USA answers Europe Attempt to Secure Rare Earth Elements
On July 5, 2012, Europe published new rare earth elements’ policy; two days later, the USA answered…
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A mountainous country, Afghanistan was suspected of possessing mineral fortunes since the 19th century, when it played a central role in the Great Game between the British and Russian empires. Both empires conducted extensive geological studies in the area; the USSR—the Russian Empire successor—maintained around 250 scientists studying Afghanistan’s geology during the 1960s and 1970s. Oil, natural gas, and related goods were found in large quantities. In 2007, a 30-year lease was granted to the China Metallurgical Group for the Aynak Copper Mine. Steel Authority of India won the mining rights to the huge Hajigak Iron Mine. The map below shows the results of the U.S. Geological Survey – Afghanistan Geological Survey Joint Mineral Resource Assessment Team (2010). Afghanistan sits atop a mineral fortune. Additional surveys found REE in large quantities; the incomplete data on these, assess them at $7.4 billion, the ores including mainly light rare earth elements.
Despite its awesome mineral richness, Afghanistan is one of the ten poorest countries in the world; mainly due to the ongoing devastation caused by the different empires involved in the area. After REE were found, Afghanistan was doomed. In recent years these elements have become increasingly used, especially in thin, bright-color screens and computer memories. As such, they have become strategic for countries with advanced industries, which can also use them for their nuclear and space industries. At this moment, none of them has any value to Afghanistan, except as minerals for export. The Afghani space industry belongs to the far, far future. The USA was unlikely to let this richness be enjoyed by its owners; today a Major Non-NATO Ally status was imposed on this occupied country.
Major Non-NATO Ally
The still-largest economy of the world has defined as a major ally one of the smallest economies. The unbeatable American-Afghani Alliance will now defeat the world. China, build a new Great Wall! Russia, triple your nuclear arsenal! Fiji, prepare for a merciless maritime attack! It is remarkable that the US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the news while visiting Kabul—Afghanistan’s capital—without laughing.
The status of Major Non-NATO Ally is given by the USA to countries that have strategic relationships with the US army but are not members of NATO. After Afghanistan was awarded it, the number of countries and special territories possessing it rose to 17. They include Japan, Israel, Pakistan, South Korea, and other strategically located territories. The usual reason for giving this award is to allow the beneficiary country access to specific advantages. It is relevant to see and understand the entire list of these:
Can the USA assure access to the rare goods?
In 2014, NATO will end its combat mission in Afghanistan. Unless something dramatic happens, the U.S. will need to leave the country. If that happens, the REE will probably be mined by Chinese or Indian corporations, as it is done now with less-valuable ores. The USA cannot trust the Taliban to provide the necessary dramatic event, so it created it by itself. After recognizing Afghanistan as a Major non-NATO Ally, American presence is not bound by a NATO military intervention. The USA plans to keep military forces after 2014, under the excuse of training the local army, which is now an American ally. This is not hypothetical. During her visit, Hillary Clinton said: “This is the kind of relationship that we think will be especially beneficial as we do the transition and as we plan for the post-2014 presence, it will open the door to Afghanistan’s military to have a greater capability and a broader kind of relationship with the United States and especially the United States military.” Under such circumstances, the USA will have easy control over any desired resources in the area, especially since the actual Afghani regime is completely dependent on America’s goodwill. The Afghani government wasn’t even asked if it wanted the new status; it was imposed by Empire. This week, in the hidden war for the control over strategic deposits of rare earth elements, Europe and the USA have clearly stated their positions. Meanwhile, China is consciously depleting its own ores in Inner Mongolia, hoping to avoid future colonial attacks. Who said the Great Game was over?
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