The Protection of American Oil Interests in the Middle East Following the Six Day War
MetadataShow full item record
In June of 1967, the Six Day War erupted between Israel and the Arab alliance of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Following this short war, in which Israel demolished the Arab military forces and captured Arab territory, leaders of the radical Arab nations falsely accused the United States of using its air forces to assist Israel in the initial strike. As punishment for this alleged aggression, the Arab oil-producing nations together installed an oil embargo against the United States. To avoid a domestic oil supply shortage, the Lyndon Johnson administration enacted a series of measures to secure oil from other sources, including ramping up domestic production and increasing imports from other foreign sources that did not participate in the embargo. After about a month, the embargo ended because it failed to cause any supply shortage in the West. Following this Middle East crisis, President Johnson had to devise a strategy for protecting American foreign oil interests in the future while simultaneously pursuing his other foreign policy goals in the Middle East. His administration chose to emphasize the oil interests in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Kuwait, and to sacrifice the American concessions in the radical oil-producing nations of Iraq and Algeria. This plan allowed President Johnson to simultaneously pursue his other Middle Eastern goals of achieving long-term peace in the Middle East and advancing the security of Israel. Johnson’s strategy ultimately helped establish the American pillars approach to the Middle East, positioned the U.S. firmly behind Israel, but also left the U.S. vulnerable to future oil security crises.