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As America Slides Into the Second World

The other day my father wondered why the U.S. doesn’t play hardball with OPEC countries — cut the oil prices or we turn your sand to glass. Civilized objections aside, I said, it’s because they have us over a (ha) barrel: their businesses are pegged to the dollar. If they bail on our currency, our economy tanks.

Lo and behold:

‘Kill the cable, kill the cable,’ shouted the security guard as he burst through the double doors into the media room at the Intercontinental Hotel in Riyadh, followed by Saudi police. It was too late.

A private meeting of Opec leaders, gathered this weekend in Riyadh for the cartel’s third meeting in its 47-year history, had just been broadcast to the world’s media for more than half an hour after a technician had mistakenly plugged the TV feed into the wrong socket. The facade of unity that the cartel so carefully cultivates to a world spooked by soaring oil prices was shattered.

[...] On Friday night, during what the participants thought were private talks, Venezuela’s oil minister Venezuela Rafael Ramirez and his Iranian counterpart Gholamhossein Nozari, argued that pricing – and selling – oil using the crippled dollar was damaging the cartel.

Oil leaders’ private debate televised by mistake [Guardian Unlimited]

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