops into Afghanistan was a political mistake, which had to do with the Soviet Union’s ideological approach to international policy in those years,” Gorbachev was quoted by Interfax as saying.
“An attempt to force an extraneous social model on a country that has deep traditions of its own is always doomed to failure,” Gorbachev said.
Taranto misses the real joke because he hasn’t been reading his Weekly Standard:
A smaller nation might appropriately feel that its national interest begins and ends at its borders, so that its foreign policy is almost always in a defensive mode. A larger nation has more extensive interests. And large nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns.
Such as, say, bankrupting themselves to force extraneous social models on countries that have deep traditions of their own?