Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sam Sloan's Foreign Aid Package Would Focus On Building Railroads In Afghanistan & A Road From The Port Of Karachi To Tajikistan Instead Of Giving Billions Of Dollars In Aid To Israel

Sam Sloan, a candidate for the Libertarian Party's Presidential Nomination, issued the following position paper with respect to his foreign aid priorities if elected President of the United States:

Sam Sloan on Foreign Aid

I believe that Ron Paul and most Libertarians want to abolish all USA Foreign Aid. I do not agree. I am in favor of some foreign aid. The difference is I make a distinction between true foreign aid, that actually aids the people, and foreign invasion that just kills some people on the pretext of “foreign aid”.

I have two pet foreign aid projects I will carry out if I am so fortunate as to be elected president. Both are big projects that only the USA has the resources to carry out, yet will cost far less than the billions the USA is using now to fight foreign wars.

The first proposed project is a railroad across Afghanistan. A little appreciated fact is there is not even one mile of railroad track inside Afghanistan, almost the only country in the world about which this is true. The reason is the old kings and tribal chiefs of Afghanistan were fearful of modern technology and the threats it would bring to their rule, so they would not allow a railroad to be built.

The result is all the surrounding countries have built railroads right to the border with Afghanistan, but never crossing the border. The Iranians have built a railroad track right to the border of Islam Qala near Herat. I have been there. The Russians have built a railroad right to the border of Termez near Mazar-i-Sharif. The British built railroads to the entry points at Landikotal - Torkham and Chaman near Kandahar. I have been to most of these places.

It is truly a shame that the Afghans have never allowed a railroad to be built in their country. If this Afghanistan railroad were built, then all of these lines would be connected together and goods, services and people could be transported all the way from Europe to India and beyond, as there are good rail links connecting all of these places except for in Afghanistan.

Since our occupation army is already there, we could build this railroad in a few weeks. We are already spending billions there and accomplishing nothing. This project would cost peanuts and have permanent value.

One problem is that all these different existing railroad lines have different gauges. The Russians use a wider gauge than the British and the Iranians. Naturally, it is desirable for railroad cars to be able to run on the same tracks all the way from Western Europe to India and China. This is a difficult problem but I believe there is a solution.

The second project I want to build is the Tajikistan Road. This is a new idea, already at the thinking stage. Just thinking about this is progress because until a few years ago this idea was unthinkable. The idea is to build a road from the Port of Karachi to Tajikistan.

The Tajiks have already been talking about this and have signed onto this project. I am not sure if they thought of it or if we thought of it but in any case the Tajiks like it because it would give them access to the Indian Ocean.

There are a lot of problems with this project. The first problem is back in the 1960s, the World Bank loaned a billion dollars to Pakistan to build a road from Karachi to Peshawar. The money wound up in the Swiss Bank Accounts of the military rulers of that time and thus the road was never built. We then forgave the debt. So, this time, we build the road. The Pakistanis cannot be trusted to build their own road.

A key link of the proposed Tajikistan Road had just been completed, or nearly completed. This is the Lowari Tunnel connecting Chitral to the rest of Pakistan. It is the Lowari Tunnel that makes the Tajikistan
Road feasible. Without it, the only way through the Hindu Kush would be up the Kunar River in Afghanistan, an area of heavy fighting both now and traditionally, making a road there unfeasible.

To get from Chitral to Tajikistan there are two possible routes. One is over the Dorah Pass to Badakhshan in Afghanistan. The other is over the Broghol Pass to the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. Both routes have their adherents. The Dorah Pass route is the shortest in number of miles. However, the Dorah Pass is 2,000 feet higher than the Broghol Pass. It is 14,108 feet. This is about as high as the peak of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the Continental United States.

Perhaps more importantly, the Badakhshan side of the Dorah Pass was the scene of the heaviest fighting in the Wars in Afghanistan. The wars were so intense that entire regions were depopulated. Only now people are starting to come back and live there. For this reason, I believe that the Dorah Pass is unsuitable.

