NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
31st December, 1979 : The Soviet move into Afghanistan has become an invasion, with a rapid built-up today of Red Army divisions and the fall of the Government in Kabul. The new Afghan leader was named as Babrak Karmal, who has been in exile in Prague. The invasion began on Christmas Eve when a crack Soviet unit seized Kabul airport. This opened up the way for a massive airlift of Soviet troops and equipment. In Kabul, a special KGB hit squad assaulted the city’s Darulaman Palace, gunning down the Communist leader Hafizullah Amin and his immediate family. Kremlin is claiming that its forces were “requested to render urgent political, moral, military and economic assistance” to Afghanistan.
31st December, 1919 : A highly critical study of the Versailles Peace Treaty, by the 36-years-old economist, John Maynard Keynes, is now the economics “book of the year”. The author, a wartime Whitehall official, was the Treasury representative in Paris until June, when he resigned to write The Economic Consequences of the Peace. The bite of his analysis is that the Paris Treaty settles only political grudges and will create chaos by depressing German and other European economies.
[And with those cheerful memories we end the year 2012 and look forward (Obama/Gillard style) to 2013.]