That's Thomas Barnett's hope about the mineral discoveries in Afghanistan. Money quote:
Before anybody gets the idea that somehow the West is the winner here, understand that we're not the big draw on most of these minerals--that would be Asia and China in particular. What no one should expect is that the discovery suddenly makes it imperative that NATO do whatever it takes to stay and win and somehow control the mineral outcomes, because--again--that's now how it works in most Gap situations like Africa. We can talk all we want about China not "dominating" the situation, but their demand will drive the process either directly or indirectly. There is no one in the world of mining that's looking to make an enemy out of China over this, and one way or another, most of this stuff ends up going East--not West.
If anything, this news should be used to leverage more of a security contribution out of regional great powers--to include China.
So less of a game changer than perhaps a very welcome game accelerator--as in, China is a lot better positioned to reap the mineral rewards that is Afghanistan, with the question being, "How long does it take for China to step up security-wise and stop low-balling its effort there?" Certainly, the notion that we turn Afghanistan and all its minerals over to Karzai's cronies, Pakistan's ISI and the Taliban strikes me as truly cracked, but the truth remains: we and our Western allies aren't enough to make the security situation happen on our own--not for the long timelines required. If it were that easy, these discoveries would have been made decades ago.