If you’ve bought any illegal drugs in the past 20 years, you’ve probably helped terrorists.
It sounds like a hyperbolic statement, but as the facts conclude, it’s more likely that illegal drug sales have put more weapons into the arms of terrorists than anything else.
The link may vary in severity depending on what kind of drug or the location and consumer. But typically, the more abstract a drug is, the more likely it’s to remain local.
That’s why the most popular forms of drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, barbiturates, and methamphetamines are on the global market. And nobody panders to these markets more than modern day terrorists. Groups like Al-Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS have known since their creation about the money to be made in drug sales.
These groups main goal is to conduct global holy war and they know that as Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “The sinews of war are infinite money.”
Funding a war requires vast amounts of money, and that money is all the more difficult to come across when the largest and most powerful nation in the world is trying to prevent just that. So they had to adapt and change.
In a country where the average cost of dealing with drugs are around $193 billion yearly, they knew exactly which market to tap into.
Some might argue about the clarity in connection to the strange rising acceptance rate for opium addicts in treatment centers, but the details are there for all to see.
But to further understand the connection behind terrorism and drugs, the underpinnings of what caused all this must also be understood.
Why Terrorists Sell Illegal Drugs
Before the current US involvement in the Middle East, places such as Afghanistan have already shared a strange past with the United States.
During the cold war, with the fear of communism taking over much of the American political landscape, there was a focused effort to keep the Soviet Union from spreading its ideology around the world.
At the time, many Americans felt that if communism were to be given a pass as it took over smaller countries, that it would eventually consume the bigger nations around it. One by one nations would begin to fall like dominos.
In reaction, the United States hardly wanted to be seen as the aggressor in a time where both sides have discovered the destructive nature of nuclear weapons. So they entered in what is later known as a war by proxy. A war by proxy simply means that a war was being conducted in a sense “passive aggressively,” which is to say one country supported another to fight a common enemy, without involving itself.
A brief example would be if you donated to cancer research. If cancer is eliminated because of the research, you didn’t actually cure cancer but you did help.
And so, the Soviet Union laid its eyes on the smaller nation of Afghanistan for a takeover.
While the Soviet Union was trying to take over the country of Afghanistan, a rural and fairly underdeveloped country, the United States then sent the newly created Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to assist the locals.
The purpose of the agency’s involvement was simply to help the Afghans repel the Soviet forces.
Compensating for the Soviet threat, the United States began supplying massive amounts of weapons and training to the country’s elite forces, the Mujahideen (later known as the Taliban).
However, due to the nature of a proxy war, American involvement was unsustainable and had to come to an end soon. The CIA devised a plan to help the Mujahideen find a way to keep paying for weapons long after the Americans were gone and unable to support them in their fight.
Selling drugs for weapons at this time was really nothing new.
In fact, one needs only to look at the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, before it becomes abundantly clear that there are actually unwritten procedures for activities such as these.
Whatever one’s personal political and ethical barometer is about the situation is mute on the facts.
From what we now know, the drug angle at the time was the most effective means by not using American taxpayer dollars to conduct questionable, and even unconstitutional actions.
Already at the time, Afghanistan was a prominent exporter of opium and opium related products worldwide. Many farmers in the country relied on those illegal drug sales for the majority of their yearly profits. However, while it has been rumored whether the CIA assisted in these opium sales, the end result remains the same: the Mujahideen used most of that money made, to further arm themselves.
By the time the Berlin wall fell in 1989, Afghanistan had become the world’s No. 1+ opium producer, running second in the market of marijuana.
It’s uncontroversial to say that without the money made in those drug sales, the Mujahideen almost certainly wouldn’t have been able to arm themselves against the Soviet regime. Repelling those Soviet attacks on through the fall of the Berlin wall.
To get an understanding about how one small event around the world, can impact us in drastic ways I will need to explain the concept of how one action, can bring the world economy to its knees. An easy way to understand the concept is to mention oil and drugs.
How the Drug Market Connects Us All
If the price of oil per barrel rises, the side effects will be felt worldwide in a matter of days, if not hours.
First, the people directly buying oil to ship across the oceans to resell to producers will have to pay more and charge more. This is simply to offset the new higher price of oil. In other words, the people shipping the oil to different countries will sell that oil for more since they paid more for it.
