Russia frustrates U.S. effort to squelch international breastfeeding

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Thanks to Russian interference, the United States failed in an effort to strike a blow against mothers’ milk at a United Nations conference this spring. The New York Times reported on July 8 that the U.S. delegation to a World Health Assembly meeting tried unsuccessfully to water down a resolution supporting breastfeeding.

Our delegation was apparently concerned that if mothers fed their babies breast milk it would cut down on sales of good old-fashioned formula made from the finest chemicals in America. So, our representatives tried to strike resolution language urging governments to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding.” Them were obviously fightin’ words.

Just because a long string of U.S. Presidents has supported U.N. breastfeeding resolutions, does not mean that our country should not re-examine this issue, as we have almost every other health and foreign policy issue in the last few months. We may find that mom’s milk, and even apple pie, are no longer good for America. After all, if we now expect American agriculture to stand by while its industry is devastated by destructive trade wars, can’t we expect our infants to contribute to American superiority by consuming factory-made food?

There was some resistance to our move so we had to get tough. Ecuador was the culprit promoting the resolution in support of the milk of human kindness, so we had to put the kibosh on that little pipsqueak country. According to the Times, we told them that if they did not drop the resolution, the U.S. “would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid.” Hey, if we can kick Canada’s fanny for our favorable trade surplus with that country, we can certainly beat up on a country whose location most Americans don’t even know. Ecuador dropped the resolution like a hot potato.

About a dozen other nations, including some African sh__hole countries, were afraid to step forward to push the resolution for fear of retaliation. That shows we can bully these little dots on the map into submission.

Some of the delegates whined that mothers’ milk provides infants with nutrients essential for their development, as well as hormones and antibodies that protect them from infectious diseases. They pointed to a British study which concluded that universal breastfeeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year around the world. Mixing formula with contaminated water in under-developed countries can kill infants. Our representatives were not swayed. They knew that the $70 billion baby food industry brings in more dollars than any number of mothers, and that our drug makers are more than happy to take care of all those diseases.

When it looked like the resolution was in trouble, the supporters brought in the big gun, the kryptonite to our Superman—Vladimir Putin. The Russians stepped forward to sponsor the resolution, we grudgingly submitted, and it passed with overwhelming support. A Russian delegate was quoted as saying, “We’re not trying to be a hero here, but we feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world.” Well said, Ivan. I hope Putin does not give our leader a tongue-lashing over this when they get together for their bro-talk in Finland on July 16.

• • •

Jim Jones is former Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court and a frequent contributor to the Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls Press.

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