n March 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a “hurricane of hunger and a meltdown of the global food system” in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine.
Guterres said food, fuel and fertiliser prices were skyrocketing with supply chains being disrupted and added this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe.
According to the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, there is currently sufficient food and no risk of global food supply shortages.
We see an abundance of food but skyrocketing prices. The issue is not food shortage but speculation on food commodities and the manipulation of an inherently flawed global food system that serves the interests of corporate agribusiness traders and suppliers of inputs at the expense of people’s needs and genuine food security.
The war in Ukraine is a geopolitical trade and energy conflict. It is largely about the US engaging in a proxy war against Russia and Europe by attempting to separate Europe from Russia and imposing sanctions on Russia to harm Europe and make it further dependent on the US.
Economist Professor Michael Hudson recently stated that ultimately the war is against Europe and Germany. The purpose of the sanctions is to prevent Europe and other allies from increasing their trade and investment with Russia and China.
Neoliberal policies since the 1980s have hollowed out the US economy. With its productive base severely weakened, the only way for the US to maintain hegemony is to undermine China and Russia and weaken Europe.
Hudson says that, beginning a year ago, Biden and the US neocons attempted to block Nord Stream 2 and all (energy) trade with Russia so that the US could monopolise it itself.
Despite the ‘green agenda’ currently being pushed, the US still relies on fossil fuel-based energy to project its power abroad. Even as Russia and China move away from the dollar, the control and pricing of oil and gas (and resulting debt) in dollars remains key to US attempts to retain hegemony.
The US knew beforehand how sanctions on Russia would play out. They would serve to divide the world into two blocks and fuel a new cold war with the US and Europe on one side with China and Russia being the two main countries on the other.
US policy makers knew Europe would be devastated by higher energy and food prices and food importing countries in the Global South would suffer due to rising costs.
It is not the first time the US has engineered a major crisis to maintain global hegemony and a spike in key commodity prices that effectively trap countries into dependency and debt.