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Afghanistan, the Yuan, Cap and Trade April 4, 2010

Posted by Afflatus in Environment, World Affairs.
Tags: , ,

This article explains the extent to which both India and Pakistan are vying for influence in Afghanistan, and they’re essentially fighting a proxy war there. The article also makes clear that India’s interests don’t align with ours, and their presence there is increasing instability despite their philanthropy ($1.3 billion invested in irrigation, schools, hospitals).  Though obvious, it’s crucial to keep in mind that regional interests are extremely important. An uncritical reader of US media coverage of Afghanistan could easily lose sight of this fact. Though I do expect to see the US actively engaged in the region for many years, India and Pakistan’s interests will outlast ours.

I also thought Obama’s recent decision to delay this “Chinese currency manipulating Treasury report” was a great move. The way they handled it seems truly creative and I’m becoming optimistic the issue will be resolved diplomatically later this year. The genius of it is that the US will be in a relatively stronger negotiating position vis a vis China in June. They’re also getting fantastic talking points and sound bites into the media.I’m in favor of anything multilateral and diplomatic, AND they whipped the unions and labor leaders into support.

The EU’s cap and trade system seems to have been implemented horribly! A surplus of permits not sold but handed out for free, and a overall emissions cap which was set too high has created serious problems. The silver lining in the article is that businesses were able to reduce emissions for cheaper than everyone expected! What should the EU’s policy be going forward? Lower the overall cap, tell businesses to stop whining, and devalue the permits.


1. presto21 - April 10, 2010

A really nice trio of articles, all of which deal with extremely timely issues.

I think the Pakistan-India spat over influence in Afghanistan is particularly important to any calculation of a U.S. exit strategy, so I’m glad to see coverage of that angle in a major American newspaper like the Washington Post. Pakistan’s fear of being “sandwiched” by hostile nations seems to often lead them to support the most radical anti-India groups they can find, and this has historically tended to be Islamists.

Time and time again Pakistan has shown itself unable to control these elements in Afghanistan and its own borders once it has nurtured them for anti-India purposes. Pakistan’s paranoia seems to me a real obstacle to stability in the region because it often leads them into bed with violent extremists (their unhinged intelligence service especially serving as a conduit). It is sad that India’s aid is perceived as such a threat by the Pakistanis, but I suppose by now it has become pretty clear these two countries see their interests as being inherently in conflict with each other.

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