The Relevant Question

Comments

1
We should have left after Comrade Bush and Comrade Cheney let al-Qaeda successfully move their forces to Pakistan.
2
Well at least you know why we're never leaving Dan. I'm glad that's all cleared up now.

And seriously, does anyone really think corporate America will allow them to KEEP their mineral wealth? LOL!!!!! That's rich!!!
3
What a strange coincidence!
There are insanely valuable minerals in a country that we have just taken a huge interest in. Minerals that make us less reliant on China.
Weird, huh?
Want to bet that we also control the areas where the deposits are?
4
How did all our minerals wind up under their land?
5
@4 Funny!
6
The Pentagon went looking for an excuse to stay in Afghanistan forever, and they found one.
7
$1 trillion will just about cover our war costs to date. I say we end the war tomorrow, and send in Massey Energy and Halliburton right away to start mining those sweet, sweet profits. We'll tax their profits, and after loopholes, get $57.25 back on our investment.
8
whoah, no -ies for blackberry? really?
9
I would love to attribute to them the most diabolical of intentions but they can't leave until they've re-built the country a bit and they're going to need to find some industries for that.
10
I'm sure our search for resources had nothing to do with our effort to help Afghanistan wean its economy off the poppy.

Nothing to do with our extremely well-publicized and heavily reported effort, not at all. Couldn't be. If it was we would have read stories about it for the last ten years or something.
11
Actually, it may very well have a lot to do with us finding a way out.

In order for us to leave in a peaceful way, we need to be able to leave behind a stable government with a viable economy. Until now, Afghanistan has been one of the poorest countries on earth. That has lead to government corruption and lawlessness and religious extremists and a thriving poppy economy (growing poppy has been one of the few ways to make any money there).

If they are able to mine valuable resources, it gives them the opportunity to develop a stable and healthy economy based on something other than poppy growing.

That, in turn, may give us the opportunity to leave, and not have a complete clusterfuck in our wake.

Not saying its gonna happen for sure. But it is a realistic scenario, and definitely in our interest to promote.
12
@10, yeah really. This is the winning hearts and minds part, right?
13
From a classical global economics viewpoint, we'd be better off with a hemispheric treaty arrangement with nations in South America for resources - and Canada - than what would be required for force projection to extract resources that will just end up being used in China or India in the first place.

Let China pay to rape Afghanistan - and draw the locals ire - or Russia.

We really only need the end products.
14
@11 - you really have no understanding of Afghanistan's history, do you?
15
@11: yeah, discovering fabulous mineral resources always solves those pesky civil war/warlord problems. Look what it did for the Congo!
16
capitalists and dealers are always looking for new sources of supply/revenue... it is really not new, like @4 said, just ask some native americans for their input on when mineral/timber/water/grazing etc. value is found on their already diminished lands.
17
@ 11,

Dude, there is no chance--as in zero--that a single cent of the money from this resource extraction is gonna benefit the Afghan people in any way. It'll all get hoovered up by the klepto-crazees running the Afghan and US corporate-industrial puppet show.
18
Normally, I might feel optimistic about this (along the lines of @11). Having just read a book about the history of the Congo, though, this discovery doesn't exactly give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
19
@11

Name one country dependent on resource extraction that has a stable, thriving economy.
Mining companies aren't usually all that good for the local economy, nor for the locals.
20
If this brings wealth to the Afgans, then the Taliban can just curl up and die. With wealth comes education, TV, Internet, and the Western way of life... Stay tuned...
21
No one has mentioned that the American geologists and surveyors were tipped off by maps produced by the Soviets back in the '70s and '80s.
22
Why were we looking? Dan, you and many Americans may not care for realpolitik, but searching for and identifying anything of strategic importance is part of the armed forces' job. You can argue about the morality of that when we're supposed to be rooting out terrorists, but there's very little moral consideration in foreign policy and war.
23
It's all about the Benjamins. Which is ironically a Hebrew name.
24
The U.S. continues their efforts in Afghanistan to dismantle the Taliban and find Osama bin-La-HEEEY!!!! It's the world's biggest lithium mine! FREE BLACKBERRYS AND MINIATURE AMERICAN FLAGS FOR EVERYONE! USA! USA!
25
@21: Yeah, I heard about that too.
For all of you easily-offended people who don't read the unregistered, David E. seems to be the only person here who heard about how the American surveyors had come across some old Soviet files suggesting that there might be untapped mineral wealth in the mountains.
And here's hoping that this does get Afghanistan off the opium teat.
26
Er, note @11's many conditional statements and bugger off meanies! Just because it's been correctly pointed out that the theory behind the exploration is well-documented rather than mysterious does not mean hardly anyone puts much faith in it. It's the "better than doing nothing" theory of camouflaging the shamefaced withdrawal that one hopes the President will finally allow before our kids are draft age.
27
It is obvious that this was part of the plan forever. They were just waiting for the right moment to announce the 'surprise'.
28
This war was your fucking idea Dan.
What did YOU want them to do over there?
29
Didn't they know the deposits were there aloooong time ago, like back when the Russians were there? Thought I saw a news program way back when, 60 mins maybe, that reported that's what they suspected.
30
one would think that the CIA and its backers would kind of intuit that the place where lapis lazuli comes from, might just be a mineral rich area...

but ya know, 9 years on & how ever many lives, we hit the vein, so it is all good.
31
mountain top removal mining!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPixjCnes…

32
and, now that everyone has weighed in ... @11 for the EPIC FAIL. I rarely grant those ...
33
i think they can mine lithium and grow poppies at the same time. but i hope this can help them cobble together a stable government. it could mean jobs other than goat herder or suicide bomber for a few young (male) afghanis.
34
"An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the 'Saudi Arabia of lithium'"

Oh good, because clearly what we need to do is enable ANOTHER closed, quasi-theocratic society with extreme class disparity to continue their stratification and stranglehold on human rights.
35
Looks like Obama would rather find a reason to stay...
36
The more relevant question is: Are there any other countries out there with untapped natural resources that we might be able to conveniently find terrorists in?
37
Dan, you're either painfully naive or inattentive.

