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NATO vs Warsaw Pact

Discussion in 'World History' started by Cunobelin, Jul 3, 2003.

  1. Richard III

    Richard III Duke of Gloucester

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    Angola?
    Mozambique?
    Berlin itself?
    China, Tibet, Cambodia?
    Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland?
    The Sinai?
    Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador?
    Cuba? Grenada? The Dominican Republic? Yemen?

    How about the, oh, 10-20 coups and civil wars that had at least the KGB and the CIA on one side (if not both on either), on the ASSUMPTION that losing or winning would hurt/help the other guy? Guatemala, Chile, Greece...

    I guess it depends on what you call a war, but seemed to me like all of the above was certainly as much a part of the Cold War as, say, the Pacific Theatre was part of the Second World War...
     
  2. The Art of War

    The Art of War [none]

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    Yes, but none of those came close to the escalations of the Afghan war....it was really all up to the soviets..they could've invaded Pakistan, forcing the US to take a defensive posture.
    I mean, everyone knew that General/President Zia of Pakistan was supplying the Mujahideen with US backing.
    Berlin, maybe. Iran-Contra, no. Grenada? no.
     
  3. The Art of War

    The Art of War [none]

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    Oh how wrong you are. "A few MANPADs", eh? more like somewhere around 30 billion dollars worth of assorted weapons, from Stingers, to AKs, to Dashikas, to Toyota pickups, to food supplies, to 14.5mm AA guns....and "a few CIA agents" is wrong too...more like the US House and Congress, along with the whole CIA Mideast Division. When the Stinger was introduced, the Soviets knew that America was directly supplying the Afghans. At this juncture, they could've invaded Pakistan..well, by that time (1987), the morale was six feet under for the Red Army. And yes, direct combat with the Chinese wouldn't have started WW3..they didn't have nukes at that time...thus making it impossible to have a WW3, since it would've undoubtedly been nuclear at some point. Either way you throw it, Afghanistan was the biggest battle of the Cold War, and it proved that the USSR could be defeated.
     
  4. PresidentMike

    PresidentMike Technical Fool

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    Americans and Soviets met in direct combat in at least one venue: the Korean War.

    Soviet pilots flew MiG 15's to prevent the USAF from disrupting the Communist supply system. American pilots and their F-86's met them head on in "MiG Alley," and for one of the few times in history, Russians and Americans shot at each other. Killed each other too.

    At the time the Americans suspected that Soviet pilots were behind the controls, but it wasn't until after the Cold War that the Russians at last confirmed it.
     
  5. MadScot

    MadScot Brandy's back!

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    Really? The senators and representatives were actually in Afghanistan, on the ground, fighting???? My, my, the BBC really failed to report that one!

    My, I learn so much here at CFC.
     
  6. Richard III

    Richard III Duke of Gloucester

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    You're just way off course, here, man; been reading "Charlie Wilson's War" a little too eagerly?

    Sorry, but the Cold War I remember had dozens of fronts, and lots of people dying in them. Add to my list: the deaths of Tudeh rebels in Iran during the Shah's coup, Indonesia, purging itself of reds, the guerrilla war in the Phillipines... and those are just some of the sideshows. This was a worldwide conflagration, with many an escalation that was more dramatic than Afghanistan.

    Take 1973 and the Yom Kippur war, and the Defcon hikes in response to Soviet naval and troop movements and the potential for Soviet intervention. Cuba was a frontline and on the frontlines for decades, and lots of real people died there, too: 1959, 1960, 1962, Cuito Canavale in the late 1980s, Grenada in 1983...

    Would the Soviets have started WWIII over Afghanistan? Not likely, and not as likely as, say, Czechoslovakia. And the Russians invading Pakistan? Nice as a "Survivalist" novel scenario, but not quite as simple - particularly when the Soviets already had an able client in India who might have done it for them. Would the Americans have started WWIII over Afghanistan? No, and certainly not as likely there as over Cuba, or Nicaragua, or Iran, or Vietnam.

    And aside from the escalation issue, your "biggest battle" comment is actually factually wrong, both on actual deaths and on soldiers engaged or committed.

