OIL: Unsheathing the Political Weapon

After long muttering vaguely about using their abundant oil as a "political weapon," the newly unified Arab leaders finally unsheathed it last week. They vowed to cut the oil production on which the fuel-short West depends and to raise prices sharply. That oil squeeze could easily lead to cold homes, hospitals and schools, shuttered factories, slower travel, brownouts, consumer rationing, aggravated inflation and even worsened air pollution in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

The Arabs took three steps:

1) Ten Arab countries meeting in Kuwait decided that each month from now on they will reduce oil output at least 5% below the...

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