America sustains illicit drugs trade

By Ezekiel Mutua

As I argued here last week, the drug trafficking menace is so entrenched in America that it is a travesty of justice for the US government to raise a finger against other members of the world community on this issue.

I alluded to the John Kerry Report for the 100th Congress, which makes mind-boggling revelations on the drugs situation in the world’s only superpower.

The report is of such great significance because it is the first US legislative document to acknowledge the fact that the War on Drugs, launched in 1983 at the height of the Ronald Reagan presidency, was being lost or, at the very least, frustrated as a result of certain foreign policy strategies receiving a higher, disproportionate priority. The Kerry Committee noted: “The saga of Panama’s General Manuel Antonio Noriega represents one of the most serious foreign policy failures for the United States.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Noriega was able to manipulate US policy towards his country, while skilfully accumulating near-absolute power in Panama. It is clear that each US government agency which had a relationship with Noriega turned a blind eye to his corruption and drug dealing, even as he was emerging as a key player on behalf of the Medellin cartel”.

Mr Kerry and his co-legislators further aver:

“Polls show that about 50 percent of all Americans say they have had a relative or close friend who has had a problem with illegal drugs and one out of three says that illicit drugs can be purchased within a mile of their home.

In addition:
• It is estimated that 70 per cent of all violent crimes in the United States are drug related;
• The American market for drugs produces annual revenues of well over $100 billion at retail prices. This is twice what US consumers spend for oil each year.”

These staggering figures were announced by Congress almost a generation ago, the year before the Berlin Wall came down in Germany and Beijing’s Tiananmen Square protests took place.

Critics maintain that US officials have over the years refused to release data contained in the John Kerry report, that cocaine prices are falling, suggesting that the drug supply in the country is growing, not shrinking.

Genuine crusaders against drug abuse suggest that more emphasis should be placed on demand reduction in the United States, including drug prevention education and treatment.

The report puts the matter in context, and urges the United States to increase its efforts to reduce demand, stating that the country cannot succeed in its efforts against the cartels so long as they stand to earn billions of dollars annually from the illicit drug’s American market.

Critics of current policy, including the Mexican government, are also calling for increased efforts to combat arms trafficking from the United States to Mexico.

Who will plug Americans’ vacuum-cleaner nostrils when it comes to drug trafficking? The problem’s dimensions are staggering indeed worldwide and the sheer hypocrisy that underpins it is mind boggling. It is an open secret that every smart-set VIP party in Washington and throughout the USA, including every US embassy party around the world, almost certainly has in its attendant drug dealer(s) and pusher(s), feeding a ravenous habit among the American power elite and its extensions and counterparts in all countries.

The nostrils that vacuum clean the greatest amounts of “angel dust”, or cocaine, in the world and in history are American. No other world power since civilisation began has consumed illicit drugs in such copious amounts. And the addiction is to be found throughout the US social fabric and in the body politic, including in the military, the CIA, the FBI, name it.

Yet official America stoutly denies its role in the illicit drug trafficking. It is instructive that, 22 years ago, Mr Kerry and his distinguished fellow legislators characterised dictator Noriega as manipulating the entire US governing and policing edifice.

In the matter of drugs, the mighty US, the world’s lone superpower, invariably portrays itself as more sinned against than sinning. We know better.

This habit of denial is wrong, beam headed and even plainly silly. Americans must begin doing their part in the War on Drugs, and that does NOT include continuing to do drugs or telling other states to remove the speck in their eyes, while a big log blurs its vision of reality!

I believe that Uncle Sam must now drop the Lone Ranger act and face the drugs vice squarely and honestly. The war on drugs as conducted by America in a bossy, one-way street manner that almost never addresses the question of the US as the wealthiest and most ravenously insatiable consumer of hard drugs in history, is headed nowhere. Casting aspersion on our leaders without tangible proof of wrongdoing is simply a crime against humanity!

The reasons the rest of the world has for so long indulged America in this grotesque self righteous but self defeating fantasy, including the pre-eminence of the Yankee Dollar, are fast giving way to other dynamics.

Americans number only 300 million against 1.4 billion Chinese, slightly over a billion Indians and a billion Africans. But because of decades as the world’s leading economy and its elite, professional and middle class disposable cash and the advanced, even decadent stage of its liberalist civilisation, it has become prey to the big¬gest drug addiction in history.

America needs every help it can get in the War on Drugs, and it must seek it humbly, co-operatively and sincerely. That is why it must drop its Globo Cop and Lone Ranger stance.

The writer is the Director of Information and Public Communications of the Republic of Kenya email:

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