NATO – Russia Council Fails to Make Decisions on Drug Eradication

On March 24 in Brussels the enlarged meeting of the Russia-NATO Council took place, which was dedicated to fighting Afghan drug threat. Viktor Ivanov, Head of Russia’s Federal Service for Drug Control (FSKN), voiced Russia’s proposals for the elimination of drug processing facilities, implementation of measures for the economic recovery of Afghanistan, its electrification and the creation of up to two million jobs to displace drugs from the Afghan economy. The Russian official presented a seven-point plan that foresees, among other things, an extension of the UN mandate for NATO troops in Afghanistan that would oblige them to eradicate poppy fields, as well as targeting the Taliban-led insurgency. Ivanov said at least 25 per cent of the opium crop should be destroyed as part of the proposed joint NATO-Russia plan. He added that Marjah, the former Taliban stronghold that NATO troops cleared in recent weeks, offered a “unique opportunity” to start the effort.

As was well expected, NATO made it clear through its representative, James Appathurai, that the alliance, i.e. the forces behind it, is not interested: “We cannot be in a situation where we remove the only source of income for people who live in the second poorest country in the world without being able to provide them an alternative. That is simply not possible”. NATO itself has come up with a better scheme – to pay drug producers so that they may refuse the opium poppy cultivation and heroin production.

It is obvious, that this is only a make-believe of struggle, and perhaps a convenient mechanism to appropriate the budget allocated for the purpose. After all, everybody understands that even if some of the poppy is destroyed by drug producers, as much and even more will appear a few miles away. And the show will continue, because the “show must go on”.

Most Russians think the real goals of the United States and its NATO partners in Afghanistan are a far cry from their declarations, especially as regards the functioning of the world’s main narco-state, the world factory of heroin. It is not accidental that heroin production there has increased more than 40 times since the arrival of NATO. And it is also not a secret that the “peacekeeping” mission of international forces in Afghanistan as yet has not obtained the mandate of the UN Security Council to destroy the poppy crops, which may well be regarded as an informal UN authorization of the North Atlantic Alliance contingent’s connivance in Afghan mujahideens’ heroin production. And Appathurai’s unequivocal statement on March 24 only confirms these conclusions. They seem doubtful only to those who deliberately shun the truth.

NATO’s goals concerning Afghan drugs, along with other equally important goals, may belong to the same long-term geopolitical strategy developed by the lords of the Euro-Atlantic civilization in the framework of their control over the key regions of the planet (‘key’ in terms of different cultural, resource, economic and political aspects). If you look at the political map of Eurasia and place the symbol of NATO – a four-pointed star – in the center of Afghanistan, you will find that each of the tips points to a strategically important area, controlling which the West can successfully meet the challenges posed by the recurrent crises of capitalism.

The Afghan territory is not only a very convenient lodgment for attacks on Iran or China, but a no less important location from where one may pit India against Pakistan, leak nuclear technology from Pakistan to Iran, and create such a degree of chaos, that will curb the economic development of the whole region. The latter is important also because the region has a potential to become a large market for China, India and Russia. If it happens, it will call into question the global U.S. hegemony (economic, political, military) and threaten the hegemony of the Western civilization at large.

It has to be admitted that, despite the veneer of the West, we are now witnessing the final stage of its existence in the form, in which it has existed for the past three centuries, and along with it, the logical conclusion of the capitalist project as a whole. The continued pegging of the West is possible, but the prolongation of its life will be short, unless the vector of its ideological and practical orientation changes. This change is hardly feasible, until the deep contradictions at the foundation of the Western world are revealed and acknowledged and the very Western outlook changes to humane. The West should acquire certain qualities allowing the world to live in harmony with nature and the Providence.

Previously the artificial constructs, which saved the West, were the two world wars of the twentieth century and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Another “saving hand” may come in the form of staging a regional conflict, which will grow into a third world war involving nuclear weapons, the collapse of Russia and the clash of civilizations. Ultimately, the West will try to maintain its dominant position by imposing a general regression on the world through control of technology, seeking thereby to direct the globalization process ‘in the right direction’.