Broghol Pass, which I favor, does not have these problems. The road would be about one hundred miles longer. It would go up the Yarkhun Valley. There has never been any fighting there. The terrain is relatively flat. It would not be difficult to build a road there. I know this because I have been there, by the way.

The extra hundred miles should not be a big problem in view of the importance of this road. The Broghol Pass is only 12,460 feet high. This might seem a lot but the good thing is the egress to the pass is relatively flat. There is not much danger of avalanche.

One may wonder why it was necessary to build a tunnel under Lowari Pass which is only 10,230 feet high but not under Broghol Pass which is 2,230 feet higher. The answer is Lowari Pass is surrounded by high
mountains and an avalanche can strike without warning at any moment.

Every Spring when the snows are melting a few people are killed trying to cross Lowari Top. Three people were killed by avalanche there just a few days ago. This is why it was necessary to spend a billion dollars to build a tunnel under there.

By the way, the Lowari Tunnel was built by the Koreans. The Pakistanis could not build their own tunnel.

The Broghol Pass is not merely the best way to cross. It is just about the only way to cross. It is 2000 feet lower than any other mountain pass in the area and takes you directly in about 12 miles from the headwaters of the Indus River to the head waters of the Amu-Darya River and Tajikistan. It is the only good route to cross the Pamir Knot. When the British discovered this pass late in the 19th Century, they were fearful that the Russians would use this pass for the invasion and conquest of India. There is no other suitable way for an
army to use as an invasion route to cross the Hindu Kush - Himalaya Mountain Range.

I think you will agree that these two are worthwhile projects, but you will no doubt be asking why should we bother with these people. Why not just let them stew in their own juice?

My response is that we are giving billions of dollars to a certain favored country* and, as far as I can tell, we are accomplishing nothing, zero, over there. What have we accomplished there, besides making enemies? These two projects I propose will change the demographics of the world for the better. The Afghanistan Railroad Project will connect England and France by rail with India and even points beyond if we can solve the Burma Problem. The Tajikistan Road will connect not only Tajikistan but Kyrgyzstan and the other Central Asian Countries to the South Sea. These projects should be done and only the USA has the resources to do them.

Finally and most importantly, not one person will be killed by the USA in doing these projects, unlike most of the other USA so called “foreign aid” projects that involve killing lots of people.

* As far as defending Israel is concerned, our job is not to defend Israel. They should defend themselves. They have been getting billions of dollars from us every year and they already have every weapon of mass destruction known to man, including the A-Bomb, so they should be able to defend themselves.

2 comments:

  1. What makes your railroad project a good use of my (US taxpayer) money?

    There are many inefficiencies around the world, but it's not our job to correct them all.

    Why not let private firms finance the railroad if it's such a no-brainer?

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  2. Perhaps the reason Libertarians never get elected unless they run under the banner of some other party is they tend to take their positions to their logical extremes. For example, Libertarians often say that there should be "open borders" and that anybody should be allowed to come to America and compete for jobs here provided only that they can walk across the scorching hot Arizona desert. "Open borders" has been dropped from the official Libertarian Party platform following what happened on 9/11.

    Libertarians often state that America should never go to war, regardless of the circumstances. I had a debate with a Libertarian on this subject a few weeks ago. He maintained that the USA should not have entered World War II at all. He said that the USA should have ignored the Rape of Nanking, the Bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust. We should ask Lee Wright about this because he seems to be a one-issue anti-war candidate who probably takes this view too.
    The hardest issue for Libertarians to sell is our view that all drugs including Heroin should be legalized. We believe that every person has the right to decide what to ingest into their body. We lose a lot of votes because of this view but I believe that we have to stand behind it as it is the essence of our very existence.
    The poster above obviously believes that there should be no foreign aid of any kind what ever. He probably also believes that we should sell the bridges and roads to private bidders. He might also possibly be an advocate of private armies. I wonder what he thinks about the gold standard.

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