Monday, June 14, 2010

Vast Mineral Resources Worth 1 Trillion Dollars Discovered in Afghanistan: Will We "Racism Chasers" Discuss this Issue?

Racism chasing shoes are often made of cement. As a confession, I have many pairs of these shoes in varying sizes.

The black blogosphere, for a variety of good reasons, is always ready to respond to incidents of racism and prejudice. But many in the black blogosphere are often blind (like many of us in general) to the macro-level structural changes that impact all Americans across the colorline. Ironically, the seemingly "unsexy" or "unentertaining" stories that are buried on page 6 of the local newspaper and/or have nothing to do with celebrities, sports, and people famous for excelling at being nothing other than stupid and famous (the Paris Hiltons and Kim Kardashians of the world) impact the poor, working classes, and people of color the most.

The discovery of 1 trillion dollars worth of rare minerals in Afghanistan is one of those stories. These minerals are used for superconductors, weapons systems, advanced computers, and other critical areas of a superpower economy (where "superpower" is the mating of the corporate, the military, and the political).

In total, there have been quite a few stories in recent months that should have been more widely discussed by the mainstream media and also on the black blogosphere. The launch of the recoverable space plane and hypersonic cruise missile should have been widely discussed as it ushers in continued U.S. unilateralism, the further militarization of space, "global strike," and full spectrum dominance. The contraction of the U.S. money supply forebodes horrible things for the (not present) U.S. economic recovery. The U.S. is bleeding both blood and treasure in Afghanistan--with 23 dead U.S. soldiers this month alone. Moreover, among those in the know it is a given that the invasion of Afghanistan is going badly. Frighteningly, scientists reprogrammed DNA with the use of computers and created synthetic life.

The 1 trillion dollar prize in Afghanistan is a story that is at least as important as these--it is also equally likely to fly under the radar. Ultimately, the wars of the future (as they have always been...but perhaps moreso in the resource poor world of the 21st century) will be over water, oil, and liveable land. With the rise of China, and as indicated by their rush to secure resources in Africa--Afghanistan will most certainly be a highly contested prize.

Some obligatory questions of realpolitik:

  1. Will this discovery make the invasion worth it?
  2. How will 1 trillion dollars of resources complicate the United States' exiting of that country in 2011?
  3. Will the U.S. give up these minerals?
  4. Will the U.S. force Karzai's hand in order to prevent him from cutting a deal with China to exploit these resources?
  5. Will 1 trillion dollars in minerals be one more step towards an inevitable United States-China conflict?
  6. If the U.S. can exploit these resources does it make the invasion of Afghanistan worth it?
  7. And we must ask the hardest question of them all: What will the benefits of this find be for those of us not in the global power elite?
In thinking through this breaking story, I propose that for one day we hang up the racism chasing shoes. We must not forget that most of our greatest, most respectable negro intellectuals and leaders were cosmopolitan, global citizens. Oftentimes this fact is overlooked as many in the black blogosphere focus on micro-level aggressions in the post-Civil Rights era.

Remember my friends: Black is a nation, one that is local, national, and global. And this discovery, like many of "those stories" that are not explicitly about "us" or "race" are actually more important to our day to day lives and futures than the chronic racism chasers would lead you to believe.


CNu said...

discussed that last year when it was originally topical......,

Joanna said...

I posted an article about this last night. Since I have not been well, I did not say much about the article, just posted someone else's words. It is so interesting though, because in the article, it mentions the possibility of the Taliban trying to get back into power (to control these "newly discovered" resources), and it mentions China attempting to capitilize on the "new find". But no where does it mention the more realistic scenario--- that the US knew about these deposits all along, that the US was influenced to invade Afghanistan in the first place in order to control these resources, and that this "new discovery" will help line American pockets more than it will "fundamentally alter the Afghan economy" (quoted from the article)

John Kurman said...

You left out the most important question: Why this breaking news now? Is it to shift the tiny attention span of the depressingly brutish American race onto something new and shiny? What's going on that the ruthless do not want us to pay attention to? Not breaking news-wise *cough* Kyrgyzstan *cough*, but in the larger Central Asia Game?

