Is China doing to America with fentanil what the  British did to China with opium in the eighteenth century?

Is China doing to America with fentanil what the  British did to China with opium in the eighteenth century?
By Ezequiel Doiny
On May 23, 2023 Rep. Murphy wrote in the Washington Examiner “Every day, a family learns the devastating news that a loved one has fallen victim to America’s deadliest drug epidemic: fentanyl. Perhaps it’s a mother awoken in the middle of the night to a dreaded phone call, or a father who comes home and must administer Narcan.
”  As the only practicing surgeon in Congress, I know that the roots of this epidemic did not appear overnight. Over thirty years ago, the “War on Pain” commenced due to the overprescribing of opioids.
“Overprescribing reached a climax in 2012 whenhealth care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers, enough for every American adult to have a bottle in their pocket. By 2016, we witnessed in horror the most opioid overdose fatalities on record -with 42,000 Americans tragically taken by this crisis.
” The very next year the Trump Administration moved to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.While overprescribing opioids has drastically dropped since then, saving many lives, the Biden Administration opened the floodgates for an even deadlier drug – illicit fentanyl – to fill this void.
“According to CDC data,fentanyl-related overdoses is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-49. It’s taken more lives thanthe number of U.S. military personnel killed during the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined.
” Mexican cartels capitalized on the absence of prescribed narcotics and began filling the void with highly potent and cheap fentanyl. Chinese labs produce dangerous fentanyl precursors, sending them to Mexican drug cartels.  In Mexico, cartels manufacture fentanyl and smuggle it across our porous southern border, where it kills Americans every day…”
There are similarities between today’s fentanil epidemic in America and the opium epidemic in China during the eighteenth century.
The Columbia University website explains “Two things happened in the eighteenth century that made it difficult for England to balance its trade with the East.
“First, the British became a nation of tea drinkers and the demand for Chinese tea rose astronomically. It is estimated that the average London worker spent five percent of his or her total household budget on tea.
” Second, northern Chinese merchants began to ship Chinese cotton from the interior to the south to compete with the Indian cotton that Britain had used to help pay for its tea consumption habits.
“To prevent a trade imbalance, the British tried to sell more of their own products to China, but there was not much demand for heavy woolen fabrics in a country accustomed to either cotton padding or silk.
” The only solution was to increase the amount of Indian goods to pay for these Chinese luxuries, and increasingly in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the item provided to China was Bengal opium. With greater opium supplies had naturally come an increase in demand and usage throughout the country, in spite of repeated prohibitions by the Chinese government and officials.
“The British did all they could to increase the trade: They bribed officials, helped the Chinese work out elaborate smuggling schemes to get the opium into China’s interior, and distributed free samples of the drug to innocent victims.
”  The cost to China was enormous. The drug weakened a large percentage of the population (some estimate that 10 percent of the population regularly used opium by the late nineteenth century), and silver began to flow out of the country to pay for the opium. Many of the economic problems China faced later were either directly or indirectly traced to the opium trade.
” The government debated about whether to legalize the drug through a government monopoly like that on salt, hoping to barter Chinese goods in return for opium. But since the Chinese were fully aware of the harms of addiction, in 1838 the emperor decided to send one of his most able officials, Lin Tse-hsu (Lin Zexu, 1785-1850), to Canton (Guangzhou) to do whatever necessary to end the traffic forever.  Lin was able to put his first two proposals into effect easily. Addicts were rounded up, forcibly treated, and taken off the habit, and domestic drug dealers were harshly punished.
“His third objective — to confiscate foreign stores and force foreign merchants to sign pledges of good conduct, agreeing never to trade in opium and to be punished by Chinese law if ever found in violation — eventually brought war.
” Opinion in England was divided: Some British did indeed feel morally uneasy about the trade, but they were overruled by those who wanted to increase England’s China trade and teach the arrogant Chinese a good lesson.
“Western military weapons, including percussion lock muskets, heavy artillery, and paddlewheel gunboats, were far superior to China’s. Britain’s troops had recently been toughened in the Napoleonic wars, and Britain could muster garrisons, warships, and provisions from its nearby colonies in Southeast Asia and India.
