Black Zimbabwe has emerged from white Rhodesia, Portugal’s attempt to assert itself as a colonial power until the very last minute is a thing of the past. Of all the European colonial empires, only the Russian one still seems to stand unshaken; but who knows whether we can assume that Islam is really politically inert in the Soviet Central Asian republics simply because it has lain buried for decades under Marxist demands for modernization and integration? Afghanistan has become, one may argue, a Vietnam or Algeria for the USSR, even if the Muslim resistance fighters lacked the efficient central organization provided to the Vietnamese by a Communist Party. International support from a superpower is channelled to the Afghan mujaheddins, nevertheless. In fact, the commotion originating from this colonial war may be even more dangerous for the Soviet Union than the Vietnam crisis had been for the United States: college protests or large-scale refusal to go to the army are unheard of in Russia. But no state of the USA has ever been populated by Buddhists and/or communists ethnically linked to the Vietnamese. So it could be logic that motivates Mikhail Gorbachev to get out of Afghanistan faster and with still less gloire than Charles de Gaulle saved when he got out of Algeria.