The history lesson the Russians failed to learn

By Joel Mathis, The Week

It sure seems like we’ve seen the Russo-Ukrainian war before — the story of a seemingly superior Great Power military invading an apparently weaker underdog nation, only to find itself stymied by the irregular tactics and fierce nationalism of the defenders. “The Russians were not ready for unconventional warfare,” Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told The Washington Post, adding, “They are not sure how to deal with this insurgency, guerilla-warfare-type situation.”

If that’s the case, Russian leaders have short memories.

They should remember the Soviet Union’s doomed war against Afghanistan, which ended in 1989 after a decade of brutal fighting against insurgents. For that matter, weren’t they watching just a few months ago when the United States exited Afghanistan, undone by the exact same dynamic? Is nobody paying attention?


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