19 November 2010

Reaping Sown Seeds

Many Russian friends were surprised that the rate of heroin usage was so high in Russia. As a matter of fact, it should be expected.

When large powers invade other nations, they often do so with a specific set of goals. However, those goals often do not include "anticipate the unintended consequences a long time from now."

During the Vietnam War, the US military became unwitting couriers of narcotics manufactured in Southeast Asia and sold in the US. Enterprising American soliders used military craft to smuggle the goods into the US, sometimes in the cadavers of their dead brethren. Once the drugs were recovered in the US, they went through underground distribution channels and were sold widely around the country.

Later, when the US funded and supported the Islamic Afghani insurgency against the Soviet Union, it unwittingly sowed the seeds of the absolutist Taliban.  In turn, the Taliban harbored Al Qaida.  And Al Qaida committed the single largest act of terrorism ever on US soil.

Oops!  That Was NOT The Plan.

I can assure you that it never occurred to policy makers and military planners that, through military action in Vietnam, they were setting up the US military as drug couriers.  Likewise, in the 1980s, no American official ever thought that there would be an 11 September 2001.  But - very sadly - both are now history.

Prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, heroin usage was muted in USSR.  Most customers of this trash were in Afghanistan's neighboring countries:  China (the problem was opium, a cousin of heroin, and the problem was ruthlessly eradicated), Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and all the way through the Western edges of Europe.  After the Soviet invasion and the subsequent Soviet collapse, free-market-minded soldiers and ex-soldiers sensed a fresh new market in Russia, had the connections and familiarity with the supplying country, and helped develop Russia as the world's largest heroin market.

And so, the seeds were sown.  In this case, they were poppy seeds.

Coming to the US Sometimes Soon - Bulk

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