BOYCOTTS: Falling off the Tightrope

U.S. oil companies that operate in the Middle East must walk a political tightrope. They are increasingly dependent on Arab nations for crude to supply their, refineries, and the leaders of those countries are growing ever more aware of the power that their control of a vital industrial resource confers. Libyan Strongman Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, for example, recently called on the Arabs to use their oil as a political weapon in their campaign against Israel and backed up his vague threat by nationalizing one small American-owned oil firm.

Thus the oilmen are...

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