China promised to crack down on all types of fentanyl products.
Trump declared back in December that he reached a verbal agreement with President Xi to this end, but it wasn’t until earlier this week that the Chinese declared that they’ll list all fentanyl-related products as scheduled substances next month, which will close the previous loopholes whereby the state banned derivatives on a case-by-case basis and was always struggling to catch up with chemists who’d slightly change the formula of their products to evade punishment. American officials have long suspected that China was deliberately lax with its law enforcement and turned a blind eye to the export of its fentanyl to third countries on the way to the US’ massive drug marketplace as part of a reverse-“Opium War” Hybrid War motivated by schadenfreude from the West pushing opioids on their people centuries ago.
Grant Newsham wrote a piece about precisely that for The National Interest titled “China’s Dangerous Fentanyl War Is Crippling America” in which he elaborated on this train of thought in an insightful piece that’s worth reading in order to better understand Trump’s perspective, which is increasingly gaining traction in the US. Whether an accurate reflection of reality, a false one, or an exaggerated view that mixes truth with falsehoods, it’s important to keep in mind that this is how the US is unofficially approaching the issue at the state level because of the pertinence that it has to the so-called “trade war”. Trump’s announcement late last year about President Xi’s verbal intent to implement the forthcoming move speaks to his desire to include this issue into the trade talk with his counterpart, hoping to strike a more comprehensive deal for regulating their bilateral relations in the future.
That’s not to say that whatever agreement might ultimately emerge from their negotiations will be all-encompassing and address each and every sensitive issue in their bilateral relationship, but just that the inclusion of the fentanyl problem into this larger framework speaks to the will of both sides to expand their talks from strictly the economic sphere to something much bigger, whether in the near future or further along down the line. This issue in particular is especially significant because Trump regards the opioid crisis as being linked to poor security along the Mexican border as well, and the First Lady has also made this problem her main charitable cause during his presidency. As such, any success on this front could possibly boost Trump’s domestic appeal in key Midwestern swing states ahead of the 2020 elections.
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