1) Strategic minerals are not exactly that. Our engineers have been directed to feverishly work on finding cheap local substitutes for lithium, tantalum, platinum, etc. (for example, doped graphene, or super-atoms - arrangements of atoms that act like more exotic atoms, e.g. 8 aluminum atoms properly arranged act electrically like a platinum atom).
2) Rare earths, etc. have little valued-added worth. In other words, the cost of the manufactured item is equivalent to the cost of extraction/refinement. Since most electronic components are made in China, the fact that the exotic material is from there makes little difference).
3) 21st century neo-colonialism is going great! (meant only partly sarcastically) China is carving up Africa, US wants the Central Asian pie. This has been evident since the 90s to anyone looking beyond election cycles. But this virtual empire works only so long as it is worth it. We've moved beyond Hitler and Hirohito's neolithic vision of actually occupying and populating territory, into... what?
4) Am I being paranoid and imaginative enough? I don't think so. Not if I'm not thinking 50 years ahead, which the ruthless are obviously doing.

geerussell said...

China and India have been scrambling to bid for these deposits for a couple of years already.

As far as the US laying claim to any of it... good luck with that. The US has secured a couple major cities and everywhere outside of that, the Taliban does what they want, when and to whoever they want in Afganistan.

The notion of the US or any western business concern bringing in the civilians necessary to establish mining operations, hiring locals to work it and getting the product out is pretty far fetched in the absence of security.

CNu said...

We've moved beyond Hitler and Hirohito's neolithic vision of actually occupying and populating territory, into... what?

full-spectrum domination via remotely controlled surveillance and force projection vehicles.

As one of (if not THE) last great frontier region, I thought that the primary deep state architect for the current administration Dr. Zbig long ago asserted that central asia must absolutely be pacified and dominated so that the business of 21st century resource extraction can get on without native interference?

Preznit Obama has been driving this policy and these plans like it was his job.

Have I missed anything?

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu--But that still begs the question, why weren't others talking about this? I too have followed these issues...back when they were ghettoized to the late night art bell am radio land. But, even then I would shake my head and say they/we need to wake up to the real game at play.

@Joanna--there you go. Geopolitics is chess not checkers. But, if you said that the u.s. had other reasons to invade the region you would be marginalized as a kook and paranoid.

@John Kurman. What is your hypothesis? And I learned something...I knew about peak oil and the cost of extraction, but had not thought of it in this case. Great point.

@Geerussel--Great point. I am sure the U.S. with mercenaries and others--paying off the taliban even--will find a way. More frightening, what if the taliban win and cut a deal with China to process the minerals?

CNu said...

With Zbig's decade-old textbook explanation of the strategic significance of Central Asia, why would you be marginalized for pointing out that the hon.bro.preznit is hewing as close as humanly possible to that Brookings Institution storyboard on which his ascendancy, candidacy, and administration are all based?

John Kurman said...

Mister devega,

I'd not dignify my opinion with the term "hypothesis". Besides, it's after the fact now. There was nary a ripple in the markets and the echoes from the NYT thundercalp have petered out. It was a clumsy ploy, but I think the message was pointed at the Afghans, and it was (short version) "Plenty of money for ALL of you corrupted and diseased motherfuckers if you just let us get out with some dignity".

I couldn't tell you what the long version is. I am not party to that information.

OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin said...

@John: why this breaking news now?

Not sure if it's relevant, or post-hoc, but I thought the exact same thing last week when the story of the Taliban executing a 7 year old for spying I felt the reports were a leadup, perhaps an excuse to ramp up aggressions there, along the lines of babies and incubators (though this story is true, not a PR creation.)

Being basically immune to conspiracy theories, still, I do wonder if it was enhanced and timed just right, though.

OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin said...

Oh and as re: racism chasing, I had a moment around that last week, when the big story was still the Gaza flotilla, before that morphed into Helen Thomas for a couple days.

I had to take a different stand from left CW on the flotilla and especially on Cynthia McKinney, Tun Mahathir Mohamed and his Perdana outfit. Their writings and statements were predictably floated on both the Free Gaza Movement sites, which then fanned out to left sites as some kind of authorities on the matter due to her flap last year.

They are in bed with some nasty characters. Most of what I wrote is here, in case anyone is interested. Sometimes, racism chasing has one running after people who have gone down the tubes, yet still claim legitimacy. It's a big pain in the rearend, but it has to be done.