While I’m (sort of) on this topic, why doesn’t the United States address the Afghan opium trade by just buying the stuff up? Presumably, farmers would be just as happy to sell their poppies to us, and that would keep them off the market, as well as depriving bad guys of a revenue source.
Moral hazard, basically. This would work for a while but would fail long term.
If the price paid by the USA is high enough to be effective the end result would be a country that grew almost nothing but opium. This doesn’t happen now because there are risks to growing opium which tends to discourage it. If, however, the buyer is the USA then the USA is effect subsidizing the production in reducing the risk premium. Eventually we get either
Neither seems like a very desirable outcome. There’s also the minor problems of secondary sources springing up, or suborndination of the program staff (that’d be good - the USA buying the opium on behalf of the drug lords). It’s not like Afghanistan is the only place one can grow poppies, it’s just the handiest at this point in time.
On the other hand, it would be a perfect “pass the problem (with interest) to the next Administration” solution so it’s not outside the realm of possibility.