22 million tons of grain are currently stranded in Ukraine because of a Russian blockade. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the issue last week by invoking visions of political unrest due to potential food shortages, saying, “Famine doesn’t come alone. It is always accompanied by political chaos…”. The underlying message from Zelensky was clear, if the world wants to eat, it must help Ukraine break the Russian blockade at our ports.
Russia has offered to lift their blockade in exchange for sanctions relief. But the West has ignored these offers, making Zelenskyy’s threat a very dangerous and real one. Russia and Ukraine export more than a quarter of the world’s wheat. Over eight other wheat producing countries, such as India, have put restrictions on, or outright banned, their wheat exports.
Food insecurity is a major cause of political instability and conflict. Zelensky is using this fact to significant effect with his matter-of-fact statement about the trapped grain in his country.
The Ukraine president has been an expert at messaging since the beginning of the war. He has galvanized nations around the world with his stories of what is happening in Ukraine, some true and some not so true, while the Russian’s messaging has been much less effective in the West.
Russia’s messaging has not been able to counter that of Western powers. Many Russian outlets have been aggressively targeted for censorship, and the Biden regime has made several attempts to extend the federal government’s power to monitor.
A narrative is starting now that Putin is weaponizing the food supply. If countries begin to experience large-scale food shortages and resultant riots, there could be a quick escalation of the war. This is one scenario where countries could call for direct NATO involvement to break the blockade and get the grain to start flowing, which would lead to a war that could very quickly spiral into historic tragedy.
Most Americans oppose a boots on the ground solution to the war currently, but large-scale food shortages at home could change that quickly. Biden has already publicly come out and said to expect food insecurity here at home. Hopefully, the war will resolve quickly so countries are not faced with such a dilemma.