U.S. Foreign Policy Could End Hunger, Build Peace

National Catholic Reporter, December 3, 1993 | Go to article overview

U.S. Foreign Policy Could End Hunger, Build Peace


As the United States emerges from the Cold War, there is ample evidence that it is floundering in its attempts to find its wider role in the world. What principles need be foundational in a forward-looking, 21st century U.S. foreign policy? Several come to mind:

1. We need to develop a new and effective relationship with the United Nations and its agencies such as UNICEF.

America is deeply divided over U.S. cooperation with the United Nations. Although the United States was the legal architect and principal founder of the United Nations, Americans since the days of Eisenhower have been schizophrenic about it. The relationship is not so much love-hate as ambivalent-uncommitted.

It seems clearer every day that the United States is being called to return to its original enthusiasm for the United Nations. The United States undertook its mission to Somalia as part of the emerging U.N. program to relieve famine in that tortured nation. The United States never fully incorporated its operation into that of the United Nations, nor did the U.S. military fully coordinate with the troops or the officers of other nations.

Although such resistance to total U.N. control of any U.S. activity seems endemic to the United States' psyche, the time has come when it has to be changed or modified.

2. We need to place the right to food at the core of America's new foreign policy.

The United States, land of milk and honey, has always been ready to make promises to end hunger and famine. In the 1950s Congress created the Food for Peace program. President Kennedy pledged that within a decade no child would go to bed hungry. President Carter's Commission on Hunger, chaired by Sol Linowitz, recommended in 1980 that the principal objective of America's foreign policy should be the elimination of hunger in the world, especially in Latin America. …

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