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Columnist Fails to See the Need for American Independence When It Comes to Oil Supplies

August 19, 1990

I can't believe that James Flanigan really expects us to accept him as a serious, responsible international economist from the theme of his article "OPEC Is Cause for Worry but Not Panic" (Aug. 1).

Is Flanigan's memory so short that he doesn't remember the long lines and the terrible employment, economic and social problems caused by the last oil embargo imposed by the Arab oil-producing states? And this was when we were importing far less of our oil than the 50% we do now! Even Flanigan recognizes that "the U.S. will end up importing 60% of its oil by the mid-1990s."

It's bad enough for fuel prices to jump up but much more dangerous to the United States is our dependency on Arab oil to run our nation's economy and its defenses. The United States has put itself in a foolish position for Arab blackmail. What if our oil supply is cut off completely? What options then?

From the way the Arab states treat each other, let alone foreigners, it's obvious that an appeal to humanitarianism has no effect--all that influences them is political and economic power. Look at the horrible Iraq-Iran war and the present invasion of defenseless Kuwait by massive Iraqi forces.

If Flanigan can't see the need for U.S. independence when it comes to energy supplies, I don't know how he expects his views to be taken seriously.

IRVING E. FRIEDMAN

Laguna Niguel

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