- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.
I am told by a retired analyst in the intelligence community that sharp rises in food prices are, along with the price of cooking fuels, a major leading indicator of future political unrest. So I was interested to see the following quotation in this report:
International prices of food increased by 4% during January and April 2014, putting an end to the declining trend of food prices sustained since August 2012. Prices of wheat and maize sharply increased during that period due to growing weather concerns and mounting import demand. Despite favorable prospects for cereals supplies, several uncertainties hang over the near future, some exerting upward pressures on prices, such as weather in the United States and, more globally, El Niño, and a hypothetical escalation of geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and others exerting downward pressures on export prices, such as the releases of public stockpiles of rice in Thailand. Domestic prices of food generally stabilized across regions, marked by seasonal trends and availabilities from previous harvests. . . . The thematic section of this report discusses the role that food prices and food shortages may have on food riots, a term widely used but poorly defined, and partially reflecting decades of overlooking the food-to-conflict nexus. Hence, monitoring food prices responds not only to food security and welfare interests, but also to political stability and security concerns. Proper monitoring constitutes a first step in addressing the complex interactions between food insecurity and conflict.
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| Turtle Bay |