Posted on 20 March 2011.
It is often the case that countries labeled “conflict zones” and abundant in desirable resources, suffer through frequent civil hostilities as competing factions struggle to control these sources of natural wealth. Blood commodities, such as diamonds and gold, are obtained under circumstances that violate basic human rights or are used by rebel groups to fuel conflict and civil wars. Oil, being the world’s most politically significant and volatile liquid, has arguably been exploited in circumstances that beggar the fiercest diamond grabs. Unlike diamonds, which are a low bulk, high value commodity that can be easily smuggled, oil is much more difficult to smuggle and is already subject to sufficient regulations and controls. Is designating oil as a blood commodity the proper first step in curtailing the political and social volatility over its allocation?
Posted in International Affairs
Posted on 26 November 2010.
Recently, geological surveys of Afghanistan were completed which estimated Afghanistan’s mineral deposits to be worth greater than $1 trillion–nearly 100 times Afghanistan’s current GDP. The geologists even estimated that Afghanistan could hold the world’s largest supply of lithium and niobium which are essential in many modern electronics. It also holds large deposits of other natural resources such as iron, copper, cobalt and even oil. The United States could take advantage of this and include mining these deposits as a means for stabilizing the country. Yet, these deposits would take years to begin to be mined and take even longer to become profitable. The largest cost to such a plan is that it could easily force the U.S. to remain in Afghanistan for far longer to protect the mines as they are being established. Can the U.S. make mining a priority without losing focus on the intensifying fight against insurgents?
Posted in Domestic Affairs, International Affairs, Military