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Old 02-03-2009, 04:41 PM
 
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here in America, we were taught to fear the Soviet Union. we were made to fear that the Soviet Union had the resources and the military might to invade the United States. we even had movies like Red Dawn and bad a bad TV show called Amerika which depicted a Russian invasion of the U.S.

in hindsight, it is clear that the Soviet Union never had the resources, logistics, or military capability to attack and occupy the United States. IF ANYTHING, the opposite was more feasible - not saying that it was at all feasible.

so my question is this: in Russia, during the cold war, was there ever a perception that the United States had the intent to invade the Soviet Union? were people taught to fear the United States of America as an evil empire hell bent on conquering Russia and it's allies? was the perception that the United States possessed military supremacy or was the perception that the Soviet Union enjoyed military superiority? what was your perception of the American people?
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linson View Post
here in America, we were taught to fear the Soviet Union. we were made to fear that the Soviet Union had the resources and the military might to invade the United States. we even had movies like Red Dawn and bad a bad TV show called Amerika which depicted a Russian invasion of the U.S.

in hindsight, it is clear that the Soviet Union never had the resources, logistics, or military capability to attack and occupy the United States. IF ANYTHING, the opposite was more feasible - not saying that it was at all feasible.

so my question is this: in Russia, during the cold war, was there ever a perception that the United States had the intent to invade the Soviet Union? were people taught to fear the United States of America as an evil empire hell bent on conquering Russia and it's allies? was the perception that the United States possessed military supremacy or was the perception that the Soviet Union enjoyed military superiority? what was your perception of the American people?
A few things:

1) From its founding, the Soviet Union considered all non-Communist nations hostile. Trotsky originally wanted a permenent revolution (i.e. invading non-Communist countries) believing that Communism could never be achieved unless all capitalist nations were eliminated. Keep in mind that according to Marx; Communism has to be a world wide system and there can be NO non-communist entities for it to work. Now, since Trotsky was run out of the country by Stalin and since he was an intellectual and played second fiddle during the Lenin years, a lot of people assume that Trotsky would have been a less bloody and warlike, but that is not the case. He just sat back and claimed that he would have been a far more humane leader than Stalin, when his actions and rhetoric during the Revolution and Lenin years shows that was certainly not the case.

2) The Soviet Union had a long history of aggression and meddling in other nations affairs for its entire history. I know the US has not exactly been non-interventionist for much of its history, but the Soviets attacked many of its neighbors, installed puppet governments, and funded a number of political organizations, terrorist groups, and guerrilla armies. During the pre-war years, the Soviet Union invaded Poland (the USSR was allied with Nazi Germany at the time), invaded Finland, and threatened most of its neighbors. After WWII, the Soviet Union turned the territory it captured into several vassel states. In the post-war years, the Soviet Union funded the Viet Minh, the Viet Cong, various Palestinian groups, Communist militant groups in Asia and South America, and provided funds to a number Communist parties in Western nations through COMINTERN

3) The Soviet Union's economy didn't start showing signs of slowing down until the early 70s. Considering the USSR was less developed than most Western countries meant that its rapid industrialization was even more dramatic in terms of yearly GNP growth. During the 30s to the late 60s many people were talking WHEN the USSR's economy would be larger than America's economy. Also, during the first years of the Space Race, the Soviets made a number of remarkable advancements that put the West on edge. Sputnik? First animal in space? First man in space? Do any of these ring a bell?

4) The Soviet military was massive. It varied between being twice the size of the US military to about five times the size of the US military during the Cold War. Keep in mind that the military's size would dramatically increase in the event of world war (if it didn't turn into a nuclear exchange, of course). Much like the military of the nations involved in the Second World War, the nation would be put on a war footing if the Cold War turned hot. The USSR's economy and infrastructure was basically built around the possibility of a Third World War. Granted, the Soviet military would not be able to place more than maybe 30,000 lightly armed soldiers on North America as it was and both Canada and the US would be able to handle them easily (conventional military wisdom states that you need a ratio of 3:1 when attacking a force of equal quality to ensure success and both nation had better training and military equipment than the Soviets). BUT if there was another world war, it is entirely plausible that the USSR would be able to eventually build the ships and other materials needed to invade the North American mainland.