This means that further fighting will be very fierce. It cannot be different when it comes to life and death. It is for this reason that all the initiatives on Afghanistan coming from Russia and its allies will be rejected. Even if they receive a formal “approval” from the North Atlantic Alliance, it will still amount to a denial, because the establishment of normal life and culture of Afghans, electrification and revival of industry in the republic would be against the goals of the Euro-Atlantic Bloc. And revitalizing Afghan economy will never be achieved without a coup de grace – eradicating opium crops. NATO’s refusal to do so on the grounds of “depriving poor Afghan farmers from their only livelihood” and “setting them up against the Allied Forces” is clearly a sign that it wishes to preserve the status quo.

The feigned lamentations over the failure to establish a reliable police force in Afghanistan are illustrative for that matter ( The truth of the matter is the longer NATO stays in Helmand, the graver the problem becomes. Because while NATO arduously guards the poppy fields, refusing to destroy them, the ones who suffer most are the natives and the people in the neighboring countries.

For half the police recruits to be addicted is only natural in Afghanistan, which has been designated as the chief world producer of opium. It is only natural because Afghans start taking their first drugs as children and whole villages die out from opium addiction. It is only natural because the addiction in Afghanistan is really mass, and Afghans have the shortest life expectancy in the region, even lower than in AIDS-stricken Africa – around 43.8 years. It is only natural because the law of supply and demand works in a reverse way with drugs: the supply generates and multiplies the demand. Thus in this opium war the people of Afghanistan are quite naturally chief victims.

So why simulate despaired noises in mass media, if you choose not to do the main thing – eradicate the opium crops? Obviously, to distract attention from the truth: the Alliance is not going to do it. Nor is it going to leave Afghanistan. The Alliance is loath to do these things, because the benefits here exceed the losses. First of all, it permits NATO to gain control over the entire region. Afghan drugs weaken its rival powers – China, India, and Russia – decimating their youth, control Pakistan and Central Asia, penetrate Iran with its huge border fortifications and even pester Israel. What a tremendously advantageous geopolitical position for this giant opium-heroin factory!

Then, there are financial benefits. According to the IMF, the turnover of the drug trade reaches approximately 4.5% of the entire world economy and is estimated at 500 billion U.S. dollars. It is well known, that the bulk of the revenues associated with the global trade in narcotics is not appropriated by terrorist groups and warlords. In the case of Afghanistan, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that a mere 2.7 billion accrues as revenue within Afghanistan. Over 50% of this multi-billion dollar revenues of narcotics are deposited in the Western banking system and legalized in the world markets through various international and offshore financial schemes. Most of the large international banks together with their affiliates in the offshore banking havens launder large amounts of narco-dollars. Intelligence agencies, powerful business, drug traders and organized crime are competing for the strategic control over the heroin routes.

This trade can only prosper if the main actors involved in narcotics have “political friends in high places.” Legal and illegal undertakings are increasingly intertwined, the dividing line between “businesspeople” and criminals is blurred. In turn, the relationship among criminals, politicians and members of the intelligence establishment has tainted the structures of the state and the role of its institutions including the Military.

Thus it is understandable why the Alliance will not accept the proposals for the reconstruction of Afghan economy: this is not what NATO is there for. Even if Russia vouches the financial side of the deal, it will delay the implementation of joint projects (if any) to reconstruct the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as long as it finds expedient. On the other hand, it is capable of drawing Russia into a confrontation with the Islamic civilization. There are predictions that if Russia begins to destroy opium poppy fields on her own, NATO may create through controlled world media an image of bloodthirsty Russians, depriving Afghan civilians of their livelihood and destroying plantations together with local people (corpses duly produced). After that Bin Ladens, fostered by the CIA, will have Islamic fundamentalists start jihad against Russians. Some believe the West now has capacities to throw Russia in the furnace of war with the Islamic Caliphate, or use her as a sword against China. Anyway, we should get away from the formula, by which we sell our conscience for a mess of pottage. We are obliged to respond to the challenge of the Third Opium War. Otherwise we have no future.


NATO rejects Russia’s demand to destroy Afghan poppy fields