When Red Army tank columns rolled across the Soviet border into Afghanistan in December 1979 the political reverberations were far-reaching. A period of confrontation and unpredictability in international relations ensued, profoundly affecting superpower relations. Fissures were exposed in the Atlantic bridge between the United States and its European allies. The uncommitted Third World writhed in dismay. A number of disconcerting questions were raised as to motives and possible response. Was this naked aggression on the part of a mighty power against a small and remote country, an expansionist thrust born of overconfidence in nuclear superiority, or was it a clumsy and hasty defensive move? Why was it that the Soviet Union, ostensibly on an ideological rescue mission to offer succour to a threatened Socialist state (or so it claimed), was also willing to risk world censure? Was this an end to détente? What could the outraged world do about this act of aggression?