Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson

The following were subjects for full columns, columns I now know will, to use an archaic adage, never see the light of day. The research of these subjects runs to dozens if not scores of hours and each would use up the 1,000-word limit; and some could run twice that. But I have a pretty good grasp of who reads these weekly words and know they lean toward local lore and away from regurgitated offal so let me get these out of the way:

FENTANYL: Fentanyl is a manufactured opioid 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Pharmaceutical manufactured fentanyl is used widely in the medical world for pain relief and other maladies; I was given an injection in the Mee ER a few years ago for pain relief and it worked very well. But illegally manufactured fentanyl, either straight or mixed with other drugs, has killed many here in the USA. In 1999, there were 760 overdose deaths (ODs); by 2019, the number had risen to 36,359 ODs, and in two years nearly doubled to 70,600 ODs in 2021. It is now considered an opioid epidemic. And some think that means war.

CARTELS: Over 90% of illegal fentanyl is smuggled across the border between the United States and Mexico. In Mexico fentanyl manufacture, sales and shipping is controlled by drug cartels; a cartel defined as “an association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.” And they are very good at all the above. So good that the government is unable to control them due to payoffs to police, politicians and the military; Mexico is both financially and literally outgunned.

The Trump administration deemed two cartels, Jalisco and Sinaloa, as terrorist organizations, the president suggesting missile strikes on their manufacturing sites. This idea, along with the previous presidential promise to make them pay for a wall, made the Mexican government withdraw diplomatically and turn away from a costly battle with the cartels to other internal needs. The Biden administration, while realizing missile strikes on a foreign country has ramifications, still has not been able to find a bi-partisan plan to stop fentanyl smuggling. As many scream about illegal immigrants crossing as “mules,” people made to smuggle through coercion by cartels (they have their ways), and it is true one backpack filled with fentanyl would suffice the whole of Monterey County drug dealers and users; but it is just as true that most fentanyl is found at border crossings in vehicles whose drivers are often American citizens.

China also gets into the picture as that is where most of the base elements necessary for fentanyl manufacture come from, and because of tensions with the present administration, they also have backed off on efforts to curtail this illegal export. Given these combined situations, a former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. and a few in Washington, D.C., agree that neither the U.S. or Mexico can deal with fentanyl smuggling into the country unless by combined military operations against the cartels; in short, a war. Another war, but this time in our hemisphere.

But illegal fentanyl is a business, supply and demand run the machine. If cartels, as some say, are terrorist organizations, then anyone supporting such an organization supports terrorism, and so American dealers and users of illegal fentanyl are, in fact, enemies of the state. And how do we deal with them?

WAR: Dwight and Vladmir all-in-one mix. I like Ike, or did at one time in my life. He was one of our heroes from WWII, the Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces in the European Theatre of Operations and two-time American president. In his farewell address to the nation, while speaking of military readiness and weapons and arms manufacturers as necessary, he also warned: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” That was back in 1960. In 2017, Vladimir Putin (you know who he is) while speaking of changing American presidents, said this: “So a person is elected, he comes in with ideas. Then people with briefcases come to visit him — well dressed, in dark suits, kind of like mine. Except instead of a red tie, it’s black or navy, and they tell him their ideas and the rhetoric changes.”

The three major manufacturers of America’s military arms are Raytheon, Boeing and Lockheed International and all are controlled by a consortium (read: cartel) of three entities: Vanguard, Black Rock and State Street (do the research if interested). These three also control 88% of the top 500 companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange; 88%! These, gentle readers, are the men in dark suits with dark ties carrying briefcases visiting sitting presidents with their “ideas,” this is the military-industrial complex, and for them Mexico is as good a place as the Ukraine or the Middle East or any other place they can sell their deadly arsenals.

UKRAINE; AND BEYOND?: We’re back to Putin. The first responses in Washington to the Russian attack on the Ukraine were mostly uttered in a unified voice; but that has changed. The support in Congress is vacillating on how much further support, if indeed any support at all, for the Ukrainians. Mr. Putin has made his policy known: to take back all the territory once claimed, to return former acquisitions to the Mother Russia. Some in power in Washington need to take him at his word and remember that all Alaska and way down as far as Fort Ross, only 90 miles from San Francisco, was once part of Russia. You never know what a dictator will do, and come next month, Mr. Putin will once again be “democratically” elected to his fifth six-year reign. Food for thought.

Take care. Peace.

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King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].

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