Friday, August 31, 2007
Nadelmann on Afghan Opium
I finally managed to read the cover story (subscribers only) in the September/October edition of Foreign Policy, in which Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance makes the case for abandoning the war on drugs. Most of the arguments will be familiar and persuasive to the Vice Squad reader, whoever you are. But Dr. Nadelmann offered some insights on the situation in Afghanistan that were new to me. Who would benefit, Nadelmann asks, if opium production in Afghanistan really were to fall?:
Only the Taliban, warlords, and other black-market entrepreneurs whose stockpiles of opium would skyrocket in value. Hundreds of thousands of Afghan peasants would flock to cities, ill-prepared to find work. And many Afghans would return to their farms the following year to plant another illegal harvest, utilizing guerrilla farming methods to escape intensified eradication efforts.The bottom line? "[M]aybe the world is better off, all things considered, with 90 percent of [heroin] coming from just one country."
Vice Squad has long been tracking the Afghan opium situation, with the most recent "contributions" occurring on July 26 and August 27. And Vice Squad once met Dr. Nadelmann.