Of copper, cobalt and chrystals

Published: June 29, 2010
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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

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.

  • Farhan

    While I agree with most of what you say, insubordination should not be confused with freedom of speech. By right our COAS should also have been sacked during the Kerry-Lugar fiasco.Recommend

  • tanveer

    First in Iraq in search of oil. Now in Afghanistan for trillions of dollars.Well I don’t think so that Afghnis will be able to have benefits from this wealth unless some miracles happen all around.Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed

    BY the way, has anyone including the author ever thought about the extraction cost of these minerals worth USD 1 trillion?

    Forget the extraction cost, has anyone thought about the cost of infrastructure which needs to put in place before anyone or any company thinks of extracting this new found wealth.

    Who do you think has the capacity & the ability to make this sort of investment before even coming any where near this USD 1 trillion worth of minerals?

    1 thing is for sure, whoever puts in this kind of money will surely not do it for charity purposes.

    Or maybe the author or my friends who have commented above can spare some change.

    Point of the matter is, before we go accusing US of all the wrongs happening in the world, maybe we should first take a long hard look at ourselves.Recommend

  • S.A.R.A

    This wealth belongs to Pakistan and China! A new meaning of the Afghan war will be defined in the coming days.Recommend

  • KK

    China has already started spending money on Afghan infrastructure and extraction of minerals. They have been strategically going into under developed countries to make good use of the existing minerals and resources.
    India has also seen a large amount of investment being invested in Afghanistan.Recommend

  • http://newzwatch.wordpress.com/ newzwatch

    i agree.Recommend

  • Zia

    We , the Afghans not everyone but a few of us and people of other countries have only eyes on certain countries like America, China, India, Pakistan & UK that have direct approach to Afghanistan for extraction of minerals or we believe that they are there for their interest rather than giving priority to stability & peace in Afghanistan. I have personally seen geologists roaming in some villages in rural parts of Afghanistan where no one ask them what they are doing there. Most of them are Germans,Japanese, Arabs and people from other western countries.Unfortunately few people like Dr.Ramzan Bashar Dost know & feel what foreigners are doing in Afghanistan but such people cannot stand long in government as he was fired from Karzai cabinet for taking action against 2500 NGOs which are working not for building infrustructure or social welfare but they are there with a mission i.e to take away the resources.Recommend

  • IZ

    This has to be one of the dumbest articles I’ve ever read. I wish Pakistani journalists would try researching into whatever it is they are pontificating about. The mineral wealth was discovered years ago by the Russians though only recently mapped by the Americans. Afghanistan has absolutely no infrastructure for extraction, processing and transport of this wealth which means that it (or anyone else) cannot hope to benefit from it for many, many years. Stability, education and industrial development has to occur first. The Americans choose to make a big deal of it now to try and give a morale boost to the Afghanistan govt which is in disary.

    And its no wonder the author couldn’t figure out why the Americans invaded Afghanistan given her inability to do a little bit of research into the matters she is writing about. It was because Al Qaeda was sitting around plotting mayhem in Afghanistan and when the US demanded that they be handed over for trial, the Pakistani military urged the Taliban not to hand them over, saying that the Americans would never have the stomach to invade the country. Guess who was wrong? And the poor Afghans are still paying the price.Recommend