The geo-politics of illicit drug production and distribution
In many respects this chapter is a continuation of the previous chapter, not least because the developments that have occurred in Afghanistan since 2001 can be seen to reﬂect much wider global problems than the war on terror. Globalisation has become a double-edged sword for the international community: on the one hand it has allowed an opening up of the world and created a number of opportunities in terms of trade, travel and cross-cultural exchanges. On the other hand it has also aided the creation of global problems in the shape of an increase in transnational organised crime, international terrorism and a global market in all forms of smuggled goods. In order to address these problems, the international community needs to work together, but much of the work is led and conducted by Western nations. This often leads to the presence of Western troops in sovereign territories and can lead to destabilisation of governments. Thus, ‘dealing with’ transnational criminal activity is fraught with problems. This chapter seeks to provide a basic introduction to geo-politics. This is
important because, as Chapter 5 demonstrated, many of the drugs that cause the West problems originate in countries that are distant both geographically and in terms of their socio-political and economic make up. This chapter begins by an examination of the basic concepts of geo-politics with a view to locating the global illicit drug trade as a geo-political force that exercises the minds and policies of Western governments. This is then demonstrated by looking at the role of politics and ‘narco-terrorism’ with particular reference to America’s ‘war on drugs’.