Opinion (Alina Savelyeva, assistant to the Dean at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, Higher School of Economics, Moscow): “In 2008 the Head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned of the grave consequences – of governments being overthrown and wars – that could arise from the sudden increase in food prices on world markets.
“The ability to provide enough food for yourself, and have a surfeit to sell for export, is becoming a way for states to influence world politics and the economy, says Alina Savelyeva. It was the rise in food prices that triggered the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and elsewhere.
“Arab governments were unable to keep food prices down and soon there were mass street protests, demonstrations followed by serious political unrest. An article in The Daily Telegraph suggested that the upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia signaled the beginning of an era of ‘food revolutions.’
“The idea of food as a weapon was formulated by Earl Butz, US Minister of Agriculture in Richard Nixon’s government back in 1974. These days, approaching agriculture as an industrial supplier of an ‘alternative weapon’ is common both in developed and developing countries. The term ‘food power’ has been coined in English. But any power or force (even military) is not only an instrument of attack or destruction, but also for containing one’s enemies, in the ‘carrot and stick’ model.
“The World Bank report on International Development in 2011 named three types of threat to food security that could lead to military conflict: 1) natural (drought and flooding), 2) economic (major price changes for basic food products) and 3) political, i.e., a ban on access to land resources or social support programmes.”
My Comment: Natural disasters and the accumulation of arms will bring the world to a threatening state. We are able to affect the first type of threat naturally and indirectly by striving to eliminate the second and third threats.