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Vasu Murti

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Agenda for a New America
a-usa2.gif (3271 bytes)a-usa2.gif (3271 bytes)Part One
The Politics of Vegetarianism
Chapter 13 - Strategic Commodities

We are presently confronted with a rather precarious situation in which a few select regions of the world are the principal suppliers of various commodities that are essential to the entire process of food production.  The Middle East region, for example, dominates the world petroleum market.  Petroleum is needed to power farm machinery in addition to its use as a fertilizer base.  Despite the relatively large amount of petroleum produced in the United States, this country is, nonetheless, highly dependent on Middle East oil.

U. S . Secretary of State Henry Kissinger commented in 1975 that military intervention "could not be ruled out" in the event of another Arab Oil embargo.   His comment indicates the extent of American dependency on Arab oil and the desperate lengths the U. S. government will go to obtain it.  The "Carter Doctrine" of 1979, concerning the use of tactics nuclear weapons in the Middle East by the United States and the Persian Gulf War of 1991 reiterate American dependence upon a highly unstable part of the globe.

Morocco is the leading producer of phosphate, an important element in fertilizer production. Within the period of a few years in the early 1970s, Morocco more than quadrupled its price for phosphate.  The large world demand for phosphate prompted Morocco to invade the Spanish Sahara when the Spanish relinquished control of the region in 1975.  A guerilla force of Saharan nationals found themselves battling the Moroccan aggressors, whose sole interest in the region was its phosphate reserves.

The United States is fond of using its position as a major food exporter to manipulate the policies of foreign governments.  The most striking example of this practice is the successful American "destabilization" effort in Chile in the early 1970s.  A project initiated by the American Central Intelligence Agency to create dissatisfaction among Chilean truckers resulted in widespread food shortages.   The Allende regime was then rebuffed in its attempts to make a cash purchase of vitally needed U S wheat.  However, in less than a month after a successful Chilean coup that was abetted by the U S government, the new fascist regime was given a large shipment of American wheat on generous credit terms despite Chile's unstable economy.  

A report prepared in August, 1974, by the American Central Intelligence Agency cites several ominous trends in weather conditions and population growth.

The authors of this report indicate there is substantial evidence to support the belief that food shortages will become more acute as the result of a major cooling trend.   As a result, such a situation "could give the United States a measure of power it had never had before--possibly an economic and political dominance greater than that of the immediate post-World War II years."  The study warns, however, that countries adversely affected by these weather changes may resort to desperate measures, including "nuclear blackmail" and "massive migration backed by force."

The report concludes that we have the potential to compensate for future large-scale famines that may be far worse than the present food crisis.  It is duly noted that if the anticipated marked and persistent cooling trend occurs there would not be enough food to feed the world's population "unless the affluent nations make a quick and drastic cut in their consumption of grain-fed animals."

Vegetarian author Laurel Robertson writes that "The relationship between meat consumption and available grain is...more sensitive than we might think...In 1974, when the market for meat did fall, the grain that was so unexpectedly released actually did find its way to poorer Countries."

Go on to Chapter 14 - Environmental Extinction
Return to The Politics of Vegetarianism Table of Contents

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