Politics of Starvation

On January 30, 2018 By

Humanitarians struggle to claim successes that are rightfully theirs. Two recent books help us to understand why the tremendous achievement of reducing the number and lethality of famines over the past half-century is not well understood, and hasn’t been sustained. Up to the 1960s, the world suffered a persistent drumbeat of out-breaks of mass starvation that left an average of 10 million dead every decade. By the 1990s that number had dropped to about 500,000. Then, about a decade ago, the advance halted and began, slowly but appreciably, to reverse. We are not back to the horror years of the mid-twentieth century, but there’s reason for concern.

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Our January 2018 employee of the month is Israel, which rose above other potential honorees on the back of key recent incidents that punctuate the injustice of the ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands and highlight the utter failure of international state actors to effectively mediate a solution. As background, it is worth recalling that Israel […]

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Ethiopia’s struggle with increasing popular demands for political and civil rights, and governmental transparency may have reached an important turning point. On January 3, 2018, the country’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn made a surprising announcement: the government would release political prisoners and close the notorious Maekelawi detention center. The prison, he also announced, would be turned into a ‘modern museum.’ Ethiopia’s political transition in 1991 resulted in several new memorials and museums; could the same happen now?

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In part I of this article, I discussed some of the key themes and tendencies of President Trump’s foreign and security policies, and some key global issues where he has made a significant policy impact. In part II, I consider a number of the regional conflicts where Trump’s influence has made itself known.

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