Foreigners have been buying—or at least renting—America’s ruling class since the republic was founded. Almost exactly 225 years ago, in his 1796 Farewell Address, George Washington warned against “the insidious wiles of foreign influence,” adding that “foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
In modern times, Saudis, Japanese, South Koreans, and Israelis—to name a few—have all managed to purchase influence. But the usual goal is to gain advantages for their own nations. What we are seeing now is something much more dangerous—using influence to corrode the United States from within.
One nation is pouring highly addictive and unpredictable illicit drugs into the American bloodstream - killing tens of thousands a year. And the American elites are doing absolutely nothing about it. Now THAT is influence.
The drug? Fentanyl. The country? Communist China.
Fentanyl mostly originates in China, often moving via Mexico (and Mexican drug gangs) into the United States. The Chinese are also into the money laundering part of the business—helping drug gangs launder (or recycle) their massive earnings. Talk about a “win-win”—as the Chinese communists like to say.
The deluge started around 2013 and has picked up steadily since then. The numbers are staggering.
In 2017, 28,000 Americans died of overdoses involving fentanyl.
In a 2018 meeting with President Donald Trump, Chinese leader Xi Jinping pledged to restrict all fentanyl-like substances. Trump declared this a “gamechanger.” Not surprisingly, the fentanyl and drugs kept flowing.
In 2019, over 37,000 Americans died from fentanyl overdoses. That’s nearly five times the number of American troops killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2020, the U.S. government reported 93,000 American residents died from a drug overdose—the vast majority from fentanyl poisoning. The COVID-19 lockdowns have helped bump up the already horrific death totals.
Yet, even as the death toll mounts, U.S. businesses and financial titans never mention it. The think tanks are mostly silent. Academia? Can’t be bothered. The U.S. media often downplays or ignores the fentanyl bloodbath, and even more so the source, seemingly afraid to mention the C-word, China.
Packets of fentanyl mostly in powder form and methamphetamine, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection say they seized from a truck crossing into Arizona from Mexico, is on display during a news conference at the Port of Nogales, Ariz., on Jan. 31, 2019. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Reuters)
And on Capitol Hill where there’s bold, blustery, “bi-partisan” talk about taking on the Chinese regime, when it comes to fentanyl and China one hears little.
Even the Trump administration—the firmest yet in standing up to China—didn’t make so much of the fentanyl issue, though Mr. Trump raised it directly with Xi, and others did try.
One official suggested calling the “fentanyl scourge” the “Third Opium War.” The response from inside the Beltway was immediate and visceral: “You can’t say that” (when it comes to China there’s all sort of things “you can’t say”).
In this case, the response was particularly curious as, in some quarters (including in China), there is a tendency to excuse Chinese non-cooperation as payback for the Opium Wars of the 19th century.
Payback? The Opium Wars were 180 years ago. By that logic, slave labor in Xinjiang is “payback” for the pre-Civil War plantations. How does creating new despair and death rectify old despair and death?
American elites also have plenty of other “insider” excuses for why the Chinese regime (or, better said, won’t) stop the illicit drug flow.
Three of the most common:
1) The Chinese regime is in a legal bind as fentanyl producers keep jiggering the formula to avoid the “illegal list” and therefore the producers are always one step ahead of a government that can’t revise laws fast enough, try as it might.
A nice excuse, but in China the law is what Xi and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) say it is, as even billionaire Jack Ma and any number of other powerful and well-connected Chinese tycoons and officials have discovered the hard way. If Beijing wants to shut down fentanyl producers the law is no obstacle.
2) Chinese local authorities, supposedly outside of Beijing’s reach, won’t stop fentanyl production since they want tax revenues and employment—and are also thoroughly corrupt.
True enough. But local officials are also frightened of being caught crossing Beijing—everyone knows what happed to Ma.
3) Chinese authorities can’t locate the illegal drug producers. China is a big place, you know.
The CCP is creating a surveillance state that even George Orwell couldn’t have imagined. Draw a mustache on a poster of Xi and see how long it takes to be arrested and imprisoned. Post on social media that Xi resembles Winnie the Pooh and you’ll have Ministry of State Security agents at your front door in minutes.
The CCP police can do whatever they want. “Disappear” people, arrest starlets, kidnap billionaires and booksellers—take foreigners hostage and lock them up? No problem. The only restraints come from Zhongnanhai—the very top of the CCP.
