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America's Long Road to the War on Terror


 with Kyle Tadman

short description:
U.S. Foreign-Policy during the Soviet-Afghanistan War - the Beginnings of Al-Qaeda
long description:
The History of U.S. Foreign-Policy during the Soviet-Afghan War

Kyle David Richard Tadman
M.A. in U.S. History

Course Description:
This course explores the recent history of the Soviet–Afghan War from the perspective of American policy-makers during the Carter and Reagan administrations. Students will read a Pulitzer-prize winning book in being exposed to the major events and combatants of the conflict.

Students will also learn about the roles of various government organizations such as the U.S. State Department and Central Intelligence Agency, as well as their Pakistani counter-part, the ISI. In doing so, students will read about the actual individuals involved in the policy-making process and come to understand how these decisions are still impacting us and the world we live in today as witnessed in more than ten years of the ‘War on Terror’ against Islamic fundamentalism spanning every continent on the globe.

Course Objectives:
- Introduce students to the actual people behind the American foreign-policy making process during the Soviet-Afghan War

- Help students understand that American foreign-policy was formulated during this conflict within the larger context of the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet-Union

- Enable students to identify the foreign nations and respective key organizations involved in helping out and facilitating America’s covert aid to the Soviet opposition

- Help students understand the roots behind how and why the United States and its Western allies now find themselves facing what seems to be an unending ‘War on Terror’ against Al-Qaeda and other Islamic fundamentalist organizations.

Required Course Book:
- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden , from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2011, (2004)

***It can be purchased on-line for less than $15.00

- I will also provide students with a number of different websites they can go to for information as well

Optional Reading: (Local Libraries & colleges can be a great resource for accessing these books)

I will provide you with specific chapters and/or pages to read, rather than the whole book, if you are interested in supplementing the assigned reading from one lesson to the next

- Thomas Hammond, Red Flag Over Afghanistan: The Communist Coup, the Soviet Invasion, and the Consequences, (1984)

- George Crile, Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of Our Times, (2003)

- Zbigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of a National Security Advisor 1977-1981, (1985)

- Robert M. Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War, (1996)

- John K. Cooley, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America, and International Terrorism, (1998)

- Philip Bonosky, Secret War: America’s First Invasion of Afghanistan, (2010)

- Diego Cordovez, Out Of Afghanistan: The Inside Story of the Soviet Withdrawal, (1995)

- A.Z. Hilali, U.S. – Pakistan Relationship: Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, (2005)

- David B. Edwards, Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad, (2002)

Course Assignments and Explanation:

QUIZZES: (two 25-question open-book quizzes – multiple choice, True/False, direct answer)

RESEARCH PAPER: (Students will choose an individual policy-maker and a write 3000 – 4000 word essay on their role within the American foreign-policy apparatus that was designed to impact the outcome of the Soviet-Afghan War – More info. will be provided to each student)

- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars
Principal Characters p. xv-xvii; Prologue: Accounts Receivable, September 1996 p. 3-17
PART ONE: ‘Blood Brothers’
Chapters 1 – 3 pp. 21-70

- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars
PART ONE: ‘Blood Brothers’
Chapters 4 – 6 pp. 71-124

- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars
PART ONE: ‘Blood Brothers’
Chapters 7 – 9 pp. 125-186

- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars
PART TWO: ‘The One-Eyed Man Was King’
Chapters 10 – 13 pp. 189-256

- QUIZ # 1

- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars
PART TWO: ‘The One-Eyed Man Was King’
Chapters 14 – 17 pp. 257-313

- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars
- PART TWO: ‘The One-Eyed Man Was King’
Chapters 18 – 20 pp. 314-367

- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars
PART THREE: ‘The Distant Enemy’
Chapters 21 – 24 pp. 371-452

- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars
PART THREE: ‘The Distant Enemy’
Chapters 25 – 28 pp. 453-525

- QUIZ # 2

- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars
PART THREE: ‘The Distant Enemy’
Chapters 29 – 32, Afterword pp. 526-588

DUE: Research Paper

level of difficulty:
all welcome
minimum class size:
fee comments:
 session structure





America's Long Road to the War on Terror

live session

U.S. Foreign-Policy during the Soviet-Afghanistan War - the Beginnings of Al-Qaeda

1h 0m

Self-Paced Learning

review materials

Reading the textbook and reviewing information available on the internet....