The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which is where Bush's inner circle of loony neocons came (or drew their inspiration) from made no bones about the fact that the goal of America should be to seize control of the resources of central Asia.

The whole point of invading that part of the world was to gain access to their natural resources.

The thing that is disturbing about this is that had this happened under Bush, it would have been viewed differently. I'm sure Obama will prove a dab hand at selling our exploitation of those resource as a boon to both Afghanis and the US.
38
And what @4 and @36 said.
39
Fuck you Will.

In no way did I say this was a bed of roses. Nor did I say this was a guarantee. I merely stated that mining high-value natural resources has the potential to build a more stable economy than poppy.

The US, for a significant chunk of time, built its wealth on natural resources. Mining for steel, coal, and oil were the basis of the success of the industrial revolution. What were the biggest companies in the early 1900s? Oil. Steel.

So, yes, a corrupt government with no oversight can rape the land and do the people no good. But with a mostly legit government and minimal oversight, it can be of great benefit to the people. Better than poppy, anyway.

And whether or not you think this could work (and again, I'm not guaranteeing that it would), it is at least worthwhile to look into, no?
40
@19.

Australia.
41
If they really want to wean Afghanistan off the poppy, great work is being done in the area of converting poppy fields into pomegranate fields (which are, actually, more profitable for the farmers). The US could get behind this effort, but as far as I know, they're not. The fact that they prefer mineral deposits that can more easily be controlled and whose profits can be co-opted by the already rich and powerful, rather than farm profits that benefit the people, doesn't surprise me one goddamn iota.
42
@17
source?
43
@39 - Wealth of Nations - the books written by Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, disagrees with your naive and incorrect view, RP.

So suck on it and stuff your empire building paranoia where the sun don't shine.
44
RP: This is why we tell you "please don't feed the troll."
45
Don't know nearly enough to weigh in on this, but just finished an AMAZING book by Sebastian Junger, "War," written about his time "embedded" as a journalist in Afghanistan. His film buddy made the accompanying documentary "Restrepo," which doesn't seem to be playing in Canada yet, but I gather was at your Seattle film festival recently. I literally couldn't put the book down.
46
This is yet another curse on Afghanistan. Every economy that depends on extractive industries is a corrupt shithole, from Saudi Arabia to Idaho to Alaska. Countries with no resources that have to learn how to make things, like Japan, are far better off.
47
They didn't just "discover" anything and they likely weren't really looking, either. This is some kind of weird PR stunt based on knowledge we've already had for some time, and the $1 trillion figure is a vague estimate at best. There has never been, and still isn't, a cheap way to mine any of it and transport it to sea ports.
48
anyone ever notice how people that are generally regarded as dangerous savages live on top of mineral resources? Arabs, congolese, hell even appalachains. there was a syfy marathon on sunday of killer apalachain hillfolk movies...i wonder if thats, like, a coincidence, that propoganda and movies and stuff are made to make people likving on top of mineral resources less human...
49
Also ask yourself why this story is being broken by the New York Times. Take a look at the way they are putting the info: "large deposits of gold in Pashtun areas of Southern Afghanistan." Is that how you describe geological survey data.

I just hope this is happening for the good not for the bad.
50
Hooray! It was all worth it! Never mind about how we never caught the guy who planned the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the WTC, Pentagon, and potentially White House, WE FOUND SHIT WE CAN TAKE FROM ONE OF OUR DE-FACTO-COLONIES!!!

Now we get to send another 50,000 troops to protect the sites where Anaconda will build its mines. Our corprocrats just had a moneygasm. USA! USA! USA!
51
It makes sense for us to search for resources that could make money for a stable central government to provide resources for it's people. On the plus side, if this gets money to the central government to build roads and provide services to its people and employs its people this is a good thing.

Unfortunately the reality is that this is going to make the rich and powerful dramatically more rich and powerful and do nothing good for the people. See the middle east, northern africa and countless other places for examples of what happens when horribly corrupt governments find massive quantities of resources under the ground. You want to help the Afghan people you need to educate them to produce things. That gives the people power. This just gives them dangerous poorly paid mining jobs. On the plus side it also gives us cheap copper and lithium. Hooray for us.
52
"An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,...”

And the Pentagon will undoubtedly try its best to make that prediction come true. With Karzai (like King Fahd) we have a puppet dictator in place who will have a "special relationship" with U.S. government, intelligence agencies, and corporations (even as Afghanistan inevitably takes a more prominent role in funding war, counter-insurgency, and/or false flag operations).
53
@48 : you forgot native americans on their continent *ahem*