The Bush administration sold the farm in its relentless advocacy of "free trade". But both agriculture and manufacturing are of strategic importance. The following is from Michael Pollan's letter:
Rich or poor, countries struggling with soaring food prices are being forcibly reminded that food is a national-security issue. When a nation loses the ability to substantially feed itself, it is not only at the mercy of global commodity markets but of other governments as well. At issue is not only the availability of food, which may be held hostage by a hostile state, but its safety: as recent scandals in China demonstrate, we have little control over the safety of imported foods. The deliberate contamination of our food presents another national-security threat. At his valedictory press conference in 2004, Tommy Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, offered a chilling warning, saying, "I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do."Those things that are taken out of our hands are no longer subject to our control. Michael Polllan's letter is a matter of common sense. But people who have not been hands-on engaged in reality don't have it. It is what we get when we forget to have schools in which children learn by doing.
In the meantime, please read Michael Pollan's letter. It is a masterpiece of forward thinking placed in historical perspective.