Convoy us this day our daily bread
On May 29, 2022, former NATO Commander, U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, proposed that the Western Allies provide armed convoys to escort Ukrainian ships carrying grain across the Black Sea to reach the millions of Arabs and Black Africans who need their daily bread. In normal times, Ukraine provides the world with ten-percent of its grain-product needs.
Currently, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is blockading Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. If famine floods across the countries that depend on Ukrainian wheat, that will be one more war crime to hang around the neck of Vladimir Putin.
Blockades work. The North won the American Civil War, in part, because of an effective blockade of Southern ports. But blockades can be broken by armed convoys. As Admiral Stavridis recalls, when the Iranians tried to block the oil coming out of the Strait of Hormuz in 1987, the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Will convoys broke the blockade.
Meanwhile, the Biden* Administration is walking a tight rope between not provoking Putin into some kind of nuclear stupidity and keeping the Ukraine War at its current tempo through our November elections so Biden* can retain the aura of a "war-time" President.
Without U.S. leadership, NATO, even though it could, is not likely to mount blockade-breaking convoy operations across the Black Sea. How about the U.N.? Among the U.N.’s 193 member states, many are so-called "developing nations," that often have socialist economies, meaning they are often only a few grain shipments aware from famine. But, without the U.S., the U.N. is not likely to come to the rescue of its famine-struck members, except to ask for U.S. farmers to rescue them.
Turkey, of course, is the geographical key. Get a world map or use Google Earth to look down on the Black Sea, the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles. Without the approval of the Turks, warships cannot move between the Black Sea and the Aegean/Mediterranean Seas. One wonders what kind of deal, if any, has been struck between Vladimir Putin and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan?
With 20/20 hindsight, Turkey should never have been allowed to join NATO and the waterways between the Aegean/Mediterranean Seas and the Black Sea should have been put under an International Control Commission centuries ago.
Historical note: Back in geological time, the Black Sea was a huge fresh-water inland lake that was over 30-feet below the water level of the Bosporus. But, at the time of the Great Flood (Remember Noah?), the rising waters from the Aegean/Mediterranean Seas broke over the Black Sea’s earth "sill," and salt water, in a force equal to 200 Niagara Falls, cascaded into the Black Sea and filled it to the brim. Consequently, no locks are needed to connect the Black Sea to the rest of the world’s waters.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s grain silos are filled with much of last year’s harvest. There will be no room to store the grain from the new harvest. Without armed convoys to break Putin’s blockade, the new harvest is likely to rot on the ground. What kind of "civilization" allows mass starvation to happen? A "civilization" focused on transgender pronouns and teaching kids to hate each other based on skin color (CRT).
Suggested reading:The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits, 1936.
©2022. William Hamilton.