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Presidential Candidates Must Discuss Food, Hunger In Foreign Policy Debate

“What should President [Barack] Obama and [Republican presidential nominee] Gov. Mitt Romney talk about during [Monday's] foreign policy debate? The force that can make or break a foreign policy: food,” author William Lambers, who partnered with the U.N. World Food Programme on the book “Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World,” writes in a Tennessean opinion piece. “There are 870 million people worldwide who suffer from hunger and malnutrition,” he notes, adding, “As former Army chief and Secretary of State George Marshall said, ‘Food is a vital factor in our foreign policy. And the attitude of Americans toward food can make or break our efforts to achieve peace and security throughout the world.'”

“Where there is conflict, you’ll find hunger,” Lambers continues and provides Afghanistan and Syria as examples. “Yet when you look at where America’s dollars are put in foreign affairs, you see relatively little of it going to food aid,” he writes, adding, “Just over $2 billion annually is spent on international food aid … compared with the estimated $52 billion a year spent on nuclear weapons.” He writes, “Imagine if the U.S. could somehow get an extra billion dollars away from that kind of wasteful spending on heavy armaments and channel it toward food aid.” Lambers concludes, “[Monday's] Obama-Romney debate will cover a lot of foreign policy topics. Food and the fight to end hunger has to be one of them,” as the “next president has to escalate the fight against world hunger if we are to build peace” (10/21).