First the Brits in the 19th century. Then the Russians. Then us. All failures. Now, the Chinese. Some people don’t read history.

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FNC: “As American troops complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan, Beijing appears to have been waiting in the wings for an opportunity to enter the war-torn country. For President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party, Afghanistan is a crucial piece of the puzzle. It offers a portal through which the Chinese military might access the Arabian Sea, via Iran or Pakistan. Afghanistan could also provide access to Iran and the Middle East, and a route to the Indian Ocean and on to Africa.

As China prepares to make significant investments that would secure its influence in Afghanistan, author and China expert Gordon Chang has doubts about the regime’s ability to succeed.”

Chang: “Because the Chinese are more vicious, yes, I think they’ll have a better chance of achieving their goals in Afghanistan than us. But having a better chance doesn’t mean they’ll succeed. I think they will just take longer to fail.”

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“We’ve seen China establish relationships in unruly areas, but this would be a much bigger commitment for them. This is not some far away commitment where they can just pull up stakes, once China goes in it is going to be extremely hard for them to get out.”

Chang speculated that extending the Chinese Belt Road Initiative could be a non starter for the Chinese. “I don’t think Belt and Road really is that important in terms of the way Afghans think. It just gives them more leverage over the Chinese, because once you start building infrastructure you’ve got to protect it.”

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And “It’s going to be pretty expensive for them to get minerals out of Afghanistan. I’m not saying they can’t do it; I think they probably will do it. But the cost is going to be much higher than they presently contemplate.”

“Afghanistan is an unruly country,” Chang opined. “Even with [China’s] 30-year lease on their copper mine were not able to take advantage of it…Beijing is committing genocide and crimes against humanity against them, and they’re worried that Afghanis are going to aid the Uyghurs…Although [the Chinese] are vicious, I don’t think that they’re as vicious as the elements that they’re going to face.”

“They’ve got a great relationship with the Taliban, but the Taliban are not the only element in Afghan society. There are a lot of militants with very different interests,” Chang explained. “India can play these groups against China in Afghanistan, bedevil the Chinese, bog them down.”

“Right now, the most important threat to the United States are not the militants in Afghanistan, but China. We were bogged down in Afghanistan with this whole notion of nation building…Beijing has a lot of money, they can do a lot of things, but they can’t do everything and right now they are overstretched. And it looks like they’re going to add one more commitment to something that, yeah, maybe they can succeed, but is going to come at an enormous cost. I would love to see China get mired into Afghanistan,” Chang admitted. “This is going to be fun to watch.”