If no one else has yet said it, let me be the first to advocate U.S. exploitation of Afghanistan's newly discovered vast mineral wealth. The U.S. has been engaged in a long, costly and frustrating nation-building effort in Afghanistan, with no end in sight, and not much to show for it beyond the initial successes. Now we have apparently found an amazing treasure trove of resources in what was thought to be a generally resource-poor country. It's time to cash-in, and receive some return for the mountains of aid, much of which has been squandered, that we've poured into the country.
Exploitation of Afghan mineral wealth is clearly in the U.S. interest. We should begin immediately to secure favorable development contracts, using all our leverage with the Karzai government. Whining about imperialism or other criticisms of such a strategy should be ignored. For once in the Obama administration, the U.S. should actually work to secure U.S. interests. If we do not, other countries such as China will surely take advantage of the situation and leave us behind. Not that it should matter from the U.S. perspective, but U.S. primacy in Afghan resource development will almost certainly also be in the interest of Afghanistan as well as America. Afghanistan doesn't have the technological skill, organization and experience to extract those riches on its own. It needs assistance. And it is far likelier to get a deal benefiting the Afghan people from the U.S. than from a country like China or Russia. Along with our solo efforts, the U.S. should work in conjunction with its European allies that have supported & participated in the Afghan war, to structure deals for our mutual benefit.
It is highly unfortunate that this great discovery was made with the incompetent Obama administration in charge of U.S. foreign policy. I have no confidence that we will actually move to secure U.S. interests and benefit from this find. But we'll have to wait and see.