History is often ironic. And in what one can only see as a grim historic irony, Afghanistan asked Russia for help: from economy to training and equipping Afghan military. Here we go again, don't we? Will Russia respond favorably to this request? Possibly, and this will be totally justified from the geopolitical point of view, but the times when Soviet Union built most of Afghanistan infrastructure for ideological and humanitarian reasons are gone. Today Russia likes to be truly compensated for what she does and this is the only way. Does Afghanistan have money to pay for Russia's services? Probably not. But some sort of compensation may be worked out and Afghanistan will have to provide some important geopolitical favors to Russia. In the end, Russians know damn well that in Afghanistan no matter how much good you do you will end being an enemy. As the summary of Paul Robinson's and Jay Dixon's book states:
The Soviet Union provided Afghanistan with large-scale economic and technical assistance for nearly twenty-five years before invading in 1979 and then in- creased the volume of assistance even further during the 1980s in an effort to prop up the government and undermine the anti-Soviet insurgency. None of this aid made any lasting difference to Afghan poverty. As in so many other countries, foreign aid did not promote economic growth. Using unexplored Russian sources, this book describes and analyses the economic and technical assistance programs run by the Soviet Union from the mid-1950s through to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and places them in the context of both Soviet-era development theories and more recent ideas about the role of institutions in fostering economic growth. In some respects Soviet development theorists were actually ahead of their contemporary Western counterparts in realizing the centrality of institution-building, but they proved unable to translate their theories into practical solutions. The reasons why their assistance programs failed so completely in Afghanistan remain compellingly relevant today.
I think Russia is not going to repeat mistakes of the past.
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