The Political History of American Food Aid: An Uneasy Benevolence

ISBN : 9780190228873

Barry Riley
592 ページ
156 x 235 mm

American food aid to foreigners long has been the most visible-and most popular-means of providing humanitarian aid to millions of hungry people confronted by war, terrorism and natural cataclysms and the resulting threat-often the reality-of famine and death. The book investigates the little-known, not-well-understood and often highly-contentious political processes which have converted American agricultural production into tools of U.S. government policy. In The Political History of American Food Aid, Barry Riley explores the influences of humanitarian, domestic agricultural policy, foreign policy, and national security goals that have created the uneasy relationship between benevolent instincts and the realpolitik of national interests. He traces how food aid has been used from the earliest days of the republic in widely differing circumstances: as a response to hunger, a weapon to confront the expansion of bolshevism after World War I and communism after World War II, a method for balancing disputes between Israel and Egypt, a channel for disposing of food surpluses, a signal of support to friendly governments, and a means for securing the votes of farming constituents or the political support of agriculture sector lobbyists, commodity traders, transporters and shippers. Riley's broad sweep provides a profound understanding of the complex factors influencing American food aid policy and a foundation for examining its historical relationship with relief, economic development, food security and its possible future in a world confronting the effects of global climate change.


Chapter One: The Early Episodes: 1794-1914
Chapter Two: Herbert Hoover
Chapter Three: ...but now came Famine and Pestilence...
Chapter Four: Between the Wars
Chapter Five: Interlude: The American Farmer
Chapter Six: The Birth, Short Life, and Early Death of the UNRRA
Chapter Seven: Harry Truman, European Hunger and the Cold War
Chapter Eight: The Marshall Plan Era
Chapter Nine: Public Law 480
Chapter Ten: The Politics of Food Surpluses
Chapter Eleven: Kennedy: Food Aid and Economic Development
Chapter Twelve: Lyndon Johnson's Food Aid Battles
Chapter Thirteen: LBJ, India and the Short Tether
Chapter Fourteen: The Nixon Years: Two Case Studies
Chapter Fifteen: A Global Food Crisis
Chapter Sixteen: The World Food Conference
Chapter Seventeen: Food Aid Under Carter and Reagan
Chapter Eighteen: The Search for Food Security
Chapter Nineteen: The Ethiopia Conundrum
Chapter Twenty: From Food Aid to Food Assistance: 1990-2014
Chapter Twenty-One: Change...and Resisting Change


Barry Riley is a Visiting Scholar at the Center on Food Security and the Environment in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. For nearly 50 years, he has been a participant in the domain of foreign economic assistance, first with the U.S. Government, then the World Bank, and finally as a private consultant. In recent decades, he has sought to discover how American international food aid has been shaped and reshaped over two centuries to serve the widely differing objectives of Presidents, legislators, and interest groups operating in quite distinct periods of American history.