My reading suggests Afghanistan supplies about 84 percent of the world’s opium and heroin supply with now an excursion into amphetamine by way of Ephedra sinica, another native plant; and about 50 percent of America’s supply comes from Mexico. In either source state, the industry appears founded in the kind of economy that finds ready labor for rote work while attracting the bosses and crews that produce and sustain illegal enterprise and all that follows from it. Portmanteau may suffice for what comes of the underworld’s efforts near the source: “narconomy”; “narco-state”; “narcotecture”. Somewhere between the source and the supply chain’s end, the last seller, ne “dealer” (as with any other commodity) has perhaps literally a corner on the market and good living all the way to glamorous.
However, there’s the other ending that one may view here as tragedy attracts its modern video-equipped witnesses who have made the final degradation, desperation, enslavement, humiliation, and isolation unbearably and undeniably apparent.
The “medicine” ain’t about health.
From mountain farm to urban sidewalk, The Money sings all of the parts of the industry — growing, processing, packaging, shipping — to her and well sustained by the necessity of income and the want of personal aggrandizement, better living, defense, and security. It’s only business, of course, but listen to its testimonials, have a good look (above) at Philadelphia’s portion of America’s hooked-and-lost whose relationships have come down to habitual forms of theft or trade with, perhaps, small talk between.
Of course, The Money talks.
The Pharmacy, no less than every one of its customers, ain’t free.
Today’s killing of Ahmed Wali Karzai, reportedly by a close business associate, is a reminder of the complicated web of loyalties, interests, and contradictions that the U.S. has attempted to navigate for nearly a decade. Ahmed Wali Karzai was a politician working within the system and a criminal working against it; he ran militias on behalf of the CIA and funded drug networks that were the stated enemy of the U.S. military; he worked with trucking contractors that sold services to NATO and that funded anti-NATO warlords; he was a close ally of the U.S. and a tremendous drag on its mission to win over the Afghan people.
Afghanistan is the world’s top source of opium, accounting for 83% of global production from 2015 to 2020, according to the United Nations. In 2018, opium poppy occupied three times more land than it did in 2000. Afghanistan also produces cannabis and increasing quantities of methamphetamine, which can be made cheaply from the local ephedra plant and may eventually rival the production of opiates.
Narcotics is Afghanistan’s largest economic sector, with over 500,000 employed in opium in 2018. Banning drugs would therefore be unpopular and might provoke resistance against the fledgling regime.
Wikipedia. “Ahmed Wali Karzai”: — A June 2009 U.S. embassy cable alleged that much of the actual business of running the Afghan city of Kandahar “takes place out of public sight, where Ahmed Wali Karzai operates, parallel to formal government structures, through a network of political clans that use state institutions to protect and enable licit and illicit enterprises.” —
In the American failure lies a paradox: Washington’s massive military juggernaut has been stopped in its steel tracks by a small pink flower – the opium poppy. Throughout its three decades in Afghanistan, Washington’s military operations have succeeded only when they fit reasonably comfortably into central Asia’s illicit traffic in opium – and suffered when they failed to complement it.
The world’s mafia — call them “Transnational Crime Organizations (TCOs)” for this world made smaller by the Internet and jets — sustain themselves through corrupt or intimidated officials who keep the traffic illegal, the profits high, and the goods coursing through the financial bloodstreams of the world as well as, of course, the bodies and minds of the world’s addicts. At the far end of the poppy field and well beyond its horizons, a human refuse washes up on the world’s streets, leaving governments in which the corrupt grow rich while the good drown before a dangerous and endless;u horrifying surge of affliction, crime, bodily damage, and emotional need that repeatedly defies bureaucratic processes and solutions.
Here for about 10 minutes is what the end of the poppy field looks like.
A Brief Comment on Narcotics, Realpolitik, and East-West Rivalry
I don’t want to go too far into Darkness and Light on this post, but it may no longer prove sufficient to “Act Locally, Think Globally” in light of an apparent willingness in states as well as persons to serve not only both sides of a conflict (with visible sales of common enough deliverables) but as well demonstrated in Afghanistan both the Devil and God or the Evil and the Good. Toward the end of America’s long tour in Afghanistan, generals made note of the use of Russian arms and materiel by Taliban forces, a black market trade if ever was — but who has picked up the chips, so to speak, in Asia but Russia, which is now doing a brisk business in defense sales to the neighbors of a soon to be Talibanized Afghanistan.
Whatever the motives of each of its drifted “residents”, McPherson Square’s “Needle Park” and Kensington Avenue’s Junktopia host a portion of the nation’s most damaged and most lost children, “dipping” and homeless as well as short on options into recoveries more reliable than stopovers for intramural billing between service-providing bureaucracies and their subcontractors. Few, if any, have a clue as regards the nefarious “international relations” and “supply chains” that put the poppy seed in the ground and nursed it all the way to a spoon and needle and arm on the streets of Philadelphia (“City of Brotherly Love“) for some in Beijing and Moscow to smile and between them say, “How well America takes care of her people!”
Everything we say and do determines what’s going to happen to us in the future. Whether we act honestly, dishonestly, help or hurt others, it all gets recorded and manifests as a karmic reaction either in this life or a future life. All karmic records are carried with the soul into the next life and body.
Moscow has positioned the Taliban of Afghanistan right where it wants them, i.e., as a block and goad to the west, as a proxy for war by needle, and as another of the most honorable, most pious, and most hypocritical entities of the world, preaching sobriety by the book while taking up its role as the world’s foremost exporter of intoxication and death.