by Austin Bay
November 2, 2022
Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has become a war on the world's poor and starving.
As his army retreats, Putin weaponizes food. Somalia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Congo -- Putin's war will kill in these hard corners.
On the battlefield Ukraine is steadily defeating Putin's corrupt Kremlin war machine.
In his bid to create Great Russia, Putin tried to smash Ukraine's will to resist. But Kremlin missile attacks have failed to crush the Ukrainian people's will.
Footnote: Adolf Hitler's bombing blitz of London hardened the Britons' will to defeat the National Socialist Fuhrer.
As for Putin's threats to strike Ukraine with nuclear weapons?
They boomeranged. Cold War vets saw the nuke threats as a desperation.
My speculation: at the diplomatic-strategic level, the Kremlin received vicious warnings from Europe and North America of massive conventional retaliation if it used a nuke.
As for the Kremlin's mass conscription and reservist ploy? Putin was threatening Ukraine with human wave attrition, which translates as "we Russians will die you to death."
The ploy incited mass resistance in Mother Russia. Even the oligarchs noticed.
So, what does a dictator on the edge of ignominious defeat do?
In Putin's case he enlists an old mercenary specializing in mass slaughter: Famine, The Rider on the Black Horse, the third horseman of the Book of Revelations' Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Let theologians debate John's visions. The historical evil of weaponized famine is occurring in our time on Earth.
Our time background: this year the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) explored the effects of the Ukraine war on world food supply. The FAO used simulations to "wargame" scenarios estimating Ukraine War diminished food supplies and likely human malnutrition, starvation and what aid professionals call "food insecurity."
In its June "Information Note," FAO said "simulations suggest" that in a scenario "involving a prolonged reduction of food exports by Ukraine and Russia the number of undernourished people globally could increase by between 8 and 13 million in 2022/23." The Asia-Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa would suffer the worst but "...the impacts will last well beyond 2022/23."
"Moreover, other projections for 2022 indicate that up to 181 million people in 41 countries could face food crisis or exacerbated levels of acute food insecurity."
More: "The war will increase humanitarian needs in Ukraine" with millions of people displaced by the war "that has lasted more than eight years."
Ukraine's 2022 suffering echoes an evil StrategyPage.com noted earlier this year: "Stalin starved Ukraine in the early 1930s and felt justified because of its continued resistance to communist rule. This Holodomor (Great Hunger) killed over three million Ukrainians as too much Ukrainian grain was exported for hard currency."
On July 22 Turkey brokered the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed Ukraine to restart food exports stalled by Russia's invasion. The U.N. and NATO backed it. The deal ensured safe passage for grain ships in and out of Ukraine. It amounted to a "de facto ceasefire" potentially leading to a real ceasefire.
On Oct. 29 Russia declared it was pulling out of the deal. Why? Suspected Ukrainian drones attacked Russian ships near Sevastopol.
Russia insinuated the drones were launched from freighters carrying food from Ukrainian ports. However, on Oct. 31 the U.N. said no ships were in the maritime humanitarian grain export sea corridor the night of Oct. 29.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Russia's decision as "weaponizing food in the war it started, directly impacting low- and middle-income countries and global food prices and exacerbating already dire humanitarian crises and food insecurity."
Putin thinks the action gives him diplomatic leverage.