Le pain et la Bushophobie

LONDRES-  J’éprouve une certaine pitié pour le président Bush. Quels que soient ces autres défauts, son administration a un historique assez remarquable d’aide aux pays pauvres, en particulier dans le domaine des soins médicaux. Comme on pouvait s’y attendre, il a récemment annoncé une augmentation substantielle de l’aide alimentaire américaine – au bénéfice des affamés et pour le plus grand bénéfice des agriculteurs américains.

La réponse de l’administration américaine à la crise alimentaire mondiale a été bien plus rapide que celles d’autres gouvernements. Après une baisse constante sur 30 ans, le prix des denrées alimentaires a récemment atteint des sommets. L’index des prix de l’alimentation du magazine The Economist a affiché les prix les plus élevés depuis sa création en 1845. Comme cela a été le cas dans le passé, la flambée des prix et les pénuries ont entraîné des émeutes, de la Bolivie au Bangladesh. Le mot pour pain en égyptien est « aish », qui veut aussi dire la vie. Les menaces sur la vie poussent les foules dans la rue.

Ce qui m’a fait ressentir de la pitié envers Bush a été la réaction à son annonce, lorsqu’il a expliqué les raisons pour les pénuries et la hausse des prix. Il ne s’est pas étendu sur le détournement du maïs, de l’alimentation à des biocarburants fortement subventionnés. Il n’a pas non plus pointé le réchauffement climatique du doigt, bien que plusieurs experts estiment qu’il pourrait être à l’origine de la sécheresse et des inondations qui ont respectivement ruiné les récoltes de blé en Australie et la production d’huile végétale en Indonésie et en Malaisie.

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