Afghanistan was close to dead last in terms of GDP per capita when the Soviets invaded. (Some things never change). It hadn't fought a real war in over 50 years. Its finances were a shambles. Thanks to a coalition of anti-Communist states, they got a few billion dollars worth of imported arms and money to feed their guerrilla force, and proceeded to bog the Russians down in an increasingly demoralizing war.
In contrast, Ukraine is roughly in the middle of the pack, income-wise. If we hand a few billion dollars a year in food and weaponry to the Ukrainians to ward off the Russian invasion, I expect they will give at least as good an account of themselves as the Afghans did. After WWII, Stepan Bandera and his people fought the Red Army for over a decade with zero foreign aid, and were destroyed only after the Red Army slaughtered hundreds of thousands of civilians with them - which is presumably why Khrushchev gave the Crimea to Ukraine - as a consolation prize for mass killings of Ukrainians. If today's Ukrainians have anything like Bandera's fighting spirit, a few billion dollars in equipment and food should see them pushing the Russians out of the country altogether.
Big difference. In Afghanistan, the natives wanted the invaders gone. The Crimean citizens will fight just as hard as the Afghans did. If Ukrainian tanks roll in, it will only grow the widespread belief that the Ukrainian government is controlled by Svoboda who want to ethnically cleanse the Crimea. Vietnam shows what happens when the local population is not on your side.
>>If today’s Ukrainians have anything like Bandera’s fighting spirit, a few billion dollars in equipment and food should see them pushing the Russians out of the country altogether.<<
It is so good that Russians aren’t that America-hating. A few billions in Russian aid to Iraq and Afghanistan could do wonders to US casualty figures in these respective nations.
It could have been surpassed Vietnam losses easily.
I’m still wondering why Russians are so restraint, considering a mood of many Americans who wants to see them bleeding.