5) Communists had a reputation of waging warfare in some of the most brutal way imaginable. Granted that war is usually cruel and always brutal, but Communists tend to be more brutal than most. Keep in mind that Communist partisans always liked to make horrific examples of "class enemies" and "enemies of the people". I think it has something to do with blaming all the world's ills on vaguely defined scapgoats. Small business owners and peasents have been declared enemies in Communist countries and have been subjected to rape, torture, detention, and execution. Also, look at how the Red Army acted on the Eastern Front. They acted with brutality and cruelty that almost rivaled the Nazis, with mass rape of not only of women of enemy nations, but also Poland and even the occupied lands of the Soviet Union.

There were very good reasons to fear the Soviet Union and it was by no means the helpless, impotent nation you seem to suggest.

The Soviets did have a bit of a fear of US and the West in general. One factor was Marxist-Leninist doctrine which as I mentioned before states that capitalism and communism cannot co-exist and it was only a matter of time before one attempts to destroy the other.

Another fear they had was typical Russian paranoia of outsiders. Although the Soviet Union was multi-ethnic, it was still dominated by Russians, who tend to be wary of non-Russians. This is not entirely unreasonable since Russia has suffered from an average of an invasion every 50 years throughout its entire history and they have been some of the most destructive invasions in all of history.

Also, the Soviets felt the Americans were unpredictable and never knew how they would react. For example, Khruschev's "we will bury you" remark was just a kind of bombastic rhetoric that is not uncommon in Russia, but the American public took it as direct threat. Also, another instance was the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviets thought that it would just be a great propaganda tool and something to help tip the balance of power in their direction, but the US took it as a threat and as a sign that the USSR was planning a nuclear war in the very near future. Russians were used to being surrounded by hostile powers and armies and although they were never really comfortable about it, they never got too worried about it either, it was just the way things were. However, the US never had a such a threat that close to it and took it as a direct sign of aggression and started preparing for war. The Soviets had no idea that was going to happen and both sides almost got into a nuclear exchange because both sides misread the other. The Americans weren't going to let the nuclear missiles of a hostile nation that close to its territory and the Soviets didn't want to back down publically, so they agreed to remove the missiles if the US would remove its IRBMs from Turkey a few months later.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linson View Post
^^^ it sounds like you know a bit about history. it also sounds like you are a blow-hard and not half as smart as you think you are...

the purpose was to solicite the perspective of a person who grew up in the USSR during this time, not to solicite this type of verbal masturbation from you.

^ sorry about all that. i do appreciate your input, just not the condescending tone that you take with me in parts of your post.

No problem. I can dish it out, but I'll take it in stride. No hard feelings.

do any of these ring a bell? you talk to me as though you think i am a moron. duh, no - i wasnt aware of any of that stuff. whatever makes you feel smart.

Sorry about that. My point was that the Soviet Union was (for a brief time) ahead of the US and it would be foolhardy to merely dismiss or underestimate the Soviet threat and technological ability.

in what way did i suggest such a thing? if you were'nt so worked up in this (written) verbal masturbation of yours, you'd probably have a better perspective.

i didnt suggest that they were impotent and helpless. i am suggesting that
1. the United States of America is a nation surrounded by vast oceans.

So was Japan in World War Two, but the US eventually reached them once it built up its armed forces.

2. while Soviet land forces outnumbered the land forces of the United States, the U.S. had air superiority(not necessarilly in numbers, but air superiority nonetheless) and absolute naval supremacy. the Soviet Union was a land power. that's not saying the Soviets were weak, that's saying it takes a lot of boats and planes to attack and occupy overseas.

Those nations were US allies at the time. To merely abandon those nations would cause the US to lose all credibility AND would make the Soviet Union far more powerful in both soft power (cultural, international image, etc.) and hard power (economic and military). So it would make the US appear impotent (which could ironically cause the Soviets to assume the US was unwilling to fight and invite an attack) and it would give the Soviets more allies, money, and technology.

