Sunday, January 1, 2012

This Day in History January 2, 1980

In order to appreciate this day in history, I think I need to give you some background information.  (Well, I know I need it, so maybe you do, too.)  If you were around in 1979, you might remember the Cold War that existed between the U.S. and the USSR (Russia).  They were Communist, and things were tense between us and them.  Even I remember that!

In December of 1979, Russian paratroopers landed in Kabul Afghanistan, a country that was already in civil war.  The Muslims were against the current Prime Minister who wanted the country to become more Westernized.  According to the Russians, the Prime Minister had invited them to the country to support him and work against the terrorist Muslims.

On December 27, 1979, the Russians shot the Prime Minister and replaced him with someone the Russians liked.  He needed 85,000 Russian soldiers so he could remain in power.  President Carter's press secretary called  this Russian action "a serious threat to peace."

It was on this date in 1980 that President Carter's administration made some serious changes in his administration concerning the Soviet Union.  He stopped talks with them concerning the nuclear arms treaty, and he recalled the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union.  The actions were intended to point out to the USSR that the military action in Afghanistan was unacceptable.

In addition to these measures, Carter's administration considered boycotting the 1980 Summer Olympics that were to be held in Moscow.  He also considered trade restrictions against Russia.  And indeed he followed through.  There was a ban on grain export to Russia, and the Summer Games were boycotted.

Indeed, this was a difficult time in our nation's history.  I do not remember this exact date in our history, but I know that things were pretty tense between the two countries.  I remember my amazement when it was announced that the Soviet Union collapsed.  I thought it would never happen.  I am so glad that we never went to war with USSR.  I think much life would have been lost.

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