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Oil MoneyMiddle East Petrodollars and the Transformation of US Empire, 1967-1988$
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David M. Wight

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781501715723

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501715723.001.0001

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Revolution and Invasions

Revolution and Invasions

(p.195) Chapter 8 Revolution and Invasions
Oil Money

David M. Wight

Cornell University Press

This chapter studies how Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini regularly returned to Iranian grievances about the US petrodollar economy, US-led globalization, and US imperialism to inspire his political base. The Iranian Revolution and subsequent Iranian tensions with the United States also spurred a second oil shock from 1979 to 1981, eventually tripling the cost of oil. Yet while the Iranian Revolution constituted the greatest challenge to the US petrodollar order in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to date, Khomeinism inadvertently reinforced and expanded petrodollar interdependence between the United States and the remaining Gulf monarchies. Despite concerns about the viability of its regime, the Carter administration determined the loss of an allied Saudi Arabia had to be prevented at all costs, or else the vital interests of the United States would be imperiled. To preserve this and other Arab alliances, the United States doubled down on petrodollar interdependence, particularly in the realm of arms, as the Carter administration abandoned the goal of arms transfer restraint and instead embarked on a surge of weapons sales to the MENA to improve the security of allied governments and reassure client regimes of the United States' commitment to them.

Keywords:   Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, US petrodollar economy, Iranian Revolution, United States, MENA, Khomeinism, petrodollar interdependence, Carter administration, arms transfer, weapons sales

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