Oil is the largest international industry. It is the commodity which makes the wheels of our technological society go round. How did the industrial nations become so involved in the Middle East oil power play? And is it too late for the big oil-consuming nations to extricate themselves? Let's understand the stakes in the L Middle East. In the course of a single day, about $200,000,000 worth of oil, at current price levels, is extracted from oil fields in the Mideast. Roughly 24 million barrels of crude oil are pumped out daily. This is enough to meet the growing needs of all of Western Europe, Japan, Australia, South Africa, and most of Asia, excluding China and the Soviet Union. One hundred years ago, much of the region was little more than wind-blown desert, the bleak landscape interrupted only by an occasional oasis of palm trees and water.
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