July 18, 2002

A great Harper's Index this week.

Percentage of Iranians and Kuwaitis, respectively, who say that the September 11 attacks were "totally justifiable" : 8, 18

Percentage of Americans who say this : 5

Amount the U.S. Agency for International Development spent to build Bethlehem University's Millennium Hall : $1,200,000

Months after the building's inauguration in December that Israel used three U.S.-made missiles to destroy it : 2.5

Greg Palast: Venezuela and Argentina: A Tale of Two Coups

This was no minor matter to the US. As OPEC's general secretary Alí Rodriguéz says: 'The dependence of the US on oil is increasing progressively. Venezuela is one of the most important suppliers of the US, and the stability of Venezuela is very important for [them].' It was the South American nation that broke the back of the 1973 Arab oil embargo by increasing output from its vast reserves way beyond its OPEC quota. Indeed, I learned from Alí Rodriguéz that the 12 April coup against Chávez was triggered by US fears of a renewed Arab oil embargo. Iraq and Libya were trying to organize OPEC to stop exporting oil to the US to protest American support of Israel. US access to Venezuela's oil suddenly became urgent.

Immanuel Wallerstein: The Eagle Has Crash Landed

The real question is not whether U.S. hegemony is waning but whether the United States can devise a way to descend gracefully, with minimum damage to the world, and to itself.

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