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How to be a President of all the people: Lesson #35

Friday, February 15, 2008

I was just over at Rising Hegemon bathing in Attaturk's usual brillance when I ran across this piece he posted about Exxon Mobile from CNN:

"Exxon Mobil is locked in a dispute over the nationalization of its oil ventures in Venezuela that has led President Hugo Chavez to threaten to cut off all Venezuelan oil supplies to the United States."

Like Attaturk, I share no love lost with U.S. oil conglomerates. OTOH, I also don't share any love lost over Hugo Chavez. Watching this dispute between Exxon Mobile and Chavez is a little like chosing between Tony Soprano and Michael Corleone.
Reading Attaturk's piece reminded me of John F. Kennedy and the U.S. Steal Crisis of 1962 when several steel companies colluded together to set prices and JFK stepped in and got an initial "gentleman's agreement." It is one of the highlights of his very and too short administration:
"After striking a gentlemen's agreement' with US Steel bosses over wage increases and the price of steel, Kennedy was required to prove his mettle to the US people when the steel bosses, led by Blough, backed out 2 days later. Kennedy undertook a number of methods to force the steel companies to back down, including federal agencies such as the FBI. He arranged for the companies to be the subject if a criminal investigation. He also manipulated the companies by using by using media agencies to his advantage. When the steel bosses backed down, Kennedy was able to claim victory. "
The most interesting part of this "crisis" was when Kennedy took to the air waves after U.S. Steel backed off their agreement and decided to raise prices anyway. His press conference says it all:



Take Vietnam and substitute it with Iraq. Substitute US. steel with Exxon Mobile. Substitute John F. Kennedy with Geoge W. Bush. Could you see Bush laying down the law to the oil companies making obscene and I mean obscene profits at the expense of the economy? That's ok, don't even try hurting your brain. We already see how the oil companies have answered JFK's clarion call that just didn't resonate with the generation that heard him that day as he asked "What you can do for your country?" He was asking all the generations that followed the same thing. It should still resonate today. We already know the oil companies' answer.

2 Comments:

Vinho said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vox Populi said...

I only have time to quickly say EXCELLENT !! We agree like smooth on this.