3. the Soviet Unions military movements were monitered by the United States, and Americas military movements were monitered by the Soviet Union.

Yes. But that doesn't mean that a war couldn't break.

4. therefore, an effective, large-scale, sneak attack invasion of the the USA would have been unfeasible, and an overt invasion would likely have been repelled.

Who said it would be a sneak invasion? Only guilty pleasures like "Red Dawn" make it appear that way. The idea is that a world war could lead to the invasion of the US. The funny thing about wars are that it takes only one party to start. Peace requires everyone to agree not to kill each other, but a war can be caused by only one actor.

5. while America was surrounded by oceans, the Soviet Union was surrounded by enemies, and potential enemies.

Yes, which traditionally makes nations MORE warlike and willing to strike. Israel is also surrounded by enemies and potential enemies and has a reputation of striking first because it gives the nation its biggest advantages when it does so.

6. it was us who had nuclear weapons and military forces on their borders - Western Europe, Japan, South Korea, Turkey - not to mention the presense of the emerging power, China. our forces were defensive in nature, and an attack upon the Soviet Union probably wouldnt have been a winning strategy in 1955 or 1985, but it would have been more feasible to pull off than a Russian invasion of North America is all i'm sayin'.

The point I made before was that the Soviet Union was never able to invade the US or even most of Western Europe with the forces at its disposal, but rather in the event of a world war (that could be started by either party) it is conceivable that they could. The US in 1940 was not able to do anything near what it did by 1945, it had an army smaller than current day Canada. But when the war was over it had the second largest armed forces and built the tanks, planes, and ships needed to fight Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Plus any invasion would probably be from Eastern Russia into Alaska through Canada and then to the Midwest. It would be a shorter route from Vladivistok to the Western US than from St. Petersburg to the Eastern seaboard.

The entire Soviet economy was built around the possibility of a Third World War. It wasn't able to launch such a major war as is, but every factory was built with it possibly being put toward military production in mind. Radio factories could double as grenade and military communication equipment factories, pesticide plants would double as chemical weapons plants, tool factories could double as AK factories, and so on. It's the main reason why the Soviet Union put so few resources towards consumer goods, because it would be harder to convert those facilities.

7. our cold war era military technology was superior to that of the Soviets. i'm talking '80's. that was proven in the first Gulf War. an American pilot flying an F-15 would probably have shot down a lot of MiGs. an AH64 Apache gunship would have (without question) destroyed a lot of T-80's.

Iraq's military was woefully unprepared to fight the Coalition. Even its Western weapons like the South African G5 howitzer (which is an excellent weapon developed by the late Gerald Bull) didn't perform up to task.

I have no disagreements about the inferior quality of many Soviet made weapons, but when used properly, those same weapons are more effective than you think. The T-80 is a pretty tough tank, a lot tougher than the T-72 that was used by Iraq in the Gulf War. The Mil-24 Hind would have killed a lot of M113s and M2s. And the MiG-29 and Su-27 are much more nimble than the F-15 and F-16 and their short-range AAM is more accurate (which is rare in Soviet made weapon) than the Sidewinder.

Keep in mind the Soviet mindset as well. "Quantitiy has a quality of its own." Which was said by Lenin or Stalin (it's been attributed to both). They knew they could not match Western designs for most weapons, so they made cheaper and easier to use weapons and intended to overrun their enemies, even if it meant massive losses. In World War 2 (barring WMDs, WWIII would be very similar in many ways), the Soviets generally had inferior equipment, the T-34 was a pretty good tank when they ironed out the bugs, but most of it was terrible, but they won because they used numbers and cheap weapons to their advantage.

Russian military strategy has also been a lot less bothered by heavy losses than the West. Russians have accepted heavy losses as a fact of war and when combined with dictators and tyrants (especially ones to hold the state above all other concerns) they would be willing to lose millions of their own soldiers if it means victory.

8. there is no doubt in my military mind that the Soviets could have over-ran West-Berlin and invaded Western Europe or any other nation on the Eurasian land mass, but the United States - i dont think so. i think we were inoctrinated with fear in order to justify large scale military spending. i'm thinking that the Russian people probably were too.

