Recognizing the nerd in all of us, Guernica brings you Conversations with History, a video series of interviews with distinguished intellectuals conducted by creator and executive producer Harry Kreisler and produced by the Institute of International Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.
In this week’s episode, Kreisler welcomes author Andrew Scott Cooper to discuss his new book The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East. Focusing on the geopolitics of the Middle East in the 1970s, the study centers on the complex relationship between Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah of Iran. Relying on recently declassified documents, Cooper describes the international environment of the period and the implications of the Nixon doctrine for the Shah’s foreign policy. Cooper explains how the Shah’s dependence on the rise of oil prices and his need to fund his new military role ultimately led to his downfall and the implosion of Iran. He demonstrates the interplay between the collapse of the relationship between Iran and the U.S. and the emergence of Saudi Arabia as the guarantor of price and supply in the oil market and America’s most important ally in the Persian Gulf.