The Search for Solutions to US Oil Dependence

The front page article "In Aftermath of Gulf War, Oil Prices Remain Stable," April 1, contains information which I find surprising in its candor and what it reveals about reasons for continued dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Explaining a quote by an international oil analyst, which says that the Saudi government is accepting oil prices "at less than the market can bear," the author tells us this means that "today's world oil price, maintained by Saudi production restraint, is presently lower than necessary [in order] to prevent" three economic forces from coming into play: "a surge in new non-OPEC oil production, a burst of greater efficiency in the use of oil, or massive substitution of other energy sources." Aren't these exactly some of the solutions to dependency which have been part of the national debate?

Another analyst is quoted earlier in the article as saying: "The energy strategy of the US, to the extent it exists, is to defend access to the reserves of the Middle East." One question would seem to be: Why does the US prefer a military "solution" to developing alternative energy sources? Joan Sanders, Flossmoor, Ill. What about Protestantism?

The special report "1492-1992: The Religious Legacy," April 1, includes no mention of Protestantism. Did the Puritans, Pilgrims, and other Protestants leave us no legacy?

The Reformation in the 16th century likewise "altered the course of history" with the rise of Protestantism in northern Europe. Its adherents eventually flowed across the Atlantic to settle our country and propel it to become a democratic, tolerant, and free nation. Ruth Brierley, Gladwyne, Pa. Latin American economies

The special report "Latin American Economies Shed Old-World Past," March 18, is interesting, but remarkably short on analysis.

To read the articles, one would assume that Latin America is poised on the brink of prosperity. In vain I looked for even a mention of the millions of Latin Americans living in destitution. Their situation has only gotten worse in the past decade, and this is in large measure due to the crushing debt burden owed to northern hemisphere nations, particularly the US. J. Humphrey, St. Paul, Minn. Oscar winner support

In the Arts page article "Oscar Voters Break With Tradition," April 1, the author implies that "The Silence of the Lambs" is a "particularly violent" and "raunchy" movie.

I wonder whether the author and I saw the same movie. I did not find the film to be violent, on the contrary, it was no more violent than "Bugsy," which was also nominated for best picture. Nor did I find the film to be "raunchy." I think the most remarkable achievement of "Silence" is director Jonathan Demme's tasteful and moral treatment of a disturbing subject.

I am greatly impressed and gratified that the Academy this year broke with their tradition of honoring glossy but empty films like "Bugsy" and "The Prince of Tides," and instead honored the most finely written, directed, and acted film of 1991.

And, unlike the author, I would find it disappointing if the Academy Awards turned into nothing more than a forum for airing "socially constructive" political views. B. Youngling, Dayton, Ohio

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