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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Failed Futures: Russia's Plans to Defeat the U.S. in the Cold War

00:00 45:04
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Was it ever possible for the Soviets to win the Cold War? Looking back, its defeat seemed inevitable. The USSR had a political system hated by much of its population, a backwards economy, and harsh geographic conditions that made development challenging. But as late as the 1980s, few thought it would fall apart as catastrophically as it did.
How close was the USSR to victory? Was it structurally doomed to fail, or could better internal management and more strategic blunders from the United States brought it victory? If so, how? To explore this alternate reality and its level of plausibility is Dr. Robert Farley, a professor of security and diplomacy at the University of Kentucky and author of “Patents for Power: Intellectual Property Law and the Diffusion of Military Technology.”
Few who fought in the Cold War thought American victory was inevitable. Rather, they thought that U.S dominance – or even survival – depended on investments in cutting edge military technologies and extensive interventions across the globe, with Korea and Vietnam being only a couple of examples. We will explore the arguments on each side, and what the Soviet Union would have done if it had in fact won the Cold War.
December 15, 2022
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to
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