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View Diary: Afghanistan, let's just get the hell out (57 comments)

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  •  I've seen internet discussions about how (1+ / 0-)
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    allenjo

    the USA has to remain in Afghanistan to provide security for Chinese companies to mine the various minerals that happen to be there.

    Perhaps that's what you're saying, perhaps it involves an added layer of complexity.

    However, despite the name, "rare earths" aren't all that rare.  There are plenty right here in North America with the primary impediment to their mining being environmental concerns.   To me, forcing all the rare earth pollution issues onto places like China, Indonesia, South Africa, and Mongolia is just plain wrong.  If we want to use these elements for "clean" energy, we really should just suck it up and mine them ourselves.

    •  The US has about 12% of the world's reserves (2+ / 0-)
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      allenjo, corvo

      of the rare earths and China has 50%. In addition, China has been buying up mines globally.

      There are many mines within the US but the problem is not just extracting the ore. The US depends on external sources to refine and manufacture the material into usable products. This is what China has a monopoly on at present due to decades of Chinese government investment into the industry. In order for the US to catch up, it would require a massive amount of government subsidies.

      the USA has to remain in Afghanistan to provide security for Chinese companies to mine the various minerals that happen to be there.

      Perhaps that's what you're saying, perhaps it involves an added layer of complexity.

      You can be sure the US is not in Afghanistan to provide security for Chinese investment although this has been the net effect to date. There has been considerable Indian and other foreign investment which would have been put in danger or stalled if the US pulled out.

      The reasons are more strategic and are directly related to Obama's "Pivot to Asia". The US realizes it must maintain and increase it's presence in the new emerging markets in Central Asia if it doesn't want to be left out and fall too far behind.

      It's all about spreading capitalism and free trade and the geopolitical location of Afghanistan in Central Asia.

      The United States and the New Silk Road

      Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to thank the Jamestown Foundation for organizing this conference and for bringing together such a distinguished group of experts and officials to discuss the future of U.S. relations with Central Asia. Thank you, Glen Howard, for your invitation to participate today. It’s a great pleasure to be here and update you on U.S. efforts to promote regional economic cooperation – or what we have termed the “New Silk Road.”
      ...
      We also welcome the efforts of China to develop energy and transportation infrastructure in the region, including the projects announced during President Xi’s recent visit. We see all these efforts as mutually reinforcing and beneficial to the Central Asia countries and Afghanistan. We are realistic. The United States is an important partner for all the countries of the region, and our companies are major players there, particularly in the energy sector. But China, as a neighbor to these countries and as a result of its own dramatic economic growth, is naturally going to be leader there in trade and investment. We want to work with China, Russia – another country with significant economic ties to Central Asia – and other regional countries to support peace, stability, and prosperity in what is the least-economically integrated region in the world today. And we believe that there is plenty of work to go around.

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