United States grain embargo against the Soviet Union

The United States grain embargo against the Soviet Union was enacted by Jimmy Carter in January 1980 in response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. It remained in effect until Ronald Reagan ended it in 1981 upon taking the office of president. American farmers felt the brunt of the sanctions, while it had a much lesser effect on the Soviet Union, bringing the validity of such embargoes into question.[1] During the presidential election campaign of 1980, Republican nominee Ronald Reagan promised to end the embargo while incumbent Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter was not willing to do so.[2]

CausesEdit

The Soviet Union's 1979 invasion of Afghanistan was met by the United States with numerous economic sanctions including the grain embargo. In addition, the United States led a boycott of the 1980 Olympics which were hosted in Moscow.

Effect of embargo on the Soviet UnionEdit

The effect of the embargo on the Soviet Union was minimal as they were able to receive grain from other sources, with the Soviets receiving more grain from their second highest import partner, Argentina. These sources included most of South America such as Venezuela and Brazil. These crops were cheaper than the American grain, as the labor cost was much cheaper. The Soviet Union still received grain from the United States with regard to the grain agreement in 1975 between the two countries. The agreement said that the United States was required to send 8 million tons of grain to the Soviets.[3] The embargo was a blessing in disguise for the Soviets as they were able to see that they didn’t need the United States’ grain. Instead, they could cultivate their own in Ukraine and import the grain from South America. Even after the embargo was lifted the Soviets still relied on the grain from Ukraine and South America and reduced their interaction with the U.S.[4]

Effect the embargo had on the United StatesEdit

The effects of the embargo on the United States were numerous. The embargo had little effect on U.S. prices.[5][6] The embargo had a direct effect on the 1980 presidential election.[7][8] In several states farmers who were part of the farm strike movement circled their tractors around local state United States Department of Agriculture offices to protest the USDA enforcement of the embargo.[9]

Key figures of the 1980 grain embargoEdit

The main figure of the 1980 grain embargo was Jimmy Carter. The grain embargo was his way of using food as a weapon. Carter believed that if he could cut out the Soviets grain imports, then they wouldn't be able to feed their livestock or people, hoping that the people in the country would lead to unrest against the war in Afghanistan.[10] Another key figure in the grain embargo was the Farm Bureau. At first, they supported the embargo as they saw it as a way for farmers to sell more of their grain to Americans. As a result, grain prices dropped and farmers became angered with the legislation and decided to protest against the embargo. When Jimmy Carter lost their support it was the end for the embargo.[11] A year later, Ronald Reagan took power with the support of the Farm Bureau and ended the embargo. Another key figure of the 1980 Grain Embargo was the farm strike movement. The farm strike movement was a group of farmers who protested the embargo through peaceful means such as the incidents with encircling the USDA headquarters in few states with their tractors. Their actions brought attention to the demands of the farmers for the embargo to be lifted.[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Robert L. Paarlberg (1980). "Lessons of the Grain Embargo". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  2. ^ Oki, Kazuhisa. U.S. FOOD EXPORT CONTROLS POLICY: THREE CASES FROM 1973 TO 1981. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
  3. ^ Taylor, Marcia Zarley. "Russian Grain Embargo in Retrospect." DTN Progressive Farmer. N.p., 21 Mar. 2014. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
  4. ^ Luttrell, Clifton B. The Russian Grain Embargo: Dubious Success. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
  5. ^ Prices Historical Chart Data According this chart the price was $4.39 per bushel in January 1980 and $5.00 in January 1981 with highs of $5.38 in November 1980
  6. ^ Luttrell, Clifton B. The Russian Grain Embargo: Dubious Success. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
  7. ^ "Reagan in a landslide". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 5 November 1980. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  8. ^ Kneeland, Douglas E. "FARMERS ASK REAGAN TO KEEP VOW TO LIFT GRAIN EMBARGO." The New York Times. The New York Times, 24 Jan. 1981. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
  9. ^ Paarlberg, Robert L. ""Lessons of the Grain Embargo"" N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
  10. ^ Luttrell, Clifton B. The Russian Grain Embargo: Dubious Success. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
  11. ^ Taylor, Marcia Zarley. "Russian Grain Embargo in Retrospect." DTN Progressive Farmer. N.p., 21 Mar. 2014. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
  12. ^ Paarlberg, Robert L. ""Lessons of the Grain Embargo"" N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.