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.McCoy, Alfred. “How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan: Western intervention has resulted in Afghanistan becoming the world’s first true narco-state.” The Guardian, January 9, 2018.
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.
For heroin laced with fentanyl, credit China’s mafia interests that appear to have had until relatively recently fair latitude for keeping the west’s glamorous or vulnerable or both high and high on their way out of this world. For lack of directed Chinese resources, they may still have it.
Around the world, “Kash”, so it may be called, is King, and ain’t manipulation o’ the King — and on the King’s behalf and one’s own — part and parcel of all politics?
Obama may not have flinched when he authorized a billion dollars worth of cocaine sales for Hezbollah in the JCPOA deal, but from a strategic if not moral perspective, one wonders whether he should have stood at that juncture and said “No!” for the greater effects such a decision might have on long-term American political cohesion and coherence.
An America Broken, Compromised, Lost
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!”
AFP News Agency. “Poppies bloom across Afghanistan as drought eases.” YouTube Video (1:30), April 18, 2019: “Though we are cultivating the poppies, smugglers are the ones who pocket all the money by converting it into heroin” (1:07).
AML Films. Assorted YouTube video testimonials on heroin addiction between 6 and 35 minutes each.
Brown, Erik. “I Work Near the Largest Open-Air Heroin Market On The East Coast: Philadelphia shows us what it looks like when a city commits suicide.” Dialogue & Discourse, Medium, May 25, 2021.
Byman, Daniel. “Hezbollah, Drugs, and the Obama Administration: A Closer Look at a Damning Politico Piece.” Lawfare, January 30, 2018.
Congressional Research Service. “Illicit Fentanyl and China’s Role.” PDF. Federation of American Scientists (FAS), January 29, 2021.
Dasa, Pandit. “Karma: What Goes Around Comes Around.” HuffPost, Januarary 11, 2012.
Felbab-Brown, Vanda. “Fentanyl and geopolitics: Controlling opioid supply from China.” Brookings, July 22, 2020.
Feng, Emily. “‘We Are Shipping to the U.S.’: Inside China’s Online Synthetic Drug Networks.” NPR, November 17, 2020.
Gibbons-Neff, Thomas. “Russia is sending weapons to Taliban, top U.S. general confirms.” The Washington Post, April 24, 2017.
kimgary. “Streets of Philadelphia, Kensington Ave Story” – Assorted videos, 16-to-25-minutes.
Marin, Max. “‘There still is no answer’: Philly cracks down on Kensington encampments again as homelessness crisis intensifies.” BILLYPENN, August 18, 2021.
Meyer, Josh. “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook.” Politico, December 2017.
McCoy, Alfred. “How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan: Western intervention has resulted in Afghanistan becoming the world’s first true narco-state.” The Guardian, January 9, 2018.
Newall, Mike. “Business and bloodshed.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 2021.
Newall, Mike. “What it’s like to live at the edge of Needle Park.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 9, 2017.
Percy, Jennifer. “Trapped by the ‘Walmart of Heroin'”. The New York Times, October 10, 2018.
Reuters. “Russia says boosts arms supplies to Central Asia amid Afghan conflict.” August 5, 2021.
Rowlatt, Justin. “Russia ‘arming the Afghan Taliban’, says US.” BBC News, March 23, 2018.
U.S. Department of the Treasury. “Treasury Targets Chinese Persons Involved with Drug Trafficking Organization Moving Fentanyl.” August 27, 2021.
Williams, Nick. “The history of heroin as a lyrical muse.” Dazed, August 22, 2017.
Whitlock, Craig. “Overwhelmed by Opium: The U.S. war on drugs in Afghanistan has imploded at nearly every turn.” The Washington Post, December 9, 2019.
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.Dasa, Pandit. “Karma: What Goes Around Comes Around.” HuffPost, Januarary 11, 2012.
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.