Of copper, cobalt and chrystals

Published: June 29, 2010

I previously wrote about double standards found in every nook and cranny of our society but let’s not forget double standards everywhere else too, on larger scales. Take General McChrystal’s sacking for speaking against US President Barack Obama’s policies in Afghanistan and ridiculing members of his national security team. I’m not sure if it’s the epitome of democracy or the lowest abyss of freedom of speech in the land of the, well, free. And not just that. The US has recently discovered $1 trillion worth of mineral deposits in Afghanistan, “far beyond any previously known reserves, enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy”. They were discovered by Pentagon officials and American geologists and the (poor, unwitting) Afghan government was recently briefed.

Recently discovered? Really? Recently briefed:  well yes, why should the Afghan government know about the incredible resources they are sitting on until the US decides the time is ripe to finally admit what their vested interest in the country is. No country is so self-righteous that they feel it their duty as the only superpower to go around protecting countries from militants. As the bumper sticker says — “Be nice to America or we will bring democracy to your country.” Whatever happened to sovereignty of nations? Will the Afghan people get to decide what they want to do with their newfound wealth? If not, will they at least benefit from it?  As a country torn by war for years, they certainly deserve it.

I have never been able to put my finger on exactly why the US has done a complete about-turn: from years of isolation to self-defence to active invasion. And then I read these news stories, not conspiracy theories but hard facts in papers such as The New York Times, and you get an itch in the brain, a sinking feeling in the gut, a knot in the stomach…

Lincoln was right, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. But why would you need to, when you can fool just enough people to get away with “emancipating” countries where your “strategic interests” lie.


Saleha Riaz

An LSE graduate working as a sub-editor on the editorial pages of The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.