If Russia weaponizes food and blockades the Black Sea ports from where Ukraine exports its products, that could mean an international refugee crisis that could even affect the southern border of the United States, former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, said on Newsmax on Wednesday.
"The kind of refugee crisis I'm worried about is what happens if Russia weaponizes food," McFarland, now a board member of the American Conservative Union, told Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "If Russia blockades those ports on the Black Sea that export Ukrainian wheat [or] sunflower oil, those are major components in everything from fast foods to daily staples."
Much of Ukraine's exports go to poor countries that won't be able to withstand the costs a Russian blockade would bring, McFarland said, and if "Egypt, the Middle East, Africa, South America, if they can't afford foodstuffs on the international market, people are going to leave."
While some may end up at the U.S. border, most will flee to Europe, said McFarland, with Ukrainians who have evacuated to European countries likely remaining there.
"That's why the Europeans, I think, are so upset by what the next phase of this Russian war could be, which is in the Black Sea," she said.
Meanwhile, the war could go on indefinitely between Russia and Ukraine, as Moscow has the money to keep fighting, particularly with the high prices of Russia's main export, oil and natural gas, said McFarland.
"The other reason Russia is rich right now is because of grain exports," she said. "Russia is one of the world's largest exporters of wheat and grain products … those are probably going to go higher if the Russians do take those southern ports on the Black Sea."
McFarland said she does not think NATO or the United States should become involved militarily against Russia, and should give Ukraine what it needs to fight for itself, but if a humanitarian crisis arises, ships in the Black Sea should have a naval escort to get food out of Ukraine.
"That is a humanitarian crisis that affects everybody," she said. "I think that we should have naval escorts, not just American, but every country with a Navy should send a ship to try to escort a convoy of foodstuffs out of the Black Sea."
Those escorts, McFarland added, should be set up now before Russia takes over the port cities.
"Let's see who shows up," she said. "Will the Chinese show up? The Chinese are just building a nice, huge global navy. Would they want to help the Third World by helping the foodstuffs from Ukraine get to the world market?"
McFarland also discussed the growing situation with North Korea, which reportedly is preparing for its first nuclear test explosion in nearly five years.
"North Korea was one of the things I worked on in the Trump administration, and I think it's not a coincidence that we didn't have any tests of this sort," said McFarland.
But with President Joe Biden in office, she said she thinks North Korea will continue to test longer-range missiles and nuclear weapons, as it wants to show Biden and the West what it can do because it perceives the president as being weak.
"It's not a surprise that Iran is getting nuclear weapons, that North Korea's testing, or that China's building naval bases all over the world, or the Russians invaded Ukraine," said McFarland. "Why they are doing it is because the leader of the free world is perceived as weak and preoccupied with other matters and is domestically in real trouble."
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