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The British fought three wars in Afghanistan over an 80-year period. They finally left this “graveyard for empires” in 1919, only to eventually be replaced by the Soviet Union in the late 70s, and the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11.
Very interesting about Afghanistan is its evolution, or lack thereof. In a recent snapshot of the dysfunctional country, New York Times reporter Rod Nordland noted that “It is striking how little the rural Afghan landscape has changed between the early 19th and 21st centuries. The mud-walled fortifications of those days can still be seen throughout the country, and some of them are still in use as military facilities today.”
The picture painted by Nordland brings to mind the roughly 30-year gap in visits to the former Soviet Union by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. In his 2006 autobiography, The Age of Turbulence, Greenspan recalled how the equipment used by laborers in the country hadn’t changed a bit in the decades in between. Greenspan’s point was that a lack of change in how we do work, and the kind of work we do, is a sign of economic decline.