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    are we there yet?..., 2007-02-20 21:23:50 | Main | Jon Schwarz on the significanc..., 2007-02-21 19:02:56

    big spigots:

    Charlie Wilson's War, p.269:

    Of Wilson's $50 million, $38 million went the Chinese. The pipeline to the mujahideen suddenly filled up with a quantity of goods unimaginable just a year before. By late fall 1984, cargo ships filled with Soviet-designed weapons began moving from Shanghai, disguised as junks for the 5,200-nautical-mile run to Karachi.

    This Chinese spigot of Soviet weaponry is prolly the big headline grabber of this book for me, I don't remember reading anything about it in the reviews though. The Saudis? MI6? Israel? Egypt? Afghan heroin sales to fund the contras? Sure, but the Chinese? Never heard that one before.

    The real significance of this was apparently something like the wal-mart effect: China was not only manufacturing the weapons but selling them at close to cost - a third the market rate - which had the effect of tripling the buying power of ever dollar being spent on Soviet modelled weaponry. After you figure that that $50 million was additionally doubled up by Saudi matching funds you've increased lethal aid to Islamic fighters in Afghanistan by an order of magnitude or more (the $50 million in 1984 was a factor of 2 or 3 increase to begin with) between 1983 and 1984.

    And the Bush administration is demanding blood over some metal discs and garage door openers. Tough shit guys.


:: posted by buermann @ 2007-02-21 00:35:27 CST | link





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