'Gun them down' - Indonesia's president orders cops to shoot drug dealers

Pacific Rim countries tend to imitate one another because they are so integrated by trade, and the questionable trend of shooting drug dealers without trial has now come to Indonesia, following similar practices in Thailand and Philippines. It would not be surprising if Malaysia followed.

It underlines, above all, the inherent nationalism in these countries, many of which had independence struggles in the post-World War II era, as well as their willingness to thumb their noses at international institutions, which will tut-tut the moves. None of them fear the international courts in the Hague. And yes, it's nationalism at work: Note that Indonesia, the latest country to follow this trend, has a president who has explicitly condemned foreign drug dealers importing trouble into the country.

It also channels the Asian loathing for illegal mind-blowing drugs, a bad Western habit as they see it, that they don't want imported into their home countries. It likely has its roots in China, which was laid low by the opium trade as a nation, and then lost much of its sovereignty in the aftermath of the 19th century Opium War with Britain. Asian governments do not like drugs.

But there is also an obviously internal struggle going on that is probably greater than the problem of foreign drug dealers, who have been around for awhile. Every drug dealer who plies his trade in these places - where incomes are rising - has willing buyers. What's notable is that the worst-affected areas are the ones with the most Islamofascists. In Indonesia, the epicenter of the drug scene is Aceh, where pot-smoking scenes, full of hostile losers are pretty common. Whenever you run into a drug den in Indonesia, someone from Aceh is likely to be a connection, something I observed in my travels in the country. Aceh, the country's northwest area on its northwest large island, Sumatra, is also linked by trade most closely to the Saudi and other Islamic states and is considered the 'most Islamic' part of the country. Shariah law has been introduced into the area.

It jibes with the two other states that have done wildcat wars on drugs - Thailand, whose battles with drug dealers took place in the north and out on the borderlands as well as on the Isthmus of Kra, was heavily populated with Muslim areas in parts. The bulk of Philippines drug war is in the south - once again, the Muslim area.

What it points to is some internal crisis in Islam, that so many young people would turn to drugs, while others would be vulnerable to Islamofascist terrorist recruiters. Obviously, young people don't feel good about themselves in Islamic areas and some are turning destructive, whether through drugs or terrorism. V.S. Naipaul often wrote about Islam's incapacity to reconcile itself to the modern world. No place has been modernizing as quickly as Southeast Asia.

The other thing it points to is the adage of terrorism expert Rachel Ehrenfeld who has contributed many pieces to American Thinker: That all terrorism is narcoterrorism. Iran and Afghanistan are also well-known for their problems with the illegal drug trade. Illegal drugs may be the problem of choice in those areas because alcohol is prohibited - hashish has long been used in that area as a substitute. But it wreaks a havoc equal to or worse than alcohol ever did. If the choice is drugs or terrorism, many are going to go for terrorism.

And that brings up the inherent nationalism of the Southeast Asian states once more. Both Islamism and illegal drugs are threats to the state. It shouldn't surprise anyone that these nations are taking things into their own hands as they are, by fair means or foul.


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