Part X: Trouble, trouble oil and bubble, reactor meltdown and price hikes double.
Early in October of 1973 Henry Kissinger, the US foreign secretary under President Richard Nixon, was engaged in a now famous piece of telephone diplomacy with Golda Meir, the Prime Minister of Israel.
It had been a tense few weeks. After the Soviet Union began sending arms to Syria and Egypt, which were amassing troops along Israel’s border, America started contemplating operation Nickel Grass. This was to send supplies to Israel.
But with OPEC, the world’s most famous cartel, threatening embargoes all around, support for Israel would inevitably mean an oil embargo for the US.
European nations, for their part, were also on notice from the Arab states. Any helpful gestures toward Israel would result in instant oil embargoes for them, too.
This tense situation became known as the ’73 oil crisis. It had arisen in large part to an extended period of rock bottom prices for Middle Eastern oil, driving the United States’ own production into steady decline.
Even with US tariffs in place for protection, producers in Oklahoma and Texas couldn’t compete; Between 1970
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