In true American fashion, the U.S. delegation at the World Health Assembly upended a resolution to encourage breastfeeding as the healthiest way to keep a baby fed in favor of pushing the special interests of formula manufacturers.
The U.S. officials wanted to weaken the resolution’s pro-breast milk argument and demanded the removal of phrasing that asked governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding.” When their demands failed, the U.S. delegates moved on to threats.
Ecuador was in line to introduce the breast is best measure, but dropped the resolution upon being warned that Washington would withdraw military aid from the country and impose punishing trade measures. Ecuador caved to Washington’s bullying and dropped the the resolution.
Patti Rundall, a policy director for a British advocacy group said, “we were astonished, appalled, and also saddened.” The assembly tried to find other countries to sponsor the resolution after Ecuador backed out, but many of them were too afraid of retaliation from the U.S. and would not agree to take over for Ecuador.
“What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health,” said Rundall.
Lucky for the world’s children, Russia stepped up and introduced the measure, and as can be expected, the U.S. did not threaten Russia’s decision.
The State Department refused to comment on the situation, but it should be pointed out that the $70 billion baby food industry is mainly made up of American companies with a bit of help from a few European companies. Also, former president Obama’s administration was a supporter of the breast-feeding campaign.
It is no secret that the Trump administration has been striving to tear down every shred of good the Obama administration was able to accomplish, so the fight against breast-feeding could have more to do with thwarting Obama than corporate greed. However, when you take into account the fact that the U.S. also fought to remove soda taxes as a measure for countries to deal with rising obesity rates and fought the effort to help poorer countries obtain medications, it is clear that the U.S. is more concerned about corporate bottom lines than the health of the humans sharing this planet.
An official from Ecuador expressed bafflement at the whole scenario, “We were shocked because we didn’t understand how such a small matter like breast-feeding could provoke such a dramatic response.”
Even Russia felt the U.S. stance was a bit too much to swallow, “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.”
Read more about America’s strong-arming tactics, U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials” written by Andrew Jacobs and posted by NY Times on July 8, 2018