The people who typically buy oil from these shippers are now paying more, which they will offset into their products to make up the difference. Products such as ink, plastic, solvents, rubber, etc, meaning the price of everything oil related goes up.
Keep in mind, that if one breaks this into its logical conclusion, nearly everything made will be affected.
From the Walmart to the local shops, prices for everything will rise.
Another effect of these rising oil prices will be the immediate rise in fuel costs. These prices will affect any businesses transportation related, such as airlines, car manufacturers, public transpiration, truckers, power plants, etc.
Something as simple as a cheeseburger at McDonald’s will now cost more.
The cheeseburger cost rose because it cost McDonald’s more money to ship the components of the burger. Even the price of pens and pencils go up due to the oil used in making and transporting those goods.
On and on this will go, affecting everything from food prices (cost to ship food has gone up, which means it’s sold for more), to rising costs of concert tickets.
This happens not because our personal cities or countries are run on petroleum chemicals, but because the world is sharing the same vein to consume these chemicals. Now any difference in its production or sale disrupts the system as a whole unlike any other time in history.
But oil is not the only contender on the world stage, drugs and most illegal substances and activities creates its own global economy. A worldwide economy where every disturbance creates a ripple effect.
If a large cocaine cartel is dismantled in Colombia, the price of cocaine will double wherever it is demanded. The price will go up from America to the Congo’s in Africa. Not to mention the side related activities that would also be affected. Such as the people who transport drugs, others who maintain connections with authorities to keep channels open, to even the people prosecuting these criminals. Most notably will be the influx of more crime on our streets as a power vacuum tries to be filled.
We know these things happen, which is one of the reasons there are many who oppose the “War on Drugs”. A large portion of Americans believe it’s a cycle that cannot be broken.
There are other factors to also take into consideration. Factors such as the elements that go into the drugs being made, or from where the product is coming from. These all must be factored in when trying to find out how the market is even generated in the first place.
In all these situations, there are still many elements unknown to us now that contribute to the worldwide illicit drug economy and its other illegal activities. It is not to say many even know they are contributing to it.
How Your Neighbor Might Be Fueling Terrorism
From the fall of the Berlin wall to today, drug sales in Afghanistan have only tripled.
As it happens, drug sales have actually gone up higher than at any previous time. Today, Afghanistan reversed its role from being the world’s largest opium producer, to now being the world’s largest marijuana producer. But still leaving the opium market at a close second.
Due to the status marijuana has on the current political climate, and mostly worldwide, it is an illicit substance. It remains illegal in many, if not most, areas of the world.
Currently, more than 70 percent of the marijuana bought in the United States can be traced back to somewhere below the border. Most of that marijuana which ends up on American streets were not produced below the border, but rather simply bought and sold from there.
This means that most drugs on American streets today while sold through the border, are mostly produced elsewhere.
In a world drug report for 2011 conducted by the United Nations, it found that many of the drugs sold out of Afghanistan, end up in the hands of many different Mexican drug cartels.
While many might not be surprised by this outcome, it unfortunately, lays out one clear and concise problem: one war at home, fuels another overseas.
For over 20 years, it has been known that these drug sales have added to the influx of weapons the Taliban has had. But as of recently, the ties to the average American drug consumer may be a stronger link than ever before.
Both opium and (illegal) marijuana sales have been at the highest in record numbers, coincidentally while the strongest terrorist action the world has ever seen came to power.
Some argue that this problem was an inevitability. Whether we were in the middle east or not, the world is so comprehensive that this problem was bound to happen. So much so that regardless of where one looks, if there is an illegal market there, then one doesn’t really have to do much work to tie it to anywhere around the globe.
The degrees of separation today have shrunk as everything and everyone becomes more globalized, and it’s an issue that will only get worse (or better depending on the person looking at it).
Either way, one looks at the issue, the link between the drugs on the street and its impact across the globe, from putting allied forces in danger to the growing number of opium and marijuana addicts, it is an epidemic assuredly interlaced. We must become more aware of the nature of the environment we have been thrust into and adapt accordingly.
Drug usage is most certainly never going to stop neither here nor elsewhere, but in lieu of the facts, we must all confront the narrative we are creating for ourselves. Drug usage isn’t harming only those who consume it, but society as a whole.