AuthorDuffy, Sean Edward
AdvisorGibbs, David N.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe United States has shaped the global response to drugs over the last century. Afghanistan, and its resultant massive opium production, is the greatest failure of the internationalization of the American-led war on drugs. Starting during the Progressive-era, the United States backed a prohibitionist stance toward certain drugs, including opium and its derivatives. While Afghanistan was creating its own opium policies after complete independence from Great Britain, the United States pushed a global anti-drug approach. Despite having minimal contact previously, the Americans and Afghans joined in a brief, but significant, opium alliance during the Second World War, with the United States secretly purchasing the bulk of Afghan opium. After the war, the United States publicly asked Afghanistan to end opium cultivation while suggesting in private that the Afghans should continue production. At the United Nations, the Americans sabotaged the Afghans' attempt to get legal international recognition as an opium exporter. The United States did respond to Afghanistan's destitute condition by supplying developmental aid that would have the unforeseen consequence of increasing poppy cultivation. Improved transportation networks also provided opportunities for Western youth to visit Afghanistan as drug tourists and couriers. During the 1970s, the decade before the Soviet invasion, Washington's concern over Afghan opium reached the highest level of government. Despite new efforts to replace opium as a cash-producing plant, Afghan drug production steadily increased. With Afghanistan on the verge of transforming into a global producer of heroin, the United States fomented unrest in the nation by first funding and then backing known drug traffickers. Along with Soviet aggression, the American intelligence program led to chaotic conditions that were capitalized on by drug traffickers. After years of war in the 1980s and 1990s, Afghanistan gained the dubious title of the world's most prolific narco-state. After the post-9/11 invasion, with American boots on the ground for over a decade, Afghanistan remained a major source for opium. As a result, Afghanistan was the most visible breakdown of the American global war against drugs.
Degree ProgramGraduate College