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The Political History of American Food AidAn Uneasy Benevolence$
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Barry Riley

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190228873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190228873.001.0001

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The Ethiopia Conundrum

The Ethiopia Conundrum

Chapter:
(p.421) 19 The Ethiopia Conundrum
Source:
The Political History of American Food Aid
Author(s):

Barry Riley

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190228873.003.0020

This chapter is the second of two in-depth, country case studies. The first, Chapter 13, was a detailed account of Lyndon's Johnson's use of his “short tether” in India. The present chapter chronicles the rapid expansion of hunger and famine in Ethiopia during the 1980s and the nature of the official American government response to that disaster at a period in history when Ethiopia was governed by an anti-American, Marxist, military government and the United States was led by a conservative, profoundly anticommunist president and administration. This chapter explores, first the underlying, chronic causes of widespread food deprivation in Ethiopia and the overlay of political and economic causes combining to produce famine conditions for millions. Second, it looks at the American response to that unfolding disaster and attempts to determine the extent to which the U.S. response might have been influenced by political rather than humanitarian considerations.

Keywords:   Ethiopia, famine, communism, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Ronald Reagan, Catholic Relief Services, Korem, Kurt Jansson, food relief, food aid

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