    R.III
     
  7. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin I aint no hippo

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    Was there ever a time when Soviet forces had both the numbers and superior weaponry to defeat the Western powers? End of World War 2 I would imagine?
     
  8. PresidentMike

    PresidentMike Technical Fool

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    Theoretically they always had the numbers. But when you put nuclear weapons into play, outnumbering the enemy doesn't mean a whole lot, and nukes figured heavily in NATO's defense plans.

    By the way, I've been doing some online research about the Irish Defense Forces recently. Their website isn't bad (your tax money at work, Cunobelin).
     
  9. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin I aint no hippo

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    It would want to be good for the amount of tax i have to pay (42%) They revamped it recently as part of a big recruitment drive.
    If i may ask what was the aim of your research?
     
  10. Richard III

    Richard III Duke of Gloucester

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    He intends to attack before sundown tomorrow.
     
  11. PresidentMike

    PresidentMike Technical Fool

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    Sheer curiosity.

    And it's interesting that you noted the revamped website. I noticed that too. Didn't realize it was part of a new recruitment drive.
     
  12. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin I aint no hippo

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    Ya defense forces got a major increase in the budget to attract new recruits and improve public image. Roped me in anyway ; )
     
  13. PresidentMike

    PresidentMike Technical Fool

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    Did the Oglaigh na h-Eireann have a bad public image? That's not something that they mention on their website. :D

    What's your job in the military? And why did the government launch a big recruitment drive? Was the army slowly shrinking?
     
  14. MadScot

    MadScot Brandy's back!

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    Actually, "end of World War 2" is one of the few times when the Sovs didn't have a conventional superiority.

    Before the Western Allies demobilized (so late '45/early '46) the western armies in Germany were probably more than a match for the Red Army. The Sovs were terribly battered in pounding their way into Berlin, remember. The Germans fought a darned sight harder on the Eastern front, right to the end; once the war war almost over the troops in the West weren't quite so motivated.

    A couple of years later, though, and the western forces were a hollow shell. While the nuke deterrent was a bit of leverage - even more so before the sovs got the bomb - there weren't a huge number of them and the delivery systems were always a little bit dodgy - nothing so certain as an ICBM in those days.

    And once the two sides started to get MAD levels of nukes, the question would always be precisely how far would a given US president be prepared to go in a fight for Europe. (Which was probably one of the major reasons for the British and French nuke forces - after all, it's not like the Sovs would be asking who to blame once Moscow became 'extra crispy', everyone would have got a share.)
     
  15. The Art of War

    The Art of War [none]

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    whoa! superb argumentative skills, bud! :rolleyes:

    honestly, how old are we?

    Also, yes, Afghanistan was much more pivotal than Korea. There wasn't going to be any Total War that MacArthur wanted, and what exactly happened in Korea? Wait---there's still a communist north. is there a dominant communist force in Afghanistan?...hmm, i'll let you answer that one yourself.

    Yeah...it's a good book. :goodjob:

    I'll give you Cuba, Bay of Pigs, Missile Crisis.

    Iran-Contra? I didn't have the chance to become a real flashpoint. The Contras never even actually posed a threat to the Sandanista government.

    The Soviets actually might have invaded, Gorbachev actually threatened Zia ul-Haq at a (i think) Andropov's funeral.

    Vietnam is a sticky one....let me get back to you on that one.

    Death totals were pretty high, actually, the Soviets lost 25,000 troops between 1979-1988. The Afghan people, as a whole, lost 1/3 of their pre-war 40 million population. Seeing as how most of those were partisans in some form, you can consider them 'soldier' deaths.

    I'll have to see some proof of a larger escalation than Afghanistan...it went from (not sure this is exact, but very close) 10million in 1980 to close to 30 billion by 1988. That is a huge escalation if you ask me...you give me a larger one, i'll give up my position. Almost the whole of the afghan population was commited somehow in the war...that's almost 40 million people doing something to help the war.

    I don't see Grenada as a major flashpoint...i mean, it was back to regular in no time flat....Grenada was a small brushfire in a forest.
     
