Friday, May 8, 2009

Let A Million Poppies Wither

In Afghanistan, the G-8 nations have committed $4 billion to bolstering anti-Taliban military and police forces as well as to business development and anti-drug efforts. Arthur I. Cyr thinks there's a useful Nixonian precedent:
Three years ago, well before the recent acknowledgement of growing guerrilla strength, journalist Sarah Chase provided a bleak evaluation of developments. A daring adventurer, she runs an agricultural cooperative in southern Afghanistan and has written a book about the country.

In seeking effective policies, useful lessons are provided by that durable duo of international relations, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. During the Nixon administration, Turkey was a principal source of world heroin production. Nixon and Kissinger creatively used product licensing to encourage Turkish farmers to sell crops to pharmaceutical companies for legal medicinal purposes.

Drug lords moved some production to Afghanistan, but the trade route from Turkey to Marseilles, France, and then the U.S. - dramatized in the film "The French Connection" - was disrupted, and our important ally Turkey was strengthened. We should apply this practical approach to Afghanistan.

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