Great Chicken War of 2010 comes to an end

As has been widely covered elsewhere, President Obama took President Medvedev to Ray’s Hellburger in Arlington for lunch today, but given the day’s main accomplishment, El Pollo Sabroso in Mount Pleasant might have been a better choice. (Generally speaking, more important diplomatic meetings should happen at El Pollo Sabroso, but that’s a subject for another ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images
Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images
Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images

As has been widely covered elsewhere, President Obama took President Medvedev to Ray's Hellburger in Arlington for lunch today, but given the day's main accomplishment, El Pollo Sabroso in Mount Pleasant might have been a better choice. (Generally speaking, more important diplomatic meetings should happen at El Pollo Sabroso, but that's a subject for another post.)

It appears that the great U.S.-Russa chicken wars have come to an end

"To deepen Russia's integration into the global economy, I reaffirmed our strong commitment to Russia's ascension to the World Trade Organization," Obama said. "Today, we've reached an agreement that will allow the United States to begin exporting our poultry products to Russia once again."

As has been widely covered elsewhere, President Obama took President Medvedev to Ray’s Hellburger in Arlington for lunch today, but given the day’s main accomplishment, El Pollo Sabroso in Mount Pleasant might have been a better choice. (Generally speaking, more important diplomatic meetings should happen at El Pollo Sabroso, but that’s a subject for another post.)

It appears that the great U.S.-Russa chicken wars have come to an end

"To deepen Russia‘s integration into the global economy, I reaffirmed our strong commitment to Russia’s ascension to the World Trade Organization," Obama said. "Today, we’ve reached an agreement that will allow the United States to begin exporting our poultry products to Russia once again."

Obama is keen to bolster meager trade and investment with Russia as a way to take its relationship with Moscow to a new level after gaining Kremlin support over Afghanistan, Iran sanctions and a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty.

Chicken became the two leaders’ latest area of agreement. Russia had been the largest overseas buyer of U.S. chicken, but banned the meat earlier this year, claiming a chlorine rinse used here violated its food safety rules.

Since I don’t believe U.S. chicken producers have made any major changes in their methods, this makes it fairly obvious that the chicken ban was politically motivated to begin with.

The agreement couldn’t come a moment too soon for the American poultry industry. The USDA recently announced a plan to buy up $14 million worth of dark meat chicken to to relieve a glut caused in large part by the loss of the Russian export market. 

There’s actually an interesting history of chicken-related angst between the two countries:

The United States under the first Bush administration flooded Russia with American chicken as food aid in the early 1990s, products that Russians came to call “Bush legs.” 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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