In recent years, especially with the clumsy US withdrawal, there were many talks about Afghanistan being the so-called “graveyard of empires”. The term, once limited to popular books and mass media, even penetrated scholarly circles. It seems to be a part of international popular culture, probably the most common trope and supposed fact known about the Afghani nation. This poses an important question about Afghanistan - is it really a graveyard of empires?
After the United States faced defeat in the Vietnam War it seemed like both Cold War superpowers learned their lesson - do not interfere in unnecessary conflicts, especially when those are a civil war. However, in late 1979 the USSR repeated the American mistake, leading to the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan that would end in a defeat nearly a decade later. What went wrong and why is it sometimes considered a greater failure than Vietnam?
With the recent 35th anniversary of a disaster, popular series about it as well as recent signs of renewed heating up, Chernobyl once again came under the spotlight. Even without such recent trends, as the most serious nuclear disaster in human history, the Chernobyl meltdown is without a doubt a topic that has a long half-life. However, most research and stories revolve either upon what caused the catastrophe or the effects of its radiation on health and ecology.
The USSR has been unarguably one of the most significant factors of the 20th century, leaving a substantial mark on world history. It was one of two world superpowers and a leader of the communist bloc in the Cold War, without mentioning other various aspects and contributions to science, culture, technology, etc. Often depicted as a “world’s bad guy” and dubbed the Red Giant as a menacing figure indicating its leading ideology, most of the world thought the Soviet Union was a strong and stable nation that would endure for a long time.