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Our two wars have been sucking us dry in two countries where state-owned Chinese companies have just scored significant economic victories. “While the United States spends hundreds of billions of dollars fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda [in Afghanistan],” wrote Wines, “China is securing raw material for its voracious economy. The world’s superpower is focused on security. Its fastest rising competitor concentrates on commerce.”
Already, the follow-up pieces are starting to come out and heady cocktails they are: one part awe and one part bitterness mixed with one part despair. In Esquire online, Thomas P.M. Barnett put it this way: “Worse still: Will the rest of the world end up profiting from our blood and money?... The reason why Obama neglects to mention any regional interests like Pakistan's? Admitting the larger logic of regionalization would make too painfully obvious the nature of our current strategic bankruptcy. Because it would suggest that the only 'victory' to be found would be 'won' by those neighboring powers who did nothing to stabilize the situation. In other words, their 'treasure' and our 'blood.'" At Foreign Policy online, Stephen M. Walt chimed in: “While we've been running around playing whack-a-mole with the Taliban and 'investing' billions each year in the corrupt Karzai government, China has been investing in things that might actually be of some value, like a big copper mine.”