I don't think the fear was that irrational and if the circumstances were right, the USSR could have pulled off an invasion. It wouldn't be a surprise invasion. More along the lines of World War Two, a gradual destruction of NATO forces after a massive jolt to the war machine until the enemy is finally destroyed.
My text is in bold.
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linson View Post
in hindsight, it is clear that the Soviet Union never had the resources, logistics, or military capability to attack and occupy the United States. IF ANYTHING, the opposite was more feasible - not saying that it was at all feasible. ?
Well this thread started well, looks like we are missing some posts here.

But anyways, sorry didn't grow up in the USSR, but I beg to differ on the above comment and analysis - USSR was a military threat. Not necessisarily regarding a direct invasion to the U.S., but an invasion to western europe and via nuclear warfare and of course sattelite puppet nation expansion. There were definetly two competing superpowers at that time.
But also we had a free press and free speach wich tended to moderate any extreme harsh opinions of USSR beyond the usual political rhetoric.
I think you will find, without the benefit of a free press and just due to the nature of the Russian nation and citizens, that USSR mistrust of the U.S. can't even compare to the US.

I will agree with one thing however - the level of Russian advancement in military hardware was so backward by the time of the early or mid 80's compared to the U.S. that they were not a large scale conventional warfare threat anymore. That can be seen in the dismal performance of russian made tanks and MIGS during the first Gulf War compared to our equivalent tanks and fighters.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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^ sorry if this sounds arguementative, but you say you disagree with my statement and then you parrot it.
Quote:
Not necessisarily regarding a direct invasion to the U.S., but an invasion to western europe and via nuclear warfare and of course sattelite puppet nation expansion
as far as the threat, the premis of a direct invasion was all i was talking about. all i said was that an invasion of the United States was not really feasible, as many (especially children) were led to beleive in the 1980's. obviously, there nuclear weapons were a threat.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:42 PM
 
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Quote:
No problem. I can dish it out, but I'll take it in stride. No hard feelings.
no problem. i'm over it.


Quote:
Sorry about that. My point was that the Soviet Union was (for a brief time) ahead of the US and it would be foolhardy to merely dismiss or underestimate the Soviet threat and technological ability.
understood. i didnt mean to come off that way. i'm fairly aware of the Soviet technological advancements and those timelines in question.


Quote:
i didnt suggest that they were impotent and helpless. i am suggesting that
1. the United States of America is a nation surrounded by vast oceans.


So was Japan in World War Two, but the US eventually reached them once it built up its armed forces.
okay...you are apparently thinking along the premis that direct conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union would have not gone nuclear, which is in doubt. also, you seem to beleive (wrongly, IMO) that in (lets assume 1985) WWIII would be fought similarly to WWII. during WWII, our industrial capability, our capability to produce ships and planes was untouched by the Japanese or the Germans. our cities were not bombed. they did not have planes that could penetrate our airspace due to sheer distance. the Japanese had to rely on the Jet Stream to carry bombs strapped to hot air balloons in order to drop ordinance on North America. i think that by the mid eighties (probably by the late sixties even) WWIII would have been "come as you are."

Quote:
2. while Soviet land forces outnumbered the land forces of the United States, the U.S. had air superiority(not necessarilly in numbers, but air superiority nonetheless) and absolute naval supremacy. the Soviet Union was a land power. that's not saying the Soviets were weak, that's saying it takes a lot of boats and planes to attack and occupy overseas.

Those nations were US allies at the time. To merely abandon those nations would cause the US to lose all credibility AND would make the Soviet Union far more powerful in both soft power (cultural, international image, etc.) and hard power (economic and military). So it would make the US appear impotent (which could ironically cause the Soviets to assume the US was unwilling to fight and invite an attack) and it would give the Soviets more allies, money, and technology.
honestly, i'm not sure what you were responding to in that one ^, but assuming that youre talking about Western Europe, i see your point and tend to agree.

Quote:
3. the Soviet Unions military movements were monitered by the United States, and Americas military movements were monitered by the Soviet Union.
Yes. But that doesn't mean that a war couldn't break.
yes. i know. it means an overseas invasion of the United States would be all the more impossible to pull off.

