Asia Times, December 9, 2017
Erik Prince’s plan for Afghanistan’s rare metals revealed
Leaked pitch to Trump administration warns of China’s goal to control key tech resource
Despite his current role as head of a Chinese security and logistics company, Erik Prince is warning the Trump administration of the threats posed by China, and offering the company’s services as part of a remedy.
In a presentation given to the Trump administration, published in full by Buzzfeed on Thursday, Prince outlined a plan to privatize US military operations in Afghanistan and mine rare-earth elements in the country. In addition, Prince’s Hong Kong-listed company, Frontier Services Group, would participate in the plan, providing “logistics support to the extractive firms with secure transportation and camp support.”
One slide of the presentation stated that China has made the control of global REEs an unstated economic policy. “In addition to starving supply to Western markets, it is believed the goal was to force Western users to onshore tech to mainland China,” it said.
Prince described his strategic vision for Afghanistan as an “East India Company approach” — a reference to the colonial-era British empire-building entity — in an editorial for the Wall Street Journal last March.
A US Defense Department spokesperson confirmed that Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Prince earlier this year, but there is reportedly little support for the plan. The Atlantic reported in August that former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner were keen on Prince’s ideas, but Mattis, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Advisor HR McMaster were not convinced.
In response to Buzzfeed’s request for a comment on the story, Erik Prince declined to talk, saying “you’re a fucking hack.”
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