This question is prompted by a report that reads in part:
In this Taliban stronghold in the mountains south of Kabul, the U.S. Army is providing the security that will enable China to exploit one of the world’s largest unexploited deposits of copper, earn tens of billions of dollars and feed its voracious appetite for raw materials. U.S. troops set up bases last month along a dirt track that a Chinese firm is paving as part of a $3 billion project to gain access to the Aynak copper reserves. The U.S. deployment wasn’t intended to protect the Chinese investment — the largest in Afghanistan’s history — but to strangle Taliban infiltration into the capital of Kabul. But if the mission provides the security that a project to revive Afghanistan’s economy needs, the synergy will be welcome.
The very idea that US troops are being deployed (inadvertently it is true) to make it possible for the Chinese to mine copper, is outlandish. That men and women of America stand to loose their lives so the Chinese may move in under the protection of Karzai and the Taliban and grow rich wresting copper from the reported huge reserves in Afghanistan, leaves me cold.
The optimistic streak in me argues that if the US can bring peace to this torn country, and the peace enables mining to develop as an honest employer, then herald the success.
The ironic part of me smiles at the idea that mining could become the basis of the security we are told drives us to continued operations in Afghanistan.
The cynic in me tells me that only the cynic would invest in such a venture: i.e., invest in arms to pacify the country so that the Chinese may come in and invest.
The tragedian in me asks: is the US now but a paid mercenary for imperial commercial expansionist who are able to afford such services?
It would be nice to think that mining could take over from poppy growing as the primary economic activity in Afghanistan. But they will probably reclaim the tailings impoundment to become another poppy field.
It would be nice to view this report as another example of cooperation between Rio Tinto and the Chinese, undertaken in a cloak of honesty and transparency.
I cannot but wonder if there are any Chinese troops in Afghanistan helping Nato keep the peace and train the Afghans to defend themselves. And if there are none, why not: are we afraid they will take over where we leave off and become the third invader, starting with Russia, to try to bring Afghanistan into its fold?
Not that I would invest my money in mining in Afghanistan, but one must ask if there are US or Canadian companies willing, wanting, and able to explore the waste of the land of the Taliban to mine.
So many questions; so few answers. But it is Sunday and time for sundowners. Let me know if you have any of the answers or at least opinions that differ from mine–demine me.