by Rod D. Martin
September 6, 2021

There actually was a better answerI told you about it in 2014, here.

Unfortunately, we’re getting the exact opposite. The Taliban are now China’s clients. The Chinese won’t care what the Taliban do, so long as Chinese interests (in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Xinjiang) are not threatened. So the Taliban will be as bloody as ever, with an extra incentive to be especially bloody where it helps the Chinese Communist Party.

The first thing that will help the CCP will be pacified highways and mining areas. Afghanistan is an extremely rich source of key minerals, including Lithium, most of which have been untapped because of 40 years of war. They will be fully exploited now, by China.

But that’s just the beginning. With the U.S. gone, Pakistan fears the Pashtuns in Kabul (and their Chinese friends) far more than it fears us, and all the more so since we’re getting closer to India. So a combination of fear and convenience will shift nuclear Pakistan decidedly into the Chinese camp. The BRI port at Gwadar will become not just an economic center for exports from Afghanistan but a full Chinese naval base, threatening India from the west for the first time, and also screening the Straits of Hormuz, posing a real threat to oil supplies and to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleets.

In Pakistan, CCP consolidation of control in Afghanistan means a far greater threat of a Taliban-like (or actual Taliban) takeover in Islamabad. Aside from the horror of a nuclear-armed Taliban, this means Pakistan will have to be especially pliable, and that China has levers over Pakistan which will be quite difficult to avoid.

Pak alliance with China means India (the world’s largest democracy, also nuclear) will be flanked on land and at sea. It will have to decide if it wants to move closer to the U.S. (and be forced to trust us) or attempt a reconciliation with China (a very dangerous proposition). It may attempt both, badly. It will be meaningfully less safe and will likely be forced to significantly increase military and naval spending, introducing further instability and uncertainty into the system, especially over time in the Indian Ocean (again, through which a very large percentage of the world’s oil passes). This is likely to force an Indian-Japanese alliance, informal or otherwise, creating greater dangers in Northwest Asia.

Afghanistan also gives China a direct land route to Iran, with whom it’s already forged a weak but meaningful alliance. That development will threaten U.S. interests all the way to the Mediterranean.

What I mapped out in the article could have brought a stable peace and a workable balance of power. What I just described is the polar opposite of that, and a significant long term geopolitical defeat for the Free World, one which hardly anyone understands.

What We Should Have Done originally appeared as a Facebook post by Rod D. Martin.