1h 30m

total duration: 2h 30m over 2 session(s)
comments: n.a.

references in library: 13

discussion forums: 2

duration: 2h 30m over 2 session(s)
fee: 99US$  (990lp)
payment: at delivery
delivery method: live online and self-paced

Quick Help

United States

Kyle Tadman

description of :
I work as an Adjunct History Professor for a local university here in West Palm Beach, Florida where I live. I have earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Iowa, one in Communication Studies and the other in History. I also hold a Masters of Arts in U.S. History from Western Illinois University with a focus on American foreign-policy in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
Teacher's qualifications:
Kyle David Richard Tadman, M.A.
Northwood University

Adjunct History Professor
General Education Department
West Palm Beach, FL 33409

(305) 785-0532

Curriculum Vitae


Northwood University, West Palm Beach, Florida
Adjunct History Professor – U.S. and World History
August 2013 – Present


Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois
Masters of Arts (M.A.) in U.S. History
Graduation, May 2012

University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Bachelors of Arts (B.A.) in History
Graduation, May 2007

University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Bachelors of Arts (B.A.) in Communication Studies
Graduation, May 2001


“Making of U.S. Foreign-Policy during the Soviet-Afghan War”
(Abstract - See Attachment)


Studying the Spanish language informally
Studying the Arabic language informally


“An American Provocation: U.S. Foreign Policy During the Soviet-Afghanistan War,” Western Illinois Historical Review – Volume V, Spring 2013


“Dripping in Oil: U.S. Involvement in the 1953 Iranian Coup” (Journal Article)

“John Jay: America’s Founding Father of Foreign-Policy” (Journal Article)


“American Arabia: the Saudi Kingdom and U.S. Foreign-Policy Beyond Oil”……

“Operation Gladio: Europe’s Most Notorious Network of the 20th Century”……

“Battle Over Kashmir: Historical Implications for American Foreign-Policy”……


Phi Alpha Theta Society
American Historical Association (AHA)
Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (
Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS)



Western Civilization I
Western Civilization II
Intro to the Modern World
U.S. History Survey I (Global Perspective)
U.S. History Survey II (Global Perspective)
U.S. Diplomatic Relations Survey


American Revolutionary War
Nazi Germany
Soviet Union (1917 – 1945)
World War I and II
Vietnam War
Cold War
U.S. Foreign-Policy in the Middle East (19th and 20th Century)
U.S. Foreign-Policy in Southwest Asia (20th Century)
U.S. Foreign-Policy during the Soviet-Afghan War
U.S. involvement in the 1953 Iranian Coup over Mohammad Mosaddeq
U.S. involvement in the 1973 Chilean Coup over Salvador Allende
U.S. Intelligence and Espionage Operations


Dr. Roberto Mazza – Assistant Professor, Western Illinois University
Dr. Richard Filipink – Associate Professor, Western Illinois University
Dr. Virginia Jelatis – Associate Professor, Western Illinois University
Dr. Barclay Key – Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Dr. Walter Kretchik – Professor Emeritus, Western Illinois University
Dr. Paul Greenough – Professor, University of Iowa


United States Army National Guard, Enlisted Soldier,
E-4 Specialist, MOS: Combat Engineer
Iowa and California (2/1992 - 2/2000)
Engaged in leadership and discipline training
Designated Platoon Sergeant for duration of Basic Combat Training
Honorably discharged in February of 2000


Kaplan University – Online Division
Graduate Admissions Advisor
Plantation, FL (June 2011 – November 2012)
- Conducted over the phone interviews in screening potential students for admission to master’s level degree programs in the academic areas of criminal justice, legal studies, psychology, and education
- Worked with students in getting them through admissions process including academic advising, financial aid, registrar, and career services

Westwood College
Admissions Representative
Denver, CO (September 2008 – June 2009)
- Conducted over the phone or face to face interviews in screening potential students for admission to associate, bachelor, and master’s degree programs
- Worked with students in getting them through admissions process including academic, financial aid, registrar, career services, campus housing


“The Making of U.S. Foreign Policy During the Soviet-Afghanistan War”

