About 36,000 Americans were killed in the Korean War (1950-1953). Over 58,000 Americans were killed in combat (about 47,000) or non-combat deaths (over 10,000) during the Vietnam War (1964-1973). Those losses are staggering. But due to the opioid epidemic, the U.S. incurs more Americans killed every year, over 80,000. An estimated two million Americans are addicted to opioids.
Tens of thousands of hospital beds and other medical resources are occupied by addicts seeking medication or by those suffering the effects of addiction. Hundreds of thousands of other Americans, the loved ones and friends of addicts, are impacted by this epidemic as health, livelihoods, and futures are lost. Most of these opioids or the chemicals needed to create them come from chemical or pharmaceutical companies in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). That is not an accident. Opioids are the PRC’s chemical weapon of choice to kill Americans, destroy American lives through addiction, and weaken American society. This is a modern Opium War, and the American people are targeted.
Between 1839-1842 Great Britain fought the First Opium Warwith China’s Qing dynasty. The British forced the Qing to allow British opium to flow into China. The Qing were well aware of opium’s harmful effects on people and Chinese society and did their utmost to restrict its importation and use. China’s defeat was the start of what the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) terms the "century of humiliation,” China enduring before the CCPseized power in 1949. A second Opium War (1856-1860) was fought by Great Britain and France against the Qing and led the Qing to surrender more of their sovereignty to the European states. The beachheads that Britain and France established in these wars, were soon joined by other European powers, and later by Japan and United States. The effect of the two Opium Wars was that China was opened to trade and influence, acolonial presence in much of the country, and the humiliation of the loss of its sovereignty.
In a modern twist to the history, the drug is not opium, but largely fentanyl and precursor chemicals, and the target is not the Chinese but the American people. The weapons of this modern Opium War are manufactured in the PRC and shipped to the United States is done despite U.S. pressure, most recentlythe U.S.-PRC agreement reached in November 2023, to stop the sale of precursor chemicals to Mexican criminal gangs. No doubt the PRC will make some cosmetic changes, but opioids are too effective a chemical weapon to kill Americans and weaken the social fabric of the United States for the PRC to stopthe destruction of its enemy. New drugs are also having an impact. An animal tranquilizer, xylazine, may be mixed with fentanyl poses new risks. As does a new opioid family, called nitazenes, which are largely made in the PRC and shipped to the U.S. directly as well as through Mexico. Often mixed with fentanyl or heroin, it is even more potent, with some versions being 10 to 25 times as potent.
So there will be new waves of this epidemic with more deaths, addictions, and lives destroyed. The PRC has found new variants of the chemical weapon it can use to kill Americans.
But the weapon’s effectiveness is due to decisions made by Americans themselves. The American elite decided to offshore jobs to the PRC since the 1990s, that hollowed out American manufacturing towns, and caused great despair, alienation, and lost futures for many Americans as well as the loss of American manufacturing power to the PRC’s great benefit. U.S. presidential administrations since Clinton, with the exception ofTrump, and Congress allowed that to occur, and were deliberately blind to the costs incurred by American society.
The fact that the U.S. has not stopped the PRC from exporting the precursors or opioids themselves by closing the border, retaliating against the PRC leadership and CCP for the conducting the trade, and terminating the supply line, including by seizing vessels shipping the products, and dispatching their confederates in Mexico shows the U.S. government is willing to participate in the destruction of its population. The Qing dynasty tried to protect the Chinese people but could not against the stronger military might of the British. Unlike the Qing, the U.S. government could protect the American people but chooses not to do so.
Based on the empirical evidence, American deaths per year, which are almost the equal of the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined, is worth it for the elites. The Americans killed in the PRC’s chemical weapons attack against the U.S. seems for Wall Street, investors, and U.S. businesses just to be the price of doing business to keep the CCP afloat and trade and investment flowing. The American people sense the contempt with which the elite hold them. The fact that it is reciprocal is important but at the same time is cold comfort.
Americans must unite and perceive the CCP as the enemy it is. Here, the American elite have the most work to do. The fact is that trade and investment in the PRC are the opioids of the American elite. It is well past time to cut that off and wean the addicts from their addiction. Americans need to unite and act together to end the twin addictions to opioids and to trade with the PRC. Ending U.S. investment and trade with the PRC will contribute to its demise, and that will eliminate its chemical warfare against the American people.
Bradley A. Thayer is a Contributing Columnist for Warroom andis @bradleythayer on Gettr and Truth, and @bradthayer at X.