Friday, November 7, 2014

China Replaces NATO?

Now that Operation Enduring Freedom is approaching the end of mission (December 2014), the insurgents have been defeated, the terrorist safe havens have been cleared, and al Qaeda has been eliminated we wonder who will reap the benefits of this hard 13-year long hard-fought victory. While we were slogging it out on the battlefield, suffering numerous deaths and wounded, and spending our money - someone was on the sidelines waiting to pick up the pieces and reap the benefits. Can you spell C - H - I - N -A? Watch for it. China has been slowly picking up its diplomatic activity with Afghanistan. It has cautiously invested in economic activities such as Afghanistan's extensive mineral wealth (see Mes Aynak copper mine). It has engaged other South Asian nations (India and Pakistan) to encourage regional stability. China has become very westward looking in its diplomacy and economic engagement (not Europe, but Central Asia) especially with the re-invention of the Silk Road. Of course, there are some security concerns as well. China, due to its subjugation of the Muslims in its western province of Xinjiang, wants to ensure that an unstable Afghanistan does not become a sanctuary for jihadists. Apparently it sees the problems that insurgents who have sanctuary in Pakistan can cause security forces in Afghanistan (something that ISAF could never seem to fix). Learn more in "Afghanistan: Out with NATO, in with China?", The Christian Science Monitor, October 28, 2014.

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