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The Empire Strikes Back: China Returns to Afghanistan

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If you read the North American and European press, you will get the impression that the Chinese have, geopolitically, reached their westernmost geographical limit in offering themselves as the new patrons of Afghanistan. It's a bold strike against China's NATO competitors, who have left, or who have been driven out of Afghanistan by the Taliban. And so, China is making the new government of Taliban rulers in Afghanistan its tributary, or client state.

The Taliban do not have money and look to the Chinese for aid and investment because the only shrewd and right thing the U.S. government did before its panicked retreat from Afghanistan was to ensure that the gold of Afghanistan and its currency reserves were safely in a vault in or around New York City. From these funds, no doubt, the Biden administration is now offering its first sixty-four million dollars of "development assistance," or perhaps ransom money, to that self-declared Islamic dictatorship. We can be sure that the Taliban will use these funds to empower women and protect ethnic minorities.

Despite the hybrid and contorted Marxism of today's ruling Communist Party of China, the Chinese and their leaders are a country and people with a long historical memory, at least 2,500 years of it. It is common Chinese practice to look at the present through the lens of the past. And so, Chinese people are well aware that they once ruled or at least lorded it over Afghanistan, for at least about one hundred years.

This was during the period of the Tang Dynasty, whose imperial rulers of the Tang Empire (618–907) controlled a land mass that began in the Pacific and reached the Hindu Kush in the west. During that time, what is today Afghanistan, Pakistan, and much of Northern India was part of a series of sophisticated, urbane, and literate Buddhist cultures.

At the time, the area was a world center of Buddhist scholarship and teaching. Its artisans and sculptors were the creators of the massive Buddhist rock sculptures of the Bamiyan valley in Afghanistan, which were blown up by the iconoclastic Afghan Taliban on the 21st of February, 2001.

During the seventh century A.D., a traveling monk from China knew that the texts and the teaching of Buddhism were purer in the Afghan and Indian........

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