November 2001

Editorial comment

One month since N.Y. attacks; New Gulf Publishing Co. owners

Nov. 2001 Vol. 222 No. 11 
Editorial Comment  

Thomas R. Wright, Jr., 

After the attacks

As this was written, it’s been exactly one month since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. Since the atrocities, we (particularly in the U.S.) have been inundated with information about our security failures, the terrorists’ mindset, the possibility of future attacks and the efforts underway to root out Osama bin Laden and his crazed scumbag followers. Due to this information overload, we must admit to a temporary inability to put forth a focused opinion about all that’s happened. Instead we’ll offer some random observations:

  • The emotional and military support offered by NATO members and many other countries has been truly encouraging. In particular, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has been at the forefront by providing strong leadership and the military muscle needed to oust bin Laden. More surprising has been Pakistan’s commitment to the efforts. Although there’s no telling what the U.S. has offered in return, President Pervez Musharraf is taking a huge risk by allowing attack aircraft to over-fly his country. One must wonder if he can maintain control over his own resident fanatics, plus the Taliban sympathizers that have likely already crossed into his country.
  • Following the first air strikes, the U.S. air-dropped rations for the Afghans fleeing the cities. Obviously, this action was designed to provide propaganda benefits, but it also prompts a few questions: Will the Afghans even want to eat this stuff? If you were being bombed by somebody, and they dropped food, would you feel safe eating it? Did we make certain that the food was dropped far away from existing minefields?
  • President Bush chastised members of Congress for leaking information and said he would reduce the number of members included in the briefings. Congressional leaders reminded him that current law requires him to share information with certain members. President Bush should remind Congress of current law covering treason and vow to prosecute any future "leakers."
  • It’s surmised that the Taliban still has some of the Stinger missiles that the U.S. provided for fighting the Russians. With all our high-tech gadgetry, why haven’t we included a computer chip in these types of weapons that could be used to disable them when alliances change or if weapons fall into the wrong hands?
  • Within weeks of the attacks, the peace-niks resurfaced, chanting their "love, not hate" and "why can’t we all be friends" gibberish. As usual, the University of California at Berkeley, the left-coast epicenter of liberalism, led the way with 2,000 peace demonstrators out-shouting a few hundred flag waving Americans. Not to be outdone, the "intellectual" bastions of the East Coast (also known as the Ivy League) had their say too. At Harvard, 500 folks gathered for a peace rally, while according to The Wall Street Journal, only 50 people attended a "patriotism rally" sponsored by campus conservatives.

While all of this was going on, some Harvard alumni and contributors were trying to get the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) officially reinstated at the university. The faculty voted to ban it in 1969. Currently, Harvard students who want to participate in ROTC must travel to nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

But don’t look for ROTC at Harvard any time soon – now the objection is the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy on gays. In fact, again according to The Wall Street Journal, a Harvard graduate who now works as an ROTC recruiter is not even permitted to make his presentations at the school. Unlike student groups such as the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Supporters Alliance, the Harvard Boxing Club and the Harvard Global Peace Project, which can stuff student’s campus mailboxes for free, the recruiter must pay to mail fliers to ROTC prospects.

  • Finally, there’s the question of what to do with bin Laden when he’s caught. Here’s a terrific idea received via e-mail recently: "Killing him will only create a martyr. Holding him prisoner will inspire his comrades to take hostages to demand his release. Therefore, have the Special Forces capture him, fly him to an undisclosed hospital and have surgeons quickly perform a complete sex-change operation. Then, return her to Afghanistan to live as a woman under the Taliban (if there are any left)."

Publishing is still our focus. It’s amazing how time flies. In January 2000, Gulf Publishing Company was purchased by two private investment partners, whose goal was to transform the company into a e-commerce site and make a quadrillion bucks in the process. Like nearly every other dot-com venture in the world, the idea was infinitely better than the outcome, and as a result, we’ve had to suffer through the dot-flop shakeout.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that those venture partners had the good sense to pull the plug early on the e-commerce idea and prepare Gulf for sale to a company whose primary interest is publishing. After several fits and starts, and numerous presentations to potential suitors, an agreement was closed on August 31 to sell Gulf’s assets to London-based Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC (EII).

There’s even better news – EII was been built on a philosophy of editorial excellence, not flim-flam commercial publishing, which means that you can look forward to the same high standards of the old Gulf Publishing Co.

One of EII’s prime properties is The Petroleum Economist, a highly regarded publication covering the business of international oil and gas. And although it’s always been World Oil’s objective to cover the industry from an international perspective, our new access to PE’s expertise in Europe offers numerous opportunities for expanded coverage and new synergies.

So, what does all of this mean to you? Well, since the inception of Gulf Publishing Co. in 1916, World Oil magazine and its predecessor publications have reported on industry’s technical and business trends and how they shape the upstream marketplace. We’ll continue to do that. But now we will have the resources of a multi-million dollar (or should that be Pounds Sterling?) corporation behind us. And, while we realize there will be much hard work ahead, it’ll be nice not being a red-headed step-sibling to some dot-comer with a cell phone in one hand and a Palm Pilot in the other.

Economics lesson. If you bought $1,000 worth of Nortel stock a year ago, it would now be worth $49. If you bought $1,000 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) a year ago, drank all the beer and traded in the cans for the nickel deposit, you would have $79. Moral – Start drinking heavily and recycle.WO


Comments? Write:

Related Articles FROM THE ARCHIVE
Connect with World Oil
Connect with World Oil, the upstream industry's most trusted source of forecast data, industry trends, and insights into operational and technological advances.