Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Waiting on the Fat Lady


Surprising, yet appropriate, how little the wars of yesteryear matter anymore.

Today I learned that my Hungarian boss had, in his youth, served in the Warsaw Pact.  This possibility had only dimly occurred to me when I asked him at lunch how old he was when the Berlin Wall came down.  When he told me, I felt . . . nothing, which surprised me considering how seriously I took the Cold War at the time.  Indeed, as well I should have, but it’s a new day, with new enemies.

He had received his initial military education in the Soviet Union.

“What did they teach you about Afghanistan?” I asked.

“Not much, actually.  I was headed to be a staff officer, so we focused on the broad spectrum of military power, not counterinsurgency.  But just about all my instructors were Afghan vets, and most had injuries to show for it.”

“Most of my instructors I had right before coming over here were the same way.”

“I saw the Soviet military,” he continued, “and I’ve seen the American military.  Both of you are very strong, very capable.”

“And yet,” I argued, “we seem to be making much more headway against Afghanistan’s insurgency than they did.”

“It’s not over yet,” he replied, darkly.


Justin said...

lol, typical Russian pessimism.

Dexter said...

During the Cold War I never had any animus towards the Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, or Rumanians. They were captive nations held in subjection by Soviet bayonets, and they would have escaped thralldom if they could. On top of that, their military capability was pretty laughable. The Hungarians and Rumanians disgraced themselves on the Don River in late 1942, and there was no reason to think they were much better as Soviet puppets than they were as German puppets.