Rollback

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See rollback (data management) for the operation that returns a database to some previous state.

Rollback was a term used by American foreign policy thinkers during the Cold War. It was defined as using military force to "roll back" communism in countries where it had taken root.

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[edit] Western intervention in Russian Civil War

The western intervention in the Russian Civil War can be considered an attempt at rollback, but it was before this term came to be used.

[edit] Rollback during Cold War

The most important rollback period was during the Cold War when many Americans felt that they were in a life or death struggle against world communism. After the devastation of the Second World War, only a small minority of Americans were prepared to attempt to roll back communism throughout the world, by direct force of arms. Many Americans were shocked by Winston Churchill's address to the U.S. Congress and by extension the American people warning of "an iron curtain" descending across Europe. They still remembered the Soviets as being their friends and allies from the war years. While others believed, some would say naively, that socialism was quite successful as an economic system and was beneficial to human civilization.

A compromise to military intervention was to use intelligence services and other such efforts to achieve these ends. These attempts began as early as 1945 with attempts in Eastern Europe, including attempts to provide weapons to independence fighters in the Baltic States and Ukraine. The most elaborate effort was against Albania, where a trained force of guerillas was landed by the Americans. The people failed to support these fighters, however, and they were mostly captured or killed.

Through the adoption of National Security Council document NSC 162/2 in October 1953, the Eisenhower Administration effectively abandoned these uniformly unsuccessful efforts in Europe after only a few years. Later efforts at rollback would be confined to China[citation needed] and the developing world where they never successfully removed an entrenched communist government, but in some cases helped overthrow governments that were leaning towards socialism.

[edit] Advocated by U.S. conservatives

The "rollback" movement gained significant ground, however, in the 1980s, as the Reagan administration, urged on by the conservative Heritage Foundation and other influential conservatives, began to channel weapons to anti-communist resistance movements in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Nicaragua and other nations.

This effort came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine. Critics argued that the Reagan Doctrine led to so-called blowback and an unnecessary intensification of Third World conflict, but in the various rollback battlefields, the Soviet Union made major concessions, and eventually had to retreat from Afghanistan.

As the retreat from the Soviet-Afghan war got under way, the subject nations of the Soviet Union started to prepare for their own independence, though critics of rollback interpret this not as the domino effect of the retreat, but rather as a consequence of Gorbachev's liberalization. Violence broke out as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic sought control of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. Two years later, numerous Soviet Socialist Republics declared their laws superior to those of the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union collapsed, and in some ways was already collapsing as the retreat got under way. The retreat from Afghanistan was directly caused by American Stinger missiles, and many would argue indirectly caused by similar military pressures on many battlegrounds throughout the world, though Afghanistan was the only battleground where significant numbers of Russian soldiers were directly being killed by American weapons supplied for that purpose.

[edit] See also


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Rollback

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