No, not the World Cup. Not even close.
All the reports are linking to The New York Times but whenever I open the NYT website, it messes up my computer.
[Must be a conservative computer, trained to shut down when it encounters an evil liberal site? Well, that’s the simplified technical explanation. The more complicated one involves fairies with cookies]
Anyway, the story is a stunner. Here are a few details accompanied by some cynical commentary from Durden Tyler at Zero Hedge:
And there are those who wonder why the US has spent countless dollars and thousands of dead soldiers protecting a few desolate mountain passes in Afghanistan. And no, it turns out it is not just the opium trade.
The NYT reports that “The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.”
“Fundamentally alter the Afghan economy”…or drive it to the very apex of Saudi degraded corruption? Just sayin’…
This is akin to a destitute street person winning millions in the lottery. While everyone is happy for his ‘good’ fortune it isn’t long before the money’s gone – taken by every opportunist who can manage to grab him – and then he’s back on the street, in worse shape than before.
Again, from Mr. Durden – I like his style:
The article continues, “The previously unknown deposits – including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium – are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.” Ah yes – “previously unknown.”
Yet the punchline of the piece: “The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists.”
One ponders the words “ a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists”… so what were these officials and scientists actually doing out there in the badlands of Afghanistan? Backpacking? Trekking?
Mr. Durden opines drily:
Because $1 trillion worth of minerals just lie there waiting to be discovered almost 10 years after the initial incursion. Next thing you know FCX already had an entire mining infrastructure in place just in case a contingency like this miraculously occurred.
Wha?? You don’t believe in miracles? Here’s FCX for those of us who don’t keep up with precious metal commodities.
Meanwhile, sez Durden:
– – – – – – – – –
… look for gold prices to plunge as the newly uncovered gold deposits are rumored to be “large” enough to once again refill Fort Knox and to push the supply curve three miles to the right.
More on this truly “stunning” discovery:
The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.
he previously unknown deposits – including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium – are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and Blackberries.
According to the commenters at the Zero Hedge site, many of them far more cynical than Mr. Durden,…“dream on”.
I can’t wait to see the headlines that claim we have known this for years and we only went to Afghanistan for the minerals, just like we only ventured into Iraq for the oil. Of course the Chinese ended up with the Iraqis’ oil, so who do you think will get the Afghan minerals?
Mr. Durden thinks we will:
Is it time for “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: Part 2, the 21st Century paradigm”? Yet presumably not all is as expected: “Yet the American officials also recognize that the mineral discoveries will almost certainly have a double-edged impact. Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.”
Which is why it will be best to have the US military not only stay in Afghanistan indefinitely but to get a million man reinforcement surge. After all now that it is finally becoming clear that the most recent US state is located somewhere in the middle of Asia, things are about to get a whole lot more interesting.
General Petraeus thinks it’s got a “stunning potential”. The paranoid Greek choruses in some of the financial blogs think that Big Satan planned this all along. Or that it’s just some “misdirection” to take our attention off the American economy or the soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Hmmm…I have a novel idea: let’s wait and see what happens before we start throwing stones, shall we?
Meanwhile, we could start training the Afghan people to learn “The Star Spangled Banner”. We’ll round up some robust Pashtun singers for the grand finale.