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Opium, politics, and war - do they overlap? Read and decide

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Message Lew Weingarth

Second Opium War British Beijing 1860.
Second Opium War British Beijing 1860.
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Richard Simkin, Author: Richard Simkin)
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When we invaded Afghanistan for no apparent reason, since the Taliban had agreed to hand over bin Laden, I wondered to myself "Why are we invading instead of bribing the Taliban?"

I assumed that since Junior went from hosting the Taliban with pomp and ceremony all over Texas to ignoring their offers to hand over bin Laden, there must be some other reason. I decided the easiest thing was to check Wikipedia. After all, Wikipedia knows all. So, what did the Taliban do that pissed off the USA? Better yet, what did the Taliban do, period. I saw they had imposed right wing religious laws on the population, kicking women back down to chattel, destroying education, attacking individual freedom, all the normal right wing stuff, no way Junior would oppose any of THAT, so what else. Well, I noticed that the Taliban had ended opium growing in Afghanistan. Opium? Is that still around? Back to Wikipedia.

Here are some facts from Wikipedia, and please, check them yourself, and then decide.

Until Mao Tse Tung, most opium came from China. The French had created some production in French IndoChina and the Brits had created some production in Afghanistan, but they were largely "gap fillers", selling cheap to win a tiny market share, no doubt with sales limited to members of the French and British governments.

After WWII, Mao shut down opium in China. Boom, 90% of world supply GONE, overnight.

The French ramped up opium in French Indochina, and by 1950, French Indochina dominated the market. No surprise, the locals didn't like it at all, and opposition to supplying opium became one of their reasons to fight for freedom. In 1950, the USA sent our first military advisors to French Indochina.

Things chuntered along nicely until 1960, when the locals REALLY began pushing for freedom. We all know about Vietnam, the US was there from 1950 to 1975, our longest war to that point. The US was kicked out in 1975 and former "French Indochina" began shutting down opium production.

By 1980, opium had largely moved to Afghanistan. The main growers were the various warlords known later as "The Northern Alliance". Estimates vary, but by 2000, Afghanistan was supplying about 90% of world demand.

The Taliban opposed drug use, and in 2001, shut down opium production entirely.

9 months later, the US invaded.

One of the first acts of the occupation forces was to resume opium growing, "to help the poor farmers".

Today, the Taliban once again controls much of Afghanistan, but this time isn't opposing opium, probably because they can't.

Being aware of the relationship, I noticed when Trump doubled the number of cargo flights leaving Afghanistan in the middle of the night, stopping in Europe, and arriving in the USA in the middle of the night.

You decide any connections, I'm just providing the correlations.

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Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering with MBA training in international business. 35 years working all over the world. Expert in power plants, energy, oil. I have been to about 150 countries total, spent at least a week in about 110, (more...)

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