The fact the Chinese regime doesn’t ban fentanyl in its entirety—much less go after producers the way it goes after Uighurs, Christians and Falun Gong, or Hong Kongers—suggests the CCP is glad America is awash in fentanyl.
And when Trump told Xi to knock off the fentanyl flow back in 2018, Xi reportedly replied: “We don’t have a drug problem in China.” That means Xi can control the drugs and he’s channeling the chemical warfare agents—in true “unrestricted warfare fashion”—towards his #1 rival and greatest enemy. Most things involving the CCP just aren’t that hard to figure out.
The Effects of China’s Chemical Warfare
The carnage can’t be overstated. Fentanyl is ravaging all parts of American society. And about half of the deaths attributed to fentanyl are young people of military age.
As one former U.S. government official noted, this is the equivalent of removing five or six divisions of Army or Marines off the rolls every year. And don’t forget the “battlefield casualties” who survive but can no longer function as productive members of society, the burden and expense of caring for them, and the devastated families left broke and broken.
One hears elites who should know better say the victims are just “druggies” and wouldn’t have joined the military anyway. That’s malicious and wrong. Young people have been misbehaving for centuries, and that includes many who join the U.S. military. But a six-pack or a joint is one thing; a difficult to identify drug that is often mislabeled and unpredictably kills or permanently disables in minute quantities, is quite another.
From China’s perspective, what’s not to like? You’re weakening your avowed enemy, which you plan to dominate by mid-century. And, even better, the CCP makes a lot of money from the drug trade—and in convertible currency. Buy fentanyl and you pay in dollars.
While China is ultimately to blame, it is America’s own ruling class that refuses to do anything about it for fear of “offending” China. Or, more accurately, for fear of not being able to feed their own addiction—to Chinese money. Money that, in some small part, may have come from selling fentanyl to Americans in the first place.
Maybe overlooking 93,000 dead countrymen and exponentially more left in the wreckage in exchange for Chinese cash is easier when you think it’s just deplorables and Neanderthals in fly-over country who are dying.
It can’t be helped if these people were too stupid and lazy to “learn to code” or to get a Wharton MBA when their jobs, livelihoods, and communities were shipped overseas from the 1990s onwards—mostly to China—by those same political and business elites.
Countering ‘the Most Baneful Foes’
Watching America’s elites do nothing - or worse even calling for unrestricted engagement with the Chinese regime - one concludes that the Chinese have indeed gotten their money’s worth from America’s ruling class.
Just listen to the head of the U.S.–China Business Council, or the CEO of Boeing, or Nike, or Apple if you don’t believe me.
‘Chemical warfare’ as suspected 44 lbs of Fentanyl seized by law enforcement officials in Dayton, Ohio during the week of Oct. 21, 2019. (Montgomery County Ohio Sheriff’s Office)
Here’s an idea: require prospective graduates from elite MBA and International Relations programs, as well as Congressional staffers—and maybe even members of Congress themselves—to spend a couple of weeks in the so-called “Rust Belt” that’s been hit both by fentanyl and the carnage caused by the pedigreed classes when industries and jobs were shipped off to China.
Try: Youngstown, Ohio; Uniontown, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York; or East Cleveland, if you need some idea. Though the list could be much, much longer. Put them up in a local motel and require them to be outside on the streets from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. “soaking in the atmosphere.”
And maybe, for a break, accompany the EMTs out on drug overdose calls. Or stop off at the local high schools and sit in with the guidance counselors—just to get a sense of things and the bright futures too many of these kids face.
Is this likely? No.
One gets the impression America’s Best and Brightest just don’t care. They have become willing accomplices to the “baneful foes.”
This is particularly infuriating because we can fight back. China is not invulnerable. They’ve hit us where it hurts—in our families and communities. We need to hit them where it hurts—in their elites.
Message to President Joe Biden:
You have sworn to protect American citizens, not to ensure Wall Street and U.S. industry can take advantage of Xi’s umpteenth promise to “open up.”
So do one or, ideally more, of the following:
First, suspend all Chinese financial institutions from the U.S. dollar network. Start with the People’s Bank of China.
Second, immediately de-list every Chinese company from the New York Stock Exchange and other exchanges. They should not have been listed in the first place.
Third, revoke the Green Cards and visas—and place liens on the properties and bank accounts—of the top 500 CCP members’ relatives in the United States.
China can stop pushing drugs into America. It just needs a reason to do so. And we need to give them one. And, at the same time, we need to break our most “insidious” addiction, the one of our elites to Chinese money.