Will the COVID-19 lead to a Chinese-American version of the Opium War?

5/4/2020 21:16:00
     The First Opium War (1839-1842), Photo / Arc GIS

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, tweeted a short video showing General Surgeon, Jerome Adams, as he urged Americans to use T-shirts to make masks, which is a good thing, to protect themselves from coronavirus (Covid-19) infection that has started to spread quickly through the country. He used a custom T-shirt written on it (Got Naloxone), which is good too, but the questions that arise here are: why this particular T-shirt? What is the relationship between what was stated in the advertisement (Got Naloxone) and the outbreak? And what is the advertisement hiding about the outbreak? 


Naloxone is a drug used in the USA to block the effects of opioids. It has been allowed to be used since 2015 without prescription. It is used widely for some health complications including breathing difficulties in opioid overdose. The latter symptom is toxicity occurred as a result of excessive opioids. The latter includes morphine, heroin, fentanyl, tramadol, and methadone. The symptoms of excessive opioids include insufficient breathing, small pupils, and unconsciousness of which pulmonary edema is one of the complications. Naloxone is a non-selective and competitive opioid receptor antagonist, so it reverses the central nervous and respiratory depression, so here the point where Naloxone meets the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), it is not a coincidence!  


The Naloxone T-shirt is a wear sold on the market for about $ 15 to $ 18 to help raise awareness that Naloxone prevents overdose! Here, at the advertisement of Jerome; is overdose intended as morphine and heroin? 


Morphine is a natural product produced by plants and animals including human, it is a pain relief drug. Morphine is widely used, particularly over the last twenty years. Heroin is a morphine-derivative medication and used for the same purposes. The main source of morphine is the poppy plant grown Southeast and Southwest Asia as well as in Latin America, Mexico and Colombia. This may mean that the advertisement is aimed at fighting addiction, but through advocacy to avoid COVID-19.  


It is true that the novel Coronavirus outbreak started in Wuhan, China, but it has become pandemic very quickly, the exciting thing about the spread of the disease is its positioning in some countries such as Iran, Italy, Germany, Spain, Britain and the United States, the countries that are not far from the existence of drug addiction phenomenon.   


According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) about 38% of adults in 2017 battled an illicit drug use disorder in the United States. On the other hand, in China, the number of addicts is too low compared to the population of the country; it does not exceed three million, according to the statistics of 2014. 


Coronavirus is receding in China, but it is spreading in America, and the number of deaths is increasing as well. America, Europe and Iran are suffering from a real problem due to the Corona virus. This means that an economic problem has risen between China and the West, especially USA, but what about addiction? In other words, does the CDC announcement about making masks indicate a lining call to prevent addiction? Is the USA certain that addiction is one of the most important factors that help spread the disease? Or rather, is it evitable that the Anglo-Chinese opium war will return again, but this time not because of the British occupation of India and the misfortunes of the East India Company, but because of the Coronavirus? 


The opium war happened in 1839 after the pandemic plague (1830-1831) and The Asiatic Cholera Pandemic (1826-1837) which harvested the lives of millions of people in the area from Eastern China to Western Europe and even to the United States and Japan. The British East India Company has opened a way to China for commercial purposes and this has encouraged opium merchants to export opium to China. The Chinese Kingdom opposed this measure because of the widespread addiction among the Chinese, for that the British government worked to conjure up all that it and Europe possessed of modern war technology to confront China and impose its trade balance on it, even that it was through the drug trade!  


If the opium war erupted due to Britain's export of opium to China, so what about today when China exported a disease to America? However, there is a problem that surfaced between America and China, the Corona problem, but another factor imposes itself to be decisive in changing the balance of power between the two countries, which is addiction. So, how will the situation between the USA and China look like in the post-Corona period? If the winner from the outbreak is China and the loser is America, as it appears at first glance, will the USA repeat the opium war on China and use all its technology to pressure it? Is today's China the same as it was in 1839? How will the situation in the world look like? 




Written by Bahrouz Jaff, edited by Farzad Bassam 



Commemoration of 3 Kurdish activists shot in Paris

Thursday, Kurds saluted the seventh anniversary of the assassination of 3 Kurdish women activists in France.


The crime took place on January 9, 2013, targeting 3 female Kurdi...

»  3 Kurdish girls die in a fire in Norway
»  Kurdish teenager plays for several European football clubs

Quarantined citizen in Sulaymaniyah: services provided are impossible for major countries

One of the citizens inside a quarantine center in the city of Sulaymaniyah said that what the medical and administrative staff provide is not possible for major countries to provide, and that the q...

»  Susan Rice: U.S. has ‘sold out the Kurds’ with Syria move
»  INTERVIEW: Kurdish leader Ilham Ahmed on security in North and East Syria

America’s Opportunity in the Middle East

U.S. foreign policy hands are rightly grappling with how engaged the United States should be in the Middle East. Thought-provoking essays by Martin Indyk (in The Wall Street Journal) and Mara Karli...

»  UN Team Reports New Evidence Against ISIS in Iraq
»  The Role of the Kurds in the Armenian Genocide