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The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle Eastby Andrew Scott Cooper
Synopses & Reviews
“Relying on a rich cache of previously classified notes, transcripts, cables, policy briefs, and memoranda, Andrew Cooper explains how oil drove, even corrupted, American foreign policy during a time when Cold War imperatives still applied,”* and tells why in the 1970s the U.S. switched its Middle East allegiance from the Shah of Iran to the Saudi royal family.
Amid the oil shocks of the early 1970s, there was one man the U.S. could rely on: the Shah of Iran. The Shah sold us oil; we sold him weapons. But the U.S. and other industrialized economies could not tolerate repeated annual double digit increases in oil prices.
During the 1976 election campaign, President Gerald Ford decided that he had to find a country that would break the OPEC monopoly and sell the U.S. oil more cheaply. On the advice of Treasury Secretary William Simon—and against the advice of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—Ford made a deal to sell advanced weaponry to the Saudis in exchange for a more moderate price hike in oil. The Shah’s economy was destabilized, and disaffected elements mobilized to overthrow him. The U.S. had embarked on a long relationship with the autocratic Saudi kingdom that continues to this day.
Brilliantly reported and filled with astonishing details about some key figures of the time, The Oil Kings is a new history of an era that we thought we knew, an era when momentous events occurred that still reverberate today.
While America struggles with a recess ion, oil prices soar, revolution rocks the Middle East, European nations risk defaulting on their loans, and the world teeters on the brink of a possible global financial crisis. This is not a description of the present, however, but the 1970s. In andlt;Iandgt;The Oil Kings, andlt;/Iandgt;Andrew Cooper tells the story of how oil came to dominate U.S. domestic and foreign policy. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Drawing on newly declassified documents and interviews with some of the key figures of the time, Cooper follows the political posturing and backroom maneuvering that led the U.S. to switch to OPEC as its main supplier of oil from the Shah of Iran, a loyal ally and leading customer for American weapons. The subsequent loss of U.S. income destabilized the Iranian economy, while the U.S. embarked on a long relationship with the autocratic Saudi kingdom that continues to this day. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Brilliantly reported and filled with astonishing revelationsand#8212;including how close the U.S. came to sending troops into the Persian Gulf to break the Arab oil embargo and how U.S. officials offered to sell nuclear power and nuclear fuel to the Shahand#8212;andlt;Iandgt;The Oil Kings andlt;/Iandgt;is the history of an era that we thought we knew, an era whose momentous reverberations still influence events at home and abroad today.
About the Author
Andrew Scott Cooper is a Ph.D. candidate in American history with advanced degrees in strategic studies from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and in journalism from Columbia University in New York. He has worked for the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and other nonprofit organizations.
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