We’re Fighting to protect China’s economic interests in Afghanistan
Ardent Middle East War critic, Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) voiced his displeasure with the Obama Administration’s latest Afghanistan deal that calls for U.S. personnel and resources to be used to protect Chinese interests’ inside the war ravaged tribal nation. The discovery and confirmation of huge natural resources in Afghanistan has suddenly cast a new light on Obama’s Right War.
USGS discovers $1 trillion in natural resources, but China wins the contract
Last year it was discovered that Afghanistan was much more useful to western countries than previously thought. After a decade of war, the Department of Defense commissioned an examination for rare earth resources that could be used to support the tribal nation.
The U.S. Geological Survey uncovered $1 trillion of potential wealth in the form of minerals, copper, iron, gold, cobalt and most importantly, lithium. The Chinese recognized the mineral bonanza and immediately negotiated with the Afghan government to claim rights for precious resources that Americans use on a daily basis.
The research to uncover Afghanistan’s potential natural resources came from a 2009-2011 USGS study that was funded by the DOD Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO).
“The USGS is exceptionally pleased by the contribution we have been able to make to future development of Afghanistan’s world-class mineral resources, made possible through the application of modern remote-sensing tools,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “There is always increased risk for commercial ventures investing in new mining facilities in frontier areas such as Afghanistan, but by making information on the locations and estimated quantities and grades of ores publicly available, we lower that risk, spurring progress.”
“The mineral resources in Afghanistan have the potential to completely transform the nation’s economy,” said Regina Dubey, Acting Director of TFBSO. “This important new work by the USGS will be a powerful tool for those attempting to accurately evaluate potential investments in Afghanistan.”
According to the surveys, Afghanistan’s lithium reserves may be the largest in the world. In fact, most U.S. citizens use lithium powered products everyday in the form of cell phones and laptop computers.
The New York Times, uncovered a Pentagon memo that said Afghanistan could be the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” rivaling Bolivia who currently holds the world’s largest lithium resources.
“There is stunning potential here,” General David Petraeus, former U.S. NATO commander and current CIA director. “There are lots of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”
While the rare earth mineral jackpot in Afghanistan is welcome news to the corrupt government, Americans have been left out of the negotiating process as China has gobbled up most of the rights to mine the minerals. It looks like history will indeed repeat itself as America invested trillions in treasure and blood in Iraq hoping oil contracts would help repay President Bush’s “War on Terror.”
Fast forward to Afghanistan and America’s inability to procure meaningful rare earth mineral contracts that could bring much needed investment back to the ailing U.S. economy is a complete bust. So President Obama’s “right” War will costs trillions and lives in the name of “spreading democracy.”
According to a story in the UK paper the Independent, American and European companies have complained about improprieties from the Afghanistan government allegedly evoking underhanded methods to ensure Beijing gets contracts.
Alas, corruption is nothing new in Afghanistan in fact the United States Congress commissioned a study, and the results concluded American troops pay warlords billions a year for protection money. Even Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was a known heroin kingpin. Moving forward diplomats warn the newly discovered mineral jackpot will only lead to more unsavory activities between tribes in the war torn region.
Nevertheless American leadership will most likely take advice from Jawad Omar, a senior official at the ministry, who said, “The natural resources of Afghanistan will play a magnificent role in Afghanistan’s economic growth. The past five decades have shown that every time new research takes place, it shows our natural reserves are far more than what was previously found. This is a cause for rejoicing, nothing to worry about.” This of course is fantastic news for the corrupt government; unfortunately it’s just another lie in a long list of falsehoods about the tribal nation.
Which brings us back to Congressman Jones’ outrage that came after the Afghan government settled a deal with China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) allowing China to be the first foreign country to access Afghanistan’s oil and natural gas reserves.
In a letter to President Obama, Rep. Jones demanded an explanation of U.S. military operations in the Chinese economic zones.
“It is completely unacceptable to send our young men and women to protect China’s interest in Afghanistan’s natural resources,” said Jones. “How many more of them have to die for a corrupt leader and a corrupt government?
So it was particularly disturbing to learn that the Afghan government had entered into its first oil contract, not with Americans, but rather with China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). This is on top of ongoing reports of US military personnel effectively providing security for Chinese mining activities already ongoing in that county’s mineral-rich provinces. The United States is effectively borrowing money from the Chinese, and then spending that borrowed money to provide security to money making Chinese operations in Afghanistan. This is unacceptable.
I would like to request that you provide an accounting of dollars spent directly and indirectly providing security to Chinese mineral extraction activities in Afghanistan, as well as an accounting of Americans killed and wounded providing security to those same operations.
American lives are being lost, bodies wounded, and children’s futures mortgaged in order to prop up a profoundly corrupt and dysfunctional regime half a world away. Given that the Karzai government continues to make deals with the Taliban and to demonstrate a preference for our economic rivals, I would urge you to dramatically accelerate your projected time table for withdrawing our forces from that country. The projected 2014 withdrawal date means several more years of lives lost, and several hundred billion more borrowed dollars enabling interests that are at odds with the interests of American taxpayers,” the letter to President Obama said.
