April 22, 2024



A nuts notion (or two) to deal with the Ukraine grain “crisis”

4 min read

My distinguished colleague and pal Melvin Goodman has had some fantastic pieces up at Counterpunch a short while ago, which includes excellent, searing critiques of Pres. Biden’s rehabilitation of Eliott Abrams, and of David Ignatius’s most current piece of compacent lunacy pertaining to Ukraine and Russia.

So envision my surprise when I study Goodman’s most up-to-date piece there, in which he proposed that, “Implementing a grain airlift for Ukraine would be the obvious way to rejoice the 75th anniversary yr of the Berlin Airlift, which was conducted from June 1948 to September 1949.”

This would be to offer with the world-wide “crisis” of food stuff availability/costs spurred by Russia’s decision not to get back the Black Sea grain arrangement that was achieved past yr below the joint auspices of the UN and the Federal government of Turkey. This disaster has, as you have possibly witnessed, been a lot hyped by the Western corporate media.

Goodman looks to be urging in his piece that the U.S. military services direct the airlift work he proposes. He writes,

[T]here is no query that the United States has the moxie and the airlift functionality to carry out these an operation…. The U.S. Air Power has far more than 200 C-17s for such an airlift as nicely as 3 types of air refueling aircraft (KC-135 Stratotankers, K-10 Extenders, and KC-46 Pegasus).

This proposal strikes me as rather batty and (have been it to be be executed, which I dearly hope it under no circumstances is) incredibly seriously escalatory.

Goodman, by the way, is not the only man or woman at present proposing forceful, unilateral (or anyway, non-UN-authorized) U.S. action to aid Ukraine export its grain. The reliably hawkish retired U.S. admiral James Stavridis is also proposing that “NATO convoys can guard Ukraine’s grain.”

So below, just rapidly, are my objections:

Click to enlarge. Screengrab from currently. Resource

Initial, and most significant, is that basically, world wheat price ranges have just lately been substantially lessen than they were previous year. (See e.g. this.) So they’ve gone up a bit following the Black Sea Grain offer collapsed? Not the stop of the world…

Of class the craven corporate media in this nation needs to make it look that Russia’s assaults on Odessa etcetera are harming the Global South. But which is not accurately the case and I never listen to any leaders in the World South obtaining that argument… Without a doubt, all the most influential kinds are in South Africa appropriate now, producing designs for the huge BRICS summit due to be held there in a month’s time– at which Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavros will be an seemingly valued participant.

2nd, the strategy of a Berlin-type airlift is of training course not almost as basic as it seems. It would contain the airlifting planes flying into Ukraine and landing at airports there to load up their cargoes. Zero civilian planes are flying into Ukrainian airspace these times for the quite great explanation that the Russian air drive exercise routines broad handle about almost all of it. So now, Goodman proposes that convoys of U.S. armed service planes fly in.

Planet War 3 warn, men and women! That is quite a bit various than just demonstrating Goodman’s “moxie”.

(The Berlin airlift, which associated having U.S. and British navy planes fly briefly into Berlin to speedily dump the humanitarian cargoes they had been getting in, have been a deliberate and recognizing problem to the Soviet military’s command of the airspace of East German, in the middle of which sat beleaguered West Berlin. It concerned crystal clear dangers. But in the chaos of all those early publish-1945 yrs, those have been challenges that London and Washington judged value taking. Fwiw, the Soviet Union did not demonstrate its acquisition of nuclear weapons capacity until a 12 months later on.)

3rd, the Black Sea Grain offer had at least three critical elements: (a) The Ukrainians received to export their grain beneath international supervision, and under an arrangement that associated getting Ukrainian pilots tutorial the ships through the Ukrainian minefields in the vicinity of their ports and then Russian pilots guidebook them by the Russian minefields more out. (b) There was rigorous and trusted worldwide inspection (by Türkiye and the UN) of cargoes likely both in and out of Ukrainian ports. Because you know, Ukraine may have been bringing arms and so forth in on all those exact boats. Gasp! (c) In return for its participation, Russia received assurances that the money sanctions and other impediments imposed by Western nations on its exports of grains and other agricultural exports would be lifted.

When renewal time arrived up, the Russians mentioned that the third of those circumstances was not recognized/respected. Hence, no renewal.

So nowadays, with a US/Western “airlift” of grains out of Ukraine, what system, trusted by the two sides would do the inspecting of planes going into Ukraine to choose up the shipments? Just well worth asking!

Finally: all the economic and large environmental prices of applying air transportation to transportation grain?? All those would get borne by whom? And to make what position?

(Probably the East Europeans could be pushed to do a bit additional to aid Ukrainian grain exports– a little something they have until eventually now been really hesitant to do?)

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