Quote:
4. therefore, an effective, large-scale, sneak attack invasion of the the USA would have been unfeasible, and an overt invasion would likely have been repelled.

Who said it would be a sneak invasion? Only guilty pleasures like "Red Dawn" make it appear that way. The idea is that a world war could lead to the invasion of the US. The funny thing about wars are that it takes only one party to start. Peace requires everyone to agree not to kill each other, but a war can be caused by only one actor.
i'm saying that as ridiculous as the sneak attack scenario is, it was probably always the scenario that was depicted because the overt scenario has even more holes in it. the biggest one of course being that there is no land border between the United States and the former Soviet Union.
Quote:
5. while America was surrounded by oceans, the Soviet Union was surrounded by enemies, and potential enemies.

Yes, which traditionally makes nations MORE warlike and willing to strike. Israel is also surrounded by enemies and potential enemies and has a reputation of striking first because it gives the nation its biggest advantages when it does so.
means, opportunity, and intent. warlike demeanor and willingness to strike doesnt give a land power the ability to invade and conquer a country on another continent which also happens to be the 4th largest and 1st most powerful nation on Earth.

Quote:
6. it was us who had nuclear weapons and military forces on their borders - Western Europe, Japan, South Korea, Turkey - not to mention the presense of the emerging power, China. our forces were defensive in nature, and an attack upon the Soviet Union probably wouldnt have been a winning strategy in 1955 or 1985, but it would have been more feasible to pull off than a Russian invasion of North America is all i'm sayin'.

The point I made before was that the Soviet Union was never able to invade the US or even most of Western Europe with the forces at its disposal, but rather in the event of a world war (that could be started by either party) it is conceivable that they could. The US in 1940 was not able to do anything near what it did by 1945, it had an army smaller than current day Canada. But when the war was over it had the second largest armed forces and built the tanks, planes, and ships needed to fight Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Plus any invasion would probably be from Eastern Russia into Alaska through Canada and then to the Midwest. It would be a shorter route from Vladivistok to the Western US than from St. Petersburg to the Eastern seaboard.

The entire Soviet economy was built around the possibility of a Third World War. It wasn't able to launch such a major war as is, but every factory was built with it possibly being put toward military production in mind. Radio factories could double as grenade and military communication equipment factories, pesticide plants would double as chemical weapons plants, tool factories could double as AK factories, and so on. It's the main reason why the Soviet Union put so few resources towards consumer goods, because it would be harder to convert those facilities
.
and this is a point upon which we disagree. you presume that worldwide warfare would have been largely unchanged since 1945, and i presume that war would have been waged much differently. you suggest that one of the two superpowers could emerge from such a conflict stronger and wealthier, and i beleive to the contrary.

Quote:
7. our cold war era military technology was superior to that of the Soviets. i'm talking '80's. that was proven in the first Gulf War. an American pilot flying an F-15 would probably have shot down a lot of MiGs. an AH64 Apache gunship would have (without question) destroyed a lot of T-80's.

Iraq's military was woefully unprepared to fight the Coalition. Even its Western weapons like the South African G5 howitzer (which is an excellent weapon developed by the late Gerald Bull) didn't perform up to task.
they were unprepared to fight U.S. airpower, period. and they were unprepared to fight U.S. lead ground forces in a conventional war.

Quote:
I have no disagreements about the inferior quality of many Soviet made weapons, but when used properly, those same weapons are more effective than you think. The T-80 is a pretty tough tank, a lot tougher than the T-72 that was used by Iraq in the Gulf War. The Mil-24 Hind would have killed a lot of M113s and M2s. And the MiG-29 and Su-27 are much more nimble than the F-15 and F-16 and their short-range AAM is more accurate (which is rare in Soviet made weapon) than the Sidewinder.
T80's and Ukranian T84's, well, tanks in general do not withstand Hellfire missiles. tanks in general are pretty helpless against helecopters and fixed wing aircraft (A-10) Soviet AAM: they copied the sidewinder, then they improved upon it. the Fulcrum and the Flanker are both very good, very capable aircraft. they (the Fulcrum anyway) was no match for the F-15's radar and long range Sparrow missiles. not to discount Soviet air power, but the U.S. Airforce would have owned the sky, and the only way to prevent that would have been to use nuclear weapons against U.S/NATO air bases. then you're into that whole end of the world thang.

