In September I wrote a Modest Proposal about how to respond effectively and humanely to the pressure of the governments of the new Arab Spring on their attacks on Israel and their military posture in the region. Now, in the midst of sustained rocket attacks on Israel by the forces of Hamas these same Arab States are offering their unqualified support to the terrorists of Hamas as they become locked in a deadly dual with their neighbour. They are postulating sending arms and materiel to strengthen Hamas in an effort to sustain its missile attack on Israel. As sovereign states that is their right to do so. The West also has the sovereign right to assist them in reflecting further on the immediate implications of arming and encouraging support to Hamas.
What ought to be the clear and unambiguous policy of the West (especially the U.S., Canada and Australia) is that any state which delivers arms, missiles, military equipment or manpower to Hamas should automatically and immediately have its food imports from the West stopped. These states should be aware of the fact that there are more than rhetorical consequences of their actions.
The knee-jerk reaction of the politicians and populace of to the return of fire by Israel against Hamas is a demonstration at the powerlessness of the ill-educated and ill-governed Muslim masses in the countries they inhabit and their implacable hatred of Israel. They are easily manipulated by their political leaders who do so with impunity. They gamble that the West will not intervene or react to these atrocities but will seek a solution which will give a propaganda victory to the Arab cause.
The key to this is the notion among the political elites is that there is really no downside for them; no contingency between their actions or inactions, and the response of the West; and the U.S. in particular. Clearly there will be no rational military interference by the West in these countries as there is no result that could ever count as a victory. Yet there is a very powerful response which is available which endangers no Western lives and puts a real and direct contingency in front of the political leaders of these Muslim states; with an immediacy with which they have to deal.
They key is that these Muslim states of the Middle East and North Africa are almost totally dependent on the US, Canada, Australia and Brazil for their food. Egypt, in particular, is a major importer of U.S. grains. In 2010-2012 the governments of Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Yemen faced massive protests at the rising cost of food and led to a revolt which toppled Tunisia's leader and ushered in the 'Arab Spring'�. In the wake of the drought which has spread across the U.S. and Canada the prices of wheat, corn, soya and barley have risen dramatically. The Russians have again had to reduce or stop their exports of grain. Australian production is down. Africa's demand is rising exponentially as drought and floods persist. China has to pay much more for the food imports it desperately requires. It is a very competitive market.
America (the U.S. and Canada) are the world's largest producers of corn. This is very important as corn is also connected to many food items:� as feed for dairy cows or for hogs and beef cattle, as a component in processed food',and as a factor which magnifies the price effect of related commodity prices. Some analysts are predicting a repetition of the 2008 protests that swept across Africa and the Middle East, including countries like Egypt, because of food prices. Global grain stocks have reached a new low, with the US and other countries running down their reserves. There are no reserves of these foods in the US any more. That means there is no room for manoeuvre for countries forced to import grains.
There is clearly a wide scope for a policy which says that for those countries which support terrorism and which attack or threaten Western interests, it would be right and proper to announce an immediate� ban on Western food exports to these countries. There are plenty of other markets for these food products worldwide in nations which don't act like those supporting terrorists. Let the political elites of these nations understand that there are real contingencies involved in their irresponsible tolerance of supporting terrorist organisations engaged in the pursuit of their folly. They can choose to continue their behaviour. Nothing militarily will happen to them. Their only problem will be that they will have nothing to eat. Let them choose between taking the side of terrorists determined on changing the political situation of their neighbourhood by indiscriminate bombing of schools,hospitals and cities and eating. This risks no U.S. lives and would require little administrative overhead.
If the Prophet is watching over them to impel them to take umbrage at Israeli efforts at self-defence by supporting Hamas' bombing of Israel then perhaps the Prophet will take pity on them and feed them himself. There is no reason for the West to do so.