Richard Holbrooke still gets it, mostly

In a recent interview with Reuters, U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan:

The Western policies against the opium crop, the poppy crop, have been a failure. They did not result in any damage to the Taliban, but they put farmers out of work and they alienated people and drove people into the arms of the Taliban.
So I need to stress this: the poppy farmer is not our enemy. The Taliban are. And to destroy the crops is not an effective policy and the U.S. has wasted hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars on this program, and that is going to end.
We are not going to support crop eradication. We’re going to phase it out and allow for very limited areas, where on a specific, case-by-case basis, it may be valid.

Does that mean that the U.S. has a workable solution? No, not really.

What are we going to do? We’re going to emphasize interdiction, precursor chemicals, and other things — going after drug lords. So we’re not downgrading our effort to fight the dreadful cancer which is the opium trade. But we are going to stop making the farmers the victims.

A real, effective solution that takes drug money away from criminals is outside the current political landscape, but at least maybe they’ll stop the incredibly stupid policy of eradication.

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