|This was once part of the famed Silk Road.|
Recently the Miami Herald ran a story about how a Chinese consortium agreed in 2007 to pay $3 billion for a 30-year lease to mine copper. It is the largest private investment in Afghan history, and Afghan officials hailed it as a key component in building an economy that one day won’t rely almost solely on donor nations and the opium trade. They said it would generate hundred of millions of dollars a year for the government eventually and would provide thousands of jobs. By some estimates there is at least $100 billion in copper deposits at the leased site.
The article however centers around the claim by French Archeologists that the mine will destroy a World Heritage site that contains some of the oldest known Buddhist Statues, many of which are carved into the sides of mountains that will be stripped mined. The statues are said to be relics of the once mighty Silk Road. However the real story is completely over looked.
To put it in Dickensian terms, we have a tale of two countries. The first country has spent the last decade laying waste to the country and it's neighbors. It has killed upwards of a 100,000 people and mutilated, raped, and injured even more. The second country on the other hand made a peaceful offer to turn their backwards economically country into one of relative wealth. This second country has never indiscriminately killed their woman and children or set up torture camps. And oh did I mention this second country has a 3,000 year old shared history.
Which country do you think the people of Afghanistan will prefer? Unless you are some kind mindless automaton blinded by ultra-nationalism the answer is as obvious as Buddha's big round stomach, the Chinese. Recently released admissions from the Boston bomber and Yemeni student activists has only served to drive home the fact that the region hates America. Far from stopping terrorism, instead our heavy handed over reaction gave 100 million people one hell of a legitimate reason to hate us. There is a lesson in this that America's leaders need to learn and learn quickly,"You can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar".