Tag Archives: Russia

Soviet Union to Russia: Understanding what Russia wants through an Academic Lens

Communism, Post-communism & Nationalism

The following are in depth research notes on Communism, Nationalism and Russia from the perspective of both Eastern and Western academic thinkers.

Politics, history, psychology are complicated. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the territorial maps were redrawn. Many Russian nationals become minority citizens of new countries that were formed. The following is an analysis of that story. It’s implications for nationalism studies today and in the future. And in some ways an answer to what Putin wants.

Continue reading Soviet Union to Russia: Understanding what Russia wants through an Academic Lens

Lessons from a Masters In Business Administration: MBAs Inter-Semester Travel

MBAs Inter-Semester Travel: Go to Brazil, India, China, or Russia, which is now the standard inter-semester trip for MBA students. MBAs have an arrogance to them. Do not go to these places with hand sanitizer in your wallet or purse. These trips are liable to be dominated by booze, clubs, shops, and corporate entertainment. These places are where all the venture capitalists are going. Being a Venture Capitalist is easier than climbing the corporate ladder, all you need is one major success, then you will have 100s of entrepreneurs pitching their ideas, and you get to pick the best ones. Although, it is very risky, and many VCs fail.

2 Years of Banking or Consulting is a Plus: for getting into an MBA Program, some experience in consulting or banking is a major advantage. You will need to be rather tough minded because you might get depressed with all the analysis and 18 hours days. MBAs are insecure overachievers.

[This is a synopsis of several books on the MBA experience including What They Teach You At Harvard Business School by P.D. Broughton]

Margaret Thatcher on Jimmy Carter, Middle East, Industrial Maliase

On Jimmy Carter
Profited from Watergate not his candidacy’s appeal to the American public. Carter lacked the understanding of economics. Believed in what Thatcher thinks were ineffectual price controls on gas during the OPEC crisis. Believed that Communism was an exaggerated threat, as did his Democratic Party. Consequently, Carter was not prepared for the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian seizure of American diplomats as hostages. Carter had no vision for America. Carter was over concerned with details and agonized over big decisions.

On the Middle East Crisis of 1980
The USSR invaded Afghanistan with a pro-communist coup d’etat. The USSR was possibly motivated by the Oil crisis to find an expedient route through which oil could be exported to Russia. The USSR was attempting to cause communist uprisings all over the world. Carter was disappointed that the UK would not freeze all Iranian financial assets, which would have ended London’s position as a world financial centre, according to Thatcher. Iraq and Iran began their war of attrition in 1980 further threatening Western interests in the region.

On Britain’s Industrial Problem
Britain was not internationally competitive. Their industrial reputation had steadily declined in the post-war era. Productivity was low before Thatcher. The problem was not the level of wages but the competitiveness of workers. The steel union BSC attempted to cut all supply of steel in the UK until they received better wages. Thatcher waited until March 1980. The steel supply was still able to continue despite the union’s attempts to strime. The union was demoralised and required a face saving arbitrator the ACAC (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). The union got substantially less then they demanded. Their union workers were not very productive or efficient which is part of a cross industry trend. Trade unions push wages up while weakening a commercial enterprise’s competitive edge. Thatcher believed that, under successive Labour Party regimes, communist and socialist radicals had risen to the top of union organizations. These people were poisoning the organizations. They consolidated their power by intimidating their members making certain that they could not leave those unions. The Engineering Employer’s Federation (EEF) conceded a 39-hour week, increases of 13 pounds a week for skilled men and an extra week’s vacation setting a precedent that would weaken all management/union relations.

On the Iranian Embassy Siege
Terrorists captured Iranian Embassy at Prince’s Gate in April of 1980. Thatcher believed these terrorists were acting on the perceived weakness of the western powers as demonstrated by the Iranian Hostage crisis of 1979-80. Thatcher needed to defeat these terrorists somehow. Operation Nimrod was a success. Denis Thatcher was proud of the killings of 5 of 6 terrorists and famously lamented the survival of the 6th assailant according to Wikipedia.

What We Can Learn From Truman Part XXI

Fortune Favours The Brave: MacArthur was certain that China and Russia would not intervene in Korea. He wanted to win the war with one bold stroke but Truman feared that this proxy war could explode into WWIII. MacArthur eyed invading North Korea and to continue beyond. MacArthur began to intervene in public policy. MacArthur said that Chang High Chek and Formosa needed to be defended he felt it was not fair that this would be unfair to Asians. Truman fired Johnson and nominated Marshall. MacArthur wanted an amphibian assault in Northern Korea at Inchon. It was the riskiest proposal because of the coastal mud and cliff-faces. Montcalm was defeated in Quebec by Wolfe’s climbing of the Quebec City walls; this was a similar situation to MacArthur’s Inchon. Ultimately, MacArthur’s Inchon invasion was a success. The causalities were very high, however. In 11 days Seoul was retaken. Half the North Korean army was split in a pincher movement. It was a military miracle. The question was then whether to cross the 39th parallel. MacArthur wanted a hot pursuit of the North Koreans. The excitement of victory against North Koreas engulfed MacArthur’s already shaky judgement. He believed that basic military action says that you should chase your defeated enemy until they are destroyed. Underpressure, MacArthur was authorized to invade North Korea. MacArthur was not to cross into China, however. Carrying north was risky: a) Chinese intervention b) winter.