Quote:
Keep in mind the Soviet mindset as well. "Quantitiy has a quality of its own." Which was said by Lenin or Stalin (it's been attributed to both). They knew they could not match Western designs for most weapons, so they made cheaper and easier to use weapons and intended to overrun their enemies, even if it meant massive losses. In World War 2 (barring WMDs, WWIII would be very similar in many ways), the Soviets generally had inferior equipment, the T-34 was a pretty good tank when they ironed out the bugs, but most of it was terrible, but they won because they used numbers and cheap weapons to their advantage.

Russian military strategy has also been a lot less bothered by heavy losses than the West. Russians have accepted heavy losses as a fact of war and when combined with dictators and tyrants (especially ones to hold the state above all other concerns) they would be willing to lose millions of their own soldiers if it means victory
.
again, i disagree about the likely similarities between World Wars II and III.

every army is stronger on paper than in reality. this is especially true of the Cold War Era Soviet Military.

the T34 was overall, the best tank of WWII, barring the Tiger II's which werent produced in sufficient numbers to deal with the T34s.


Quote:
8. there is no doubt in my military mind that the Soviets could have over-ran West-Berlin and invaded Western Europe or any other nation on the Eurasian land mass, but the United States - i dont think so. i think we were inoctrinated with fear in order to justify large scale military spending. i'm thinking that the Russian people probably were too.
I don't think the fear was that irrational and if the circumstances were right, the USSR could have pulled off an invasion. It wouldn't be a surprise invasion. More along the lines of World War Two, a gradual destruction of NATO forces after a massive jolt to the war machine until the enemy is finally destroyed.
irrational for an everyday citizen? maybe. unrealistic? definitely. to have gone through life then thinking that "the Russians were coming" was ill-informed and unrealistic. to maintain that perception today, with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, is irrational.

Last edited by Linson; 02-04-2009 at 11:50 PM..
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:19 PM
 
Location: down south
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Originally Posted by Linson View Post
here in America, we were taught to fear the Soviet Union. we were made to fear that the Soviet Union had the resources and the military might to invade the United States. we even had movies like Red Dawn and bad a bad TV show called Amerika which depicted a Russian invasion of the U.S.

in hindsight, it is clear that the Soviet Union never had the resources, logistics, or military capability to attack and occupy the United States. IF ANYTHING, the opposite was more feasible - not saying that it was at all feasible.

so my question is this: in Russia, during the cold war, was there ever a perception that the United States had the intent to invade the Soviet Union? were people taught to fear the United States of America as an evil empire hell bent on conquering Russia and it's allies? was the perception that the United States possessed military supremacy or was the perception that the Soviet Union enjoyed military superiority? what was your perception of the American people?

