The New York Times today explores China's invasion of Afghanistan -- commercial invasion, that is -- centered on a $3.4 billion Chinese government copper mining venture that, in addition to the copper mine, is supposed to include new coal mining, power plants, road building, school building and (local sweetener) mosque building. Whether these grand plans all come to pass, the point is this:
While the United States spends hundreds of billions of dollars fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda here, China is securing raw material for its voracious economy. The world’s superpower is focused on security. Its fastest rising competitor concentrates on commerce.
S. Frederick Starr, the chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, an independent research organization in Washington, said that skeptics might wonder whether Washington and NATO had conducted “an unacknowledged preparatory phase for the Chinese economic penetration of Afghanistan.”
“We do the heavy lifting,” he said. “And they pick the fruit.”
Sounds familiar. Raw deal, anyone?