USSR WAR IN AFGHANISTAN 1979 – 1988 Part 2

1980 100,000 USSR Soldiers: The KGB promised Soviet soldiers that they would be in direct combat against American troops but this claim was an obvious lie. In reality, this motivation was used to boost morale because the Soviet war was largely useless. The Mujahadeen consistently reappeared after the previous days of fighting. Mujahadeen had internal conflicts. Gratitude lasted seldom longer than a few hours. The War was fought with Mujahadeen blood and with America’s goal: to end communism in Russia. The USSR abandoned massive sweeps with air based tactics. The UN pushed for shuttle diplomacy saying that if Russia left Afghanistan the US would stop supporting the Mujahadeen. (Similar to Iran’s promise with Americans). The USSR bombed Aghanistan from the air. The Soviets destroyed a whole village. Many young men were forced into the Afghan army those who refused were shot. The toll of Soviet dead was as much as 2000 per year. The soviet army was largely drunk, drugged, and felt the war was pointless.

As a soldier in the USSR, you realized that the system creates lies to motivate and incentivize productive behaviour. The USSR lied to its public claiming that there was no war but that their soldiers were building schools. Controversially, the USSR would not allow people to write on their son’s gravestone regarding where that son had died: Afghanistan. Gorbachev had to explain what the point of the war was: they needed to find a process for escape. It was difficult to withdraw from Afghanistan. What kind of government would emerge without the USSR in Afhgnistan? The USSR chose a new leader in Afghanistan named Nagibula. They needed a peace initiative with the Mujahadeen. The USSR needed US support. But Reagan wanted to make the USSR pay for Vietnam. The Mujahadeen were given USSR weapons by increasing US aid. Ultimately, the USSR was punished brutally in this war.

USSR WAR IN AFGHANISTAN 1979 – 1988 Part 1

It was the Vietnam syndrome for the USSR as a superpower: impossible to run away from that country. Afghanistan is traditionally an Islamic nation. Afghanistan has a history of conquest and it became a focal-point for Cold War conflict. Afghanistan was strategically important for oil as well. US aided Islamic fundamentalists to counter-balance the USSR’s aggression.

In 1978 a communist government emerges. The Afghan government of Taraki looked to the Soviet Union for support. Moscow sent hundred of advisors, military trainers, and military supplies to Afghanistan in 1978 – 1979. Afghanistan was an agricultural country and the government advocated land reform allowing peasants to achieve egalitarian objectives. Women were encouraged to stop wearing veils and began schooling. The rural communities opposed these changes and the Mullahs felt that the communists were trying to destroy Islamic tradition. God must decide who is rich or poor according to the Mullahs. As retaliation against secularist communist repression, Mullahs attempted to burn schools. The Kabul Taraki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nur_Muhammad_Taraki) government was trying to build socialism for 5 years running, the regime was vastly ignorant of rural Afghanistan. There was a holy war declared against the godless communist government of Afghanistan. At the same time, Russia was feared to move south into Afghanistan to seize oil in Iran as was feared by Jimmy Carter. The Shahs fall in Iran meant the US had few allies in the region. The US gave covert aid in July 1979 to the Mujahadeen.

The invasion by the USSR into Afghanistan was an affront against US foreign policy interests. The Afghanistan government was replaced by Amin however, he realized that the USSR wanted him out. The Russians were concerned that Amin would ask for US assistance and support US invasion. Russian sent troops in after Americans had deployed cruise missiles to threaten the USSR’s military superiority in the region. The Politburo in the USSR a) feared Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan, b) if the USSR did not enter Afghanistan some one else would, c) there was instability between the USSR/Afghanistan border. KGB special-forces killed Amin in his palace.

Karmal was the president of Afghanistan. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was seen as a threat to world order because it was the first invasion outside of the Warsaw Pact. Jimmy Carter issued a threat that if the USSR invaded Pakistan or Iran he would respond with Nuclear War. The soviet invasion was widely condemned at the UN. The 1980 Moscow Olympics were boycotted. The US supported the Mujahadeen in a clandestine manner: God was on their side. The idea was to allow for the bleeding of the USSR in Afghanistan. US bought Soviet arms from Czechloslovakia (corrupt), Egypt, and China. Pakistan wanted a strongly Islamic neighbour even with nuclear weapons interests and drugs as long as the Afghan resistance was supported.