You can't separate Soviet Union from Imperial Russia, nor can you just look at Soviet Union through Communism vs Capitalism angle. Remember, every time there was a world war, Russia was the target of invasion: invaded by Napoleon, invaded by imperial Germany during 1st world war, invaded by Nazi Germany during 2nd world war. And each time, Russia ended up winning with horrendously losses. Why do you think Soviet Union insisted on controlling east European countries and placed her best troops over there? Why do you think even during supposedly "democratic" 90s (I never buy the borderline propaganda sold by cable news regarding Putin being an autocrat while Yeltsin being a democrat, unless you believe enriching a small cadre of oligarchs and using tank cannon to fire at parliament building the sign of being a democrat. Russia is a very different place and practices a very different brand of politics, as Colin Powell once said: Putin could and would have won Russian presidency no matter how elections were conducted. I personally believe Putin's seemly "autocratic" policies are more of an attempt to impose some sort of order on a chaotic post-Soviet Russia. ). Russia still strongly opposed to NATO's expansion into east Europe. Hard geopolitical politics doesn't change along with domestic politics. Soviet Union domestic propaganda surely emphasized the decadent side of West and the achievement of Soviet Union. But among its elites, there was a keen awareness that Soviet Union was under the threat of invasion, with all the historical precedences, you can't say that their fear was not at least somewhat justified. There wasn't just Warsaw group that practiced Communism, Cuba was a communist country, North Korea was Communist country, China was Communist, Vietnam was Communist, etc. But none of those countries had their domestic politics under Soviet direct control. Castro was the true master of Cuba, not members of Politburo in Moscow, Mao controlled Chinese politics, and Kim was the biggest name in North Korea. But in east Europe, the true master was Moscow, not Warsaw, not Berlin, certainly not capital of other smaller East European countries, Why?? Because in Soviet strategic design, east Europe was the battlefield on which the third world war, at least the european theater of the third world war would be fought. That's why the tight control and lack of tolerance of any kind of dissidence. Even today, Russia reacts much more strongly to attempts by the West to encircle Russia, Russia clearly views US attempt to deploy missile defense in East Europe as vital threat to Russian security. Russia directly invaded Georgia, you didn't see US invade any of the left-leaning Latin American countries. You can not explain it by claiming America to be a less aggressive nation by nature (ask Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, Panama or even Somalia, US has never shied away from resorting to force to protect its vital strategic interests). Russia reacted so strongly because Russia indeed feels west is encircling Russia and attempting to strip away the most important deterrence Russia
has, namely, Russia's nuclear arsenal. I don't see Russia's recent series seemly very aggressive attempts to reassert control as an sign that Russia is trying to rebuild Soviet Union, even if it's part of the objective, it's certainly not the primary objective. I see it more of a push-back against relentless Western squeeze of Russia and relentless western expansion toward Russian border. Again, history clearly shows Russia is extremely likely to be the target of an invasion. That's why Russia is so sensitive, that's why I believe whatever Soviet or Russian rhetoric or domestic propaganda may be during the cold war or now, Soviet Union or Russia has a much more real fear of invasion than the US.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Rural Northern California
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Originally Posted by Linson View Post


T80's and Ukranian T84's, well, tanks in general do not withstand Hellfire missiles. tanks in general are pretty helpless against helecopters and fixed wing aircraft (A-10) Soviet AAM: they copied the sidewinder, then they improved upon it. the Fulcrum and the Flanker are both very good, very capable aircraft. they (the Fulcrum anyway) was no match for the F-15's radar and long range Sparrow missiles. not to discount Soviet air power, but the U.S. Airforce would have owned the sky, and the only way to prevent that would have been to use nuclear weapons against U.S/NATO air bases. then you're into that whole end of the world thang.
I think you're underestimating Soviet aircraft capability slightly. Their technology was very good, especially in regards to air to air missiles. The Russians did have medium range missiles of the Sparrow's caliber, and even had some long range weapons (for the Mig-25 and Mig-31 interceptors) that could compete with the AIM-54 (on paper at least, I'm not sure what their combat effectiveness would be against fighter-sized targets).

The Fulcrum is a solid little airplane, comparable in many ways to the F/A-18. It has decent multi-role capabilities and is extremely maneuverable, with a positive thrust/weight ratio. It's not meant to be an air-superiority fighter like the F-15, so I think it's a little unfair to match the two up. Given a dogfight (with equally skilled pilots) between a Mig-29 and F/A-18, I'd bet on the Mig. The fatal drawback with the Fulcrum however, is its lack of range.

