Assess the view that the failure of the USSR to survive the crisis of the 1980s were due to the quality of political leadership.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the statement has some level of truth to it.  In terms of how I see the statement as being valid, I do believe that poor leadership is what enabled many of the Soviet problems in the 1980s to become formidable, spelling the end of the Soviet Union.  The best example of this was the Soviet war in Afghanistan.  Poor Soviet leadership contributed to the starting and the prolonging of a war that lacked any real purpose or advantage to the Soviet Union.  When the war in Afghanistan for the Soviets is compared to America and Vietnam, it is a telling comparison.  Poor leadership contributed to the lack of vision in this regard, an endeavor in which resources and commitment took away from bolstering a fragmented domestic situation.   This poor leadership can be seen in how the Soviet Union did not take the necessary steps to ensure that it could remain viable in the 1980s, a period in which American economic interests soared, enabling them to be able to fund more initiatives against the Soviets in the Cold War.  To this end, I think that poor leadership in not being able to envision how the Soviet Union could be competitive in a growing capitalist world was a critical factor to the decline of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.


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