On this edition of Parallax Views, former Chicago prosecutor and current Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP; formerly Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) Dr. Inge Fryklund has extensive experience in Afghanistan having spent years in the country while working for USAID and the Marine Corps. Dr. Fyklund recently penned an op-ed for the Institute for Policy Studies’ Foreign Policy in Focus project entitled “Decentralization Could Reduce Conflict in Postwar Afghanistan”. In said op-ed she argues that the kind of local control permitted by Afghanistan’s 2004 constitution, if put into practice, could protect women and minorities in Afghanistan if the scenario of a Taliban takeover of Kabul occurs in the aftermath of U.S. withdrawal in September 2021.
I initially reached out to Dr. Fyklund to discuss this op-ed, however the focus of our conversation took a much broader tone as we delve into her work on Afghanistan as it relates to the U.S.’s longstanding “War on Drugs” since the Nixon Presidency and its effect on U.S. foreign policy. As those even slightly familiar with the country likely know, Afghanistan is known for it’s involvement in poppy production and opium trade. Dr. Fyklund argues that U.S. domestic policy’s hardline stance on drug trade has spilled over into U.S. foreign policy as it relates to Afghanistan. This, Dr. Fyklund believes, has been unnecessary and unbeneficial in the long-run.
In the course of this conversation Dr. Fyklund and I discuss her thoughts on Biden’s planned withdrawal from Afghanistan and why decentralization could prevent the Taliban from taking full control of the country. Moreover, Dr. Fyklund and I take a deep dive into the issue of the War on Drugs and it’s relationship to not just foreign policy in Afghanistan but also the problems it has caused domestically and for countries like Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador since its inception. In Dr. Fyklund’s view the War on Drugs has done more harm than good and has even contributed to a driving a displacement crisis that has led to desperate immigrant refugees arriving at the U.S. border. In addition to these issues Dr. Fyklund and I discuss alternatives to the longstanding War on Drugs and why the War on Drugs could potentially be brought end in the future.