Rep Jones isn’t the only one who thinks the administration is lying to the American taxpayer. Army LTC Anthony Shaffer (ret), author of NYT bestseller “Operation Dark Heart,” says the Afghanistan War has been off-track for sometime. Shaffer spent a number of years in the Middle East and penned “Dark Heart” after his frustrations were not taken seriously.
“Our policy in Afghanistan should focus on U.S. strategic interests and the protection of the American people – it is not. The war in Afghanistan is a basket case, and it provides no clear focus or achievable objectives,” LTC Shaffer explained. “When an individual takes the Oath of Office – he must remain loyal to the Constitution, not to helping the Chinese enrich themselves from extracting minerals from Afghanistan. If most parents of service members serving in Afghanistan knew that we were providing material support to the Chinese they would demand accountability from Congress.”
More misguided U.S. priorities come from Global Times reporter Gao Lei, who recently talked to Jeffrey Reeves, a research fellow at Griffith University’s Asia Institute in Brisbane about the possibility that China presents a competing prospect for America in Afghanistan.
“Since the majority of Chinese investment in Afghanistan will be in mining and mining-related infrastructure, maintaining security at these sites will be a huge challenge for China,” Reeves said. “The U.S. and Chinese interests in Afghanistan, at least at this point, are different enough that direct competition can be avoided. For the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), security remains of paramount importance, which means U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, will be primarily military for the near future.”
Following in his predecessor’s footsteps, President Obama “has long sought to cooperate with China in Afghanistan. Last month at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue meeting in Beijing, they agreed to cooperate in training diplomats from Afghanistan at both China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Department of State.”
More proof China is exploiting Afghanistan resources
According to a newspaper report in The Telegraph, headquartered in Calcutta, India, China is trying to open its narrow border with Afghanistan building roads or possibly a tunnel under the Pamir mountain range. This development poses significant strategic implications for India, says General V.K. Singh, India’s former Chief of Army staff who retired a week ago.
“It is an outflanking move,” Singh said. “India risks losing the influence it has in Afghanistan because of a China-Pakistan link that is getting stronger and seen in evidence here. China’s objective is to increase connectivity with Afghanistan where it already has considerable presence, like India, in development and other projects.”
General Singh explains that the new border crossing “would be physical. And it is interested in this comparatively quieter area, the Wakhan Corridor (that) would facilitate the exploitation of natural resources in Afghanistan.”
Backing up his allegation that China is building a new border crossing, Singh said through his research he found evidence of military engineering activity on the Chinese side of the border. As Chief of Staff, “the general red-flagged the presence of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers, mostly engineers, in PoK,” The Telegraph contends. “The building of the Karakoram Highway abutting the Siachen Glacier to its northeast through Shaksgam Valley in Aksai Chin, India-claimed territory that Pakistan has ceded to China, is also a strategic concern of the Indian Army.”
The new passage between China and Afghanistan would mark the first border crossing since Mao Tse Tung’s communist forces took over China in 1949 and permanently closed inter-country travel.
It’s important to note the 16,000-foot Wakhji mountain pass remains closed half the year due to inclement weather. Singh contends the most reliable border crossing would be a tunnel, but admits designing a tunnel under the mountains would take a true engineering wherewithal. The Chinese certainly know something about building technically challenging infrastructure, they demonstrated that ability where they built its all-weather access railway line to Tibet.
Singh’s inkling that China is building a tunnel advances the “garland of pearls” strategy that surrounds India with military bases and logistics centers – stretching from naval outposts in countries like Sri Lanka and the Maldives, to ports in Pakistan and Myanmar completing the circle in the High Himalayas north of Kashmir. This strategy should alert American leaders to China’s true intentions of exploiting resources to gain the wealth required to become a super-power.
It’s also been reported that President Karzai had discussed a project with China’s President Hu Jinatao, however Outlook Afghanistan says the proposal has not moved forward. “A direct road connection between China and Afghanistan is important for the increasing Chinese investment and Afghanistan needs land access to Chinese goods. It would also allow us quick access to South East Asia through Chinese ports. There were also talks about construction of an electric plant and a railway system from Tajikistan to Pakistan as part of a $500 million investment from China.
Another point American’s may remember is that in December 2009, U.S. diplomats requested Beijing’s authorization to allow U.S. military supply lines to enter Afghanistan through the Wakhan Corridor. Apparently the U.S. wanted the route as an alternative supply line for NATO, however, China refused to grant permission.
American retaliation against Afghanistan’s Taliban for harboring Al Qaeda came full circle last year when the 9-11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden was killed. The issue for Americans, its allies, and American voters is what are our objectives now? Have we reduced our role to providing security for our major competitor (China) so it can prosper on American blood and ideals?
Up next: China Flexes Its Financial Muscle in Afghanistan…
To read more Afghanistan stories in this series:
Afghanistan War lingers- military deception for political expediency—http://www.examiner.com/article/afghanistan-war-operational-deception-or-political-hoodwink-1
Afghan War ain’t about hearts and minds- ‘just win baby’-–
For more stories: http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak
© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.