Cover image for Drugs, oil, and war : the United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina
Drugs, oil, and war : the United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina
Scott, Peter Dale.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, [2003]

Physical Description:
xix, 225 pages ; 24 cm.
pt. 1. Afghanistan, heroin, and oil (2002) -- 1. Drugs and oil in U.S. Asian wars : from Indochina to Afghanistan -- 2. Indochina, Colombia, and Afghanistan : emerging patterns -- 3. The origins of the drug proxy strategy : the KMT, Burma, and U.S. organized crime -- pt. 2. Colombia, cocaine, and oil (2001) -- 4. The United States and oil in Columbia -- 5. The CIA and drug traffickers in Colombia -- 6. The need to disengage from Colombia -- pt. 3. Indochina, opium and oil (from The war conspiracy, 1972) -- 7. Overview : public, private, and covert political power -- 8. CAT-Air America, 1950-1970 -- 9. Laos, 1959-1970 -- 10. Cambodia and oil, 1970 -- 11. Opium, the China lobby, and the CIA.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JK468.I6 S35 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Peter Dale Scott's brilliantly researched tour de force illuminates the underlying forces that drive U.S. global policy from Vietnam to Colombia and now to Afghanistan and Iraq. He brings to light the intertwined patterns of drugs, oil politics, and intelligence networks that have been so central to the larger workings of U.S. intervention and escalation in Third World countries through alliances with drug-trafficking proxies. This strategy was originally developed in the late 1940s to contain communist China; it has since been used to secure control over foreign petroleum resources. The result has been a staggering increase in the global drug traffic and the mafias associated with it_a problem that will worsen until there is a change in policy. Scott argues that covert operations almost always outlast the specific purpose for which they were designed. Instead, they grow and become part of a hostile constellation of forces. The author terms this phenomenon parapolitics_the exercise of power by covert means_which tends to metastasize into deep politics_the interplay of unacknowledged forces that spin out of the control of the original policy initiators. We must recognize that U.S. influence is grounded not just in military and economic superiority, Scott contends, but also in so-called soft power. We need a 'soft politics' of persuasion and nonviolence, especially as America is embroiled in yet another disastrous intervention, this time in Iraq.

Author Notes

Peter Dale Scott was born in 1929 in Montreal, Canada. A former Canadian diplomat and professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, he is both a poet and an author of political analysis. His chief prose books include Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, The War Conspiracy, Cocaine Politics, and The Iran-Contra Connection (the last two in collaboration). His most recent book of poetry is Minding the Darkness, completing his trilogy Seculum. In 2002 he was awarded the Lannan Poetry Award. He is married to Ronna Kabatznick, and has three children by his former wife, Maylie Marshall.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and current English professor, analyzes an important aspect of US foreign policy. As the name of the book suggests, Scott connects the consistent and, in his view, potentially misguided US policy of catering to international oil interests with the growth of transnational organized drug trafficking and war. He explicitly critiques the covert operations of the CIA as relying too heavily on connections to transnational organized criminal elements, beginning with the operations of the Kuomintang (KMT) in East Asia to the later close working relationships with drug traffickers in Southeast Asia, Afghanistan, and Colombia. Scott links the relationship between the CIA and drug trafficking groups to both the perceived need to protect US access to oil and the continued instability of those states in which the CIA has worked closely with drug traffickers. The author also links the CIA to the lack of success of the US "war on drugs." The book is certainly not evenhanded and on occasion borders on conspiracy theory. However, Scott does point to sources and relationships that are often ignored by works relying on standard archival materials. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. C. W. Herrick Muhlenberg College