“The result was a disaster for the Chinese. By the summer of 1842 British ships were victorious and were even preparing to shell the old capital, Nanking (Nanjing), in central China. The emperor therefore had no choice but to accept the British demands and sign a peace agreement. This agreement, the first of the “unequal treaties,” opened China to the West and marked the beginning of Western exploitation of the nation…”
Is China doing to America with fentanil what the  British did to China with opium in the eighteenth century?
On March 23, 2023 Vanda Felbab Brown wrote in Brookings institute “Three U.S. presidential administrations — those of Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden — have devoted diplomatic focus to induce and impel China to tighten its regulations vis-à-vis fentanyl-class drugs and their precursor chemicals and to more diligently enforce these regulations.
“China, however, sees its counternarcotics enforcement, and more broadly its international law enforcement cooperation, as strategic tools that it can instrumentalize to achieve other objectives.
” Unlike the U.S. Government, which seeks to delink counternarcotics cooperation with China from the overall bilateral geostrategic relationship, China subordinates its counternarcotics cooperation to its geostrategic relations.
” As the relationship between the two countries deteriorated, China’s willingness to cooperate with the United States declined. Since 2020, China’s cooperation with U.S. counternarcotics efforts, never high, declined substantially. In August 2022, China officially announced that it suspended all counternarcotics and law enforcement cooperation with the United States.  
“There is little prospect that in the absence of significant warming of the overall U.S.-China bilateral relationship, China will meaningfully intensify its anti-drug cooperation with the United States. U.S. punitive measures, such as sanctions and indictments, are unlikely to change that.  While China takes counternarcotics diplomacy in Southeast Asia and the Pacific very seriously, its operational law enforcement cooperation tends to be highly selective, self-serving, limited, and subordinate to its geopolitical interests. Beijing rarely acts against the top echelons of Chinese criminal syndicates unless they specifically contradict a narrow set of interests of the Chinese Government.
” Chinese criminal networks provide a variety of services to Chinese legal business enterprises, including those connected to government officials and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 
” China’s enforcement of precursor and fentanyl analog controls is also complicated by the challenge of systemic corruption in China and the incentive structures within which Chinese officials operate. 
“Chinese Government officials also unofficially extend the umbrella of party protection and government authority to actors who operate in both legal and illegal enterprises as well as to outright criminal groups.  
“There is little visibility into China’s enforcement of its fentanyl regulations. But in the case of fentanyl and its precursor chemicals, small and middle-level actors in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries also appear to be the key perpetrators of regulatory violations and source for Mexican criminal groups. In the case of fentanyl and its precursors, Chinese triads – mafia-like organized crime groups — do not dominate drug production and trafficking.
“Chinese actors have come to play an increasing role in laundering money for Mexican cartels, including the principal distributors of fentanyl to the United States — the Sinaloa Cartel and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG). Chinese money laundering brokers mostly manage to circumvent the U.S. and Mexican formal banking systems.
” Other money laundering and value transfers between Mexican and Chinese criminal networks include trade-based laundering, value transfer utilizing wildlife products, such as protected and unprotected marine products and timber, real estate, cryptocurrencies, casinos, and bulk cash. 
” The increasing payments for drug precursors originating in China in wildlife products coveted there is particularly noteworthy. This method of payment engenders multiple threats to public health and safety, economic sustainability, food security, and global biodiversity. If this wildlife trafficking spreads dangerous zoonotic diseases, it could even pose a threat to national security.  But this convergence of illicit economies also provides the United States with new opportunities for intelligence gathering and law enforcement actions, even as China-Mexico law enforcement cooperation against the trafficking of fentanyl and precursor agents for meth and synthetic opioids remains minimal.  
“Mexican drug cartels are expanding their role into crimes against nature, and they are also increasingly infiltrating and seeking to dominate a variety of legal economies in Mexico, including fisheries, logging, and agriculture and extorting an even wider array of legal economies. For example, Mexican organized crime groups, especially the Sinaloa Cartel, seek to monopolize both legal and illegal fisheries along the entire vertical supply chain.  There may also be a growing involvement of Chinese fishing ships in facilitating drug trafficking…”
Ezequiel Doiny is author of “Obama’s assault on Jerusalem’s Western Wall” and “Jerusalem is the Spiritual capital of Judaism while Mecca is the Spiritual Capital of Islam”
Posted in Freedoms.