  16. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    The Russians supplied the Chinese and North Koreans with the bulk of their ammunition. If the Russians had withdrawn their support for the war, then the war would have ended the next day - after the ravages of 20 years of war China simply didn't have the capacity to maintain a significant force in Korea in the face of the American lead UN force.
     
  17. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin I aint no hippo

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    The army was always seen as a haven for the class idiot. If you didnt have the brains to get a 'proper' job you would join the army. They are trying to cast off this image as of late.

    I just signed up and I will be joining the Ordnance Corps by next year, handling weapons, maintaining them and best of all testing them:rocket:

    With the unprecedented growth from the Celtic Tiger in previous years it was very easy to get a job anywhere and recruitment levels dropped but now the economy is in decline again demand for places in the defence forces has risen
     
  18. Knight-Dragon

    Knight-Dragon Unhidden Dragon Retired Moderator

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    Cut out the spam, gentlemen. This thread is to talk about the Cold War; not discussing the Irish army.

    Thanks.
     
  19. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin I aint no hippo

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    Someone mentioned earlier that NATO only had plans for a defensive war agianst the Soviets and were deployed as such. Assuming an attack was made and repulsed would NATO have followed it up with a counter attack across the Iron Curtain or would the fear of an escalation into full nuclear warfare have prevented such a move?
     
  20. Richard III

    Richard III Duke of Gloucester

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    Well, you seem at least to be putting it in more of a context than simply "oh, it was the only issue," so I'm not going to press the every point further. However:

    1. You seem to keep picking on "Iran-Contra." I don't think of Iran-Contra as a big issue, but Iran in '56, Iran in '79, and the Iran-Iraq war were certainly big issues; I will grant you that the Iran-Iraq war itself was not really a Cold War episode so much as a potential Cold War episode, but my point was to say that if the Soviets were going to invade anyone, Iran - which almost as important to the Mujahadin as Pakistan - posed a serious threat to other republics, and had something the Soviets wanted (oil), and was part of their imperial-era sphere of influence... well, you get my point.

    2. The Contras posed a real threat insofar as the disruption they caused economically made it difficult to consolidate the revolution in a moderate fashion. Arguably, the loss of the election (was that '89?) was an indirect victory by the Contras in that respect. More important, though, was the issue of escalation; by making the Nicaraguan and El Salvadorean conflicts a conflict about US vs. Soviet/Cuban influence, any serious leftist success in either country could have escalated into full US intervention with all the attendent consequences. Certainly, that was possible, given the mood of many in the administration.

    3. The Soviets threatened a lot of people. China, for instance. In fact, they shot some of them. Curious on whether you view the border disputes in '69 as Cold War or not, especially given Nixon's nuclear umbrella guarantee in the event of a larger Sino-Soviet war...

    4. Population loss in Afghanistan is hard to track: are you including refugees in your death totals? I've never heard a figure higher than a couple of million since 1978, and I'd always thought it was conventional wisdom that Vietnam, the Chinese civil war and Iran-Iraq were the bloodiest episodes in the post-WWII era, perhaps with Cambodia getting an honorable mention.

    Re: refugees vs. deaths, see http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/5ef46210462e7e35c1256d03003da30b?OpenDocument - these are guys who have an incentive to make the numbers as high as possible, but they cite 2 million civilian deaths since 1978 - catastrophic, but certainly not enormously higher than many other wars, and not higher than Vietnam for a similar length of time.

    On your escalation point, just speaking to the Vietnam/Afghan comparison alone, I can't exactly pull through textbooks here at work, but a random websearch, from http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~eemoise/limit7.html...

    .

    Agreed, but I see it as one battle in a larger Caribbean/Anti-Cuban context, much as the State Department, CIA and Pentagon did (!). Since you seem to be being more reasonable, :D, my chief disagreement with you now is that I'm not sure you're putting everything into a larger context; if "Afghanistan" is one theatre, surely it should be judged alongside "Korea," "Indochina," "the Caribbean," "The East Bloc," etc. In short, lots of flashpoints, some (like Afghanistan) certainly more significant or more fatal than others, but all part of a very dangerous and lethal collage.

    R.III
     

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