I think at the end of the day, you're right to say that the U.S. would have prevailed in an air war against the U.S.S.R., but I think that has less to do with hardware and more to do with America's ability to control the air through AWACS and our generally more sophisticated command and control network (not to mention superior air crews).
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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OK, I think I can tell something here...
I was born in Soviet Union and I was a child during the Cold War.
So it would be just my feeling and memories, and I am not going to go deep down in the
History or try to compare weapons, political movements etc.
In two words: yes we were afraid of USA, or ar least the propaganda tried to make us afraid.
The main fear was that US may use nuclear weapon agains us, after all US was the
only country who used it during WW2 against Japan, which was not nesessary,
because the war was about to end anyway soon. So it was mostly for 2 reasons:
1. Make everybody afraid of US and its power
2. Do "live" test on the people.
So we better keep up with US in terms of army and new kinds of weapon.
I do not think that it was a fear of direct physical invasion,
but the point was that USSR has to be strong to protect its
integrity and independence. All others issues, such as NATO
expansion in the Europe was just following.
Another strong official point of view was that USSR knows too well
what actually war means. WW2 was just terrible and I can say that
every family in USSR was affected. Thats why they claimed that Soviet Union
will never start the war, but it will fight back.
So we were told that yes, USSR is not as rich and powerfull as US,
but because it is powerfull enough to protect itself.
There are some charts, what kind of weapon US has more or less,
but the main idea was that we are about the same(which may be not true, of course),
but to keep up everybody should work hard, do not complain about lack of something -
all kinds of BS.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:26 PM
 
Location: NYC area
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I grew up in the Soviet Union during the 1980's, so here is some info which might be helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linson View Post
we were made to fear that the Soviet Union had the resources and the military might to invade the United States.
I disagree. Even if the Soviet Union was not as advanced technologically, it had an advantage in being a totalitarian state with absolute control over its citizenry, industrial means of production, and the mass media. As such, it could mobilize its population for war and convert its industries to the war effort a lot easier than a liberal democracy like the US, without fear of peaceniks, anti-war protests, or public officials being voted out of office.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linson View Post
we even had movies like Red Dawn and bad a bad TV show called Amerika which depicted a Russian invasion of the U.S.
Well, we didn't have entertainment quite as inflammatory, but I was taught in school that America wants to nuke the whole world, and it's only a matter of time before it does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linson View Post
in hindsight, it is clear that the Soviet Union never had the resources, logistics, or military capability to attack and occupy the United States.
I think it probably had the resources, logistics and military capability to set up a puppet government, as it did in all those Eastern European countries. Most of the time, the USSR didn't actually occupy the Eastern Block -- but it sure had the means to have those governments do its bidding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linson View Post
IF ANYTHING, the opposite was more feasible - not saying that it was at all feasible.
Geographically and climatologically impossible. The last time Russia was actually occupied was in the 12th century -- and Russia then was a small fraction of its present size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linson View Post
so my question is this: in Russia, during the cold war, was there ever a perception that the United States had the intent to invade the Soviet Union?
Absolutely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linson View Post
were people taught to fear the United States of America as an evil empire hell bent on conquering Russia and it's allies?
Not to fear, per se -- to anticipate. Unlike in liberal democracies, the media in totalitarian states does not practice fear-mongering. Soviet papers were actually quite pleasant and exhilarating to read, if only you turned off your brain and ignored the fact that it was all BS. We were taught to anticipate a major confrontation, in which we, the Soviets, would naturally emerge victorious (duh), and the evil Americans would be crushed like bugs (duh), and every man, woman and child would have a chance to be heroic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linson View Post
was the perception that the United States possessed military supremacy or was the perception that the Soviet Union enjoyed military superiority?
Most people did not doubt that the US had technological supremacy -- due to better manufacturing quality, mind you, not the failure of human intelligence; for the USSR invested very heavily in technological and scientific education, and had plenty of specialists who could rival those of the US. But, the Soviets knew that what they lacked in gadgets, they more than made up for in ruthlessness, determination, disregard for the value of the human life (which gets you out of those pesky and time-consuming moral dilemmas), and sheer inventiveness. A lot of people felt that the more technologically advanced a society is, the more its citizens depend on tools, to the detriment of human intelligence -- and I think there is a grain of truth in that; pit someone who only knows how to push buttons against someone who can make spare car parts out of tin cans, and it's a no-brainer who will win. Besides, the Soviet society was much more Spartan, and we felt that merely taking away Americans' televisions and microwaves would be enough to bring most people to heel very nicely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linson View Post
what was your perception of the American people?
I mostly dwelled on how they had nicer stuff than us. (My family had friends whose friends had connections at the US Embassy, so occasionally, I got my hands on an issue of "America", a diplomatic propaganda magazine.) I certainly perceived them as being a lot more monolithic than they actually are.
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