A Soviet Good Neighbor Policy: The Communists in Afghanistan Before 1979

Date Range
Event Sponsor
Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies
CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
Center for South Asia
Encina Commons 123
615 Crothers Way

Before the Soviet invasion of 1979, Afghanistan represented a Cold War battleground.  Across three decades, the Soviet bloc engaged in a far-reaching, ambitious project to prevent Afghanistan’s absorption into the ranks of its adversaries.  Drawing from his recent book on U.S. efforts in pre-cataclysm Afghanistan and harnessing research from archives on either side of the Iron Curtain, Robert Rakove examines the motivations, perceptions, and choices of the communist states in Afghanistan, culminating in the disastrous choices of 1979.  

Robert Rakove is a lecturer in International Relations at Stanford, where he has taught since 2012.  He received his doctorate in History from the University of Virginia and has held fellowships at the University of Sydney and the Ohio State University.  He is the author of Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World, published in 2012 by Cambridge University Press.  His new book, Days of Opportunity: The United States and Afghanistan Before the Soviet Invasion chronicles U.S. policy in Afghanistan across the early and middle Cold War.