The Wall Street Journal issued a brief but blistering editorial Thursday ripping into Donald Trump’s remarks early this week in which the president defended the Soviet’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. The paper, owned by longtime Trump ally Rupert Murdoch, called the comments “cracked history.”
“We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American President. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with three divisions in December 1979 to prop up a fellow communist government,” the editorial board wrote. “The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a defining event in the Cold War, making clear to all serious people the reality of the communist Kremlin’s threat.”
The paper also inveighed against Trump’s mockery of nations who sent soldiers to fight alongside the United States in Afghanistan, calling it a “slander” towards our closest international allies.
The two moments were highlights from a sprawling 90-minute cabinet meeting Trump held on Wednesday — complete with a “Game of Thrones” inspired poster. Trump — who has taken a notably sympathetic tone to Russia and their leader, Vladimir Putin — insisted the decades old conflict was necessary for the Soviet Union in order to repel terrorism.
“The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there,” he said.
The war, often known as the Soviet Union’s Vietnam, ended in defeat when they retreated in 1989 shortly before the total dissolution of the USSR. As the Wall Street Journal correctly pointed out, the conflict was an extension of the country’s Brezhnev Doctrine, which espoused their right to prevent Communist aligned governments from leaving the Soviet Sphere of influence.