If we recognized China's right to absorb Afghanistan, would they?

I think they could clean things up. And it would sap their military like it saps ours now.

Why would they WANT Afghanistan? And considering that “clean up” would likely boil down to a genocide campaign I fail to see how it would be ethical.

Plus, Russia and India would not like that at all.

What “right” to absorb Afghanistan?

Maybe something built off the fact that there are Uighurs in China and Uighurs in Afghanistan?
Of course the Uighurs in China aren’t too happy about being part of China just now anyway, so maybe that’s not it.
Maybe TheMadHun is talking about some sort of hypothetical UN resolution declaring that Afghanistan is rightfully part of China?*

*and that pi is equal to 2.9731.

Alexander the Great could not do it.

Ghengis Kahn could not do it.

The British Empire, at its height (and in control of neighboring lands), could not do it.

The USSR, at its height (and in control of neighboring lands), could not do it.

America, the current dominant superpower, can’t do it.

What makes you think that China could do it, or that they would foolish enough to want to try?

Afghanistan is not Tibet and its not full of monks, I don’t think the Chinese would succeed.

The Chinese would be far more repressive and violent, but the Soviets were more repressive and violent too and they also lost. The Russians can barely conquer Chechnya, which has the land mass of Connecticut and the population of Rhode Island.

Does trying to control a domestic insurgency ever work? I don’t know tons about military history, but the US was in Vietnam for 17 years and lost. And we only got involved because the French gave up on Indochina. Tons of OECD nations were kicked out of Africa, Asia and Latin America due to domestic insurgency.

If people don’t want you in their country, they’ll make it clear even if it takes decades.

Could not do what? The British decimated the Afghans in the Second Anglo-Afghan war, put down an insurrection, and installed a puppet leader, directly controlling Afghanistan’s foreign relations. The idea that Afghanistan is some unconquerable territory is ridiculous, and doesn’t live up to any sort of serious historical analysis.

This. Any halfway intelligent government no matter where it is in the world is not going to want to touch Afghanistan with a fifty-mile pole. Even if for some highly unlikely reason following an insanely implausible series of events, China would in fact manage to ‘absorb’ Afghanistan, how would they benefit? They’re benefiting now seeing as the US and the coalition of the willing are wasting their time there, being held up in this quagmire.

Also, it’s been pointed out, but can I just ask how you define ‘right’?

The USSR in 1980 was very, very far from its height - past it by a good 20 years I would say.

That’ll be all though - carry on.

The second anglo afghan war was in 1880. Technology is different now and seems to empower insurgency more.

Communication devices, RPGs, mortars, explosives, traps and assault rifles are all fairly cheap, portable and effective. Any group of 1+ pissed off people can blow up vehicles and buildings, assassinate civilians, snipe enemy troops, lay booby traps everywhere, etc with affordable military tech.

Has any powerful military successfully put down a popular, grassroots insurgency that was using modern communications and military technology? I’m asking because I really don’t know. It seems the best they can hope for is keeping the violence and destruction to a somewhat palatable level.

Maybe the Pakistani invasion of SWAT was a success. But I thought that succeeded because the public turned against the taliban and cooperated with authorities


You are not wrong, and I agree that the people that tried to conquer Afghanistan really didn’t put much effort into doing it.

Certainly the Soviets, or the Chinese or the British could’ve conqured Afghanistan, but warfare isn’t always about eliminating the enemy. Afghanistan has a history of simply switching sides.

Are you gonna waste thousands of lives on a war when you can bribe the warlords who control the population over to your side? Of course not.

Afghanistan is a drain on us, 'cause like Vietnam we are fighting a war on the enemy’s terms not ours. Remember the Soviets didn’t want to rule Afghanistan they wanted a puppet state.

You can’t go in and wipe out everyone because if your goal is a puppet state, murdering people is going to anger the very people you’re trying to install as puppet rulers.

Realistically the USA could go in an conquer Afghanistan and impose our will. But it wouldn’t be a cakewalk, it would cost billions and in the end we don’t want to rule it but just to have a regime friendly to us.

Couldn’t China double the population of Afghanistan with solders?

Better yet, Couldn’t they just move a bunch of people there to live, like maybe a 100 million?

Yes, because quintupling the population of an impoverished country would have nothing but benefits.

The Afghan-Chinese border is only a very hazardous 76 kilometers long, so I can’t imagine the PRC squeezing its huge army through that tiny frontier without some major input from Pakistan and Tajikstan, both Muslim countries, one of which is in the Russian sphere of influence.

What right does China have to absorb Afghanistan? How would ‘we’ go about granting them this right? Why would we want to do it even if we could…and even if China had a right to absorb Afghanistan?

Even if we go along with the fantasy, why do you think China could clean things up exactly? Historically, what gives you the impression that China is capable of projecting the kind of power necessary to operate in Afghanistan? Logistically, how do you think China could support a large force in the region? True, they have a (very small) common border…but check out a terrain map some time between the two countries. Also, look up rail support to the closest Chinese city to Afghanistan (who’s name escapes me atm).

It would be impossible for China to do it on the scales they would need to have any effect. Why they would WANT too, even if they could use magic pony tech to get their logistics into the region is beyond me as well.

Sure. But I wasn’t the one who (falsely) brought up the British’s campaign in Afghanistan as evidence that Afghanistan is some sort of unconquerable territory, populated by uber-warriors (as these threads so often go). The fact of the matter is the British crushed the Afghans (the casualty ratio was something like 15:1, IIRC), installed a friendly leader, then left (probably because they realised the country was an uninhabitable shithole).

If the situation now is so hopelessly different to how it was as little as one hundred years ago, comparisons between the current war and Alexander the Great’s campaign, or the British campaign, are specious, and the only attempt at conquering Afghanistan that is of any relevance is the USSR’s invasion in the 1980s (and even then, that’s not a straight comparison!).

They were also not fighting Afghani tribesman, they were fighting a CIA proxy war with modern US weapons. A truck of Stinger missiles made it an symmetric war trading the cost of a truck load of missiles against a fleet of helicopters.

Why would they want it? Oil and natural gas. As these become more expensive - assuming they do- that could be a driver.