Kyle D. Tadman, M.A. in History

The history of U.S. foreign-policy has been a long and winding road since America’s birth in the late eighteenth century. Part of its more recent past entails the nation’s intervention in the decade-long Soviet–Afghanistan War that took place between 1979 and 1989. Much of the analysis surrounding this topic focuses on the latter part of the conflict when President Reagan was in office and fails to adequately address how the American government’s foreign-policy of aiding the Afghan Resistance Movement came about in the first place. In identifying this earlier period in the conflict as an area of opportunity for further exploration, the thesis’ work examines how the U.S. foreign policy-making process actually took place during the first half of the war between 1979 and 1984.

The research presented in the first chapter is designed to provide a historical context and setting for the United States’ foreign-policy in Afghanistan during this time. Over the course of the next three chapters, readers come to understand who was responsible for influencing, setting forth, and implementing the American’s chosen policies that were designed to confront their Cold War rival in Southwest Asia. Those interested will learn why the Soviet Union invaded their southern neighbor to begin with and then introduced to who was waiting for the Russian’s military to arrive when they did. The work also answers the often debated question as to when the CIA began covert operations inside Afghanistan and explores the working relationships that the American intelligence organization had with a few select foreign countries in order to carry out its mission of supporting the Mujahidin’s forces. Most importantly however, the research and assessments provide a foundation for further exploring how the American foreign policy-making process that occurred during this period under study was largely responsible for creating the circumstances and environment that is responsible for the existing terrorist threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists today.

's preferred teaching style:
My Teaching Philosophy – A Statement

As a history teacher, there are a number of things I try to accomplish with my students. First and foremost, I feel it is important they understand a little bit about who I am and why I teach the subject, as well as what they can expect from me throughout the semester. This, I hope, will help them realize that I am very much invested in their education and here to help them learn about the past and how it impacts their lives today. At the same time, I want to know a little bit about my students and their expectations of me in regards to what they hope to get out of my course so that, when appropriate, I can tailor my instruction and the materials I present around meeting their differing needs. I also strive to make the study of historical topics as interesting as possible. This is accomplished in part by using maps for geographical context and thru the posting of provocative discussion questions each class period about a given historical topic that is related to a contemporary event in the news that week. I also invite guest speakers into my classroom from time to time and use costumes and other props when I can in an effort to engage my students in a number of different ways.

Keeping in mind that my class may be the first history course he/she may have taken at the college level, I try to impress upon them that events in history have not occurred inside a vacuum, but rather within a much larger context of worldly affairs happening simultaneously. I also try to provide them with an opportunity to pursue the professional historian’s ‘craft’ by exposing them to primary documentation and then requiring its use in their writing assignments. My students are also instructed on critically developed theories and concepts derived from course textbooks, and have concrete, relevant, and easily understood examples to draw from in their weekly lessons for easy comprehension of the material being covered. For example, aspects of the now declassified government document known as NSC-68 is reviewed in detail while discussing the beginnings of American involvement in the Cold War during my U.S. History Survey II course.

Exposure to the life of a professional historian, I believe very strongly, helps them understand how practitioners deal with fundamental problems and issues surrounding their research, interpretation, and writing of history. It also helps them realize that, although dates, people, and specific points in time in our past are significant, it is the question of ‘what does it mean from a broader context’ that is really important when considering the study of historical issues. Through all of that, I strive to impress upon them that the study of history is continuous in its interpretation and understanding in light of new information always becoming available and they need to be open to adjusting their conclusions as such.

Finally, I use a number of different learning modalities to accomplish the goals I have with my students to include lecturing and providing time for them to role play and interact in a group discussion setting. I also employ a number of other collaborative learning techniques that are focused on the student and conducive to the topic under study. Additionally, I show educational videos and assign individual writing assignments and oral presentations in an effort to assess and improve their analytical and critical thinking skills; and to help them make reasonable inferences about historical events after learning more about the details within a broader context. Lastly, it is important for me to take a ‘pulse check’ of my student’s comprehension level of the material being covered during the course in trying to determine if each student’s ability to synthesize and integrate their own learning and ideas is steadily improving as the weeks pass by and semester comes to a close. --- Kyle David Richard Tadman


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