Is the Unrest in the Middle East Just the Beginning?

With the prices of basic food staples and energy soaring, chaos and political unrest could lead to global discontent, riots and uprising around the world this year and in the near future. This is the unsettling opinion of Michael Klare, a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author of “Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet.” He penned a column in the English-language edition of Le Monde diplomatique stating his concerns.

“Start with a simple fact: the prices of basic food staples are already approaching or exceeding their 2008 peaks, that year when deadly riots erupted in dozens of countries around the world,” Klare writes. “It’s not surprising then that food and energy experts are beginning to warn that 2011 could be the year of living dangerously — and so could 2012, 2013, and on into the future.”

The upheaval may lead to the imminent collapse of the tenuous global economic recovery, he says. “Already, combined with staggering levels of youth unemployment and a deep mistrust of autocratic, repressive governments, food prices have sparked riots in Algeria and mass protests in Tunisia that, to the surprise of the world, ousted long-time dictator President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his corrupt extended family.”

No one can predict where the next explosion will occur, but with food prices still climbing and other economic pressures mounting, more upheavals appear inevitable, Klare says.

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