The Taliban overthrew the Afghan government elected on Monday. On Tuesday, the gun-armed Taliban leaders who assaulted cameras in the presidential palace in Kabul received warm greetings from Beijing.
Welcome to Belt and Road, China’s outward openness policy that traps the Third World. And Afghanistan, which shares a 50-mile border with China, is now a perfect target.
“The facts have proven once again that the military intervention of certain countries against a sovereign state in the name of democracy and human rights has seriously undermined the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country concerned,” causing serious damage to its economic and social development and leading to massive civilian casualties. victims and displacement, “Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian sang Tuesday.” These countries should immediately end illegal military interventions and make concrete efforts to safeguard world peace and security and promote and protect human rights. “
By hugging the Taliban, China is once again opening the world’s largest pawnshop. Impoverished countries like Afghanistan can put natural resources as collateral for infrastructure, no credit checks or human rights studies are required.
Iran’s brutal regimes in Venezuela are getting economic growth, which helps them cling to power. China first gains bushels of influence, isolating Chinese President Xi Jinping who is viewed with suspicion by the West and in the capitals of Asian democracies.
As politics unfold, China gains unrestricted access to oil, mineral wealth and other natural resources, and widely open markets for its industrial production.
In Congo, Belt and Road brought China 10.6 million tonnes of copper and 600,000 tonnes of cobalt.
Zimbabwe pledged platinum. Kenya has established its coffee harvest and ceded title to the ports of Nairobi and Mombassa. Iran has pledged crude oil and natural gas.
Dictatorships often face economic problems. China is a friendly lender. Can’t pay? China will keep the pledged goods.
Afghanistan has a lot to do with it. A Pentagon study has found it to have more than $ 1 trillion in untapped mineral wealth, including one of the richest lithium deposits on the planet. A key material in the production of batteries for everything from cellphones to Tesla automobiles, lithium trades at $ 7 a pound, nearly 90 times the price of iron ore.
And Afghanistan offers much more to China than mineral wealth. Influence over the influential Taliban could help Beijing take control of Islamic militants in its far western provinces.
China has used concentration camps and police power to suppress Muslims, most of the Uyghur minority group, being looked down upon by the United Nations and Western powers. But China has remained in contact with the Taliban, prompting allegations that Beijing has helped militants thwart US efforts in Afghanistan.
If the Taliban said a good word, however, militancy could ebb. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, Zhao Lijian is already smiling.
“China’s position on the Afghan issue is clear and consistent,” he said. “We hope that Afghanistan can form an open, inclusive and broadly representative government that echoes the widely shared aspirations of its own people and the international community.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240