"Show this administration an oil well, and it will show you a foreign policy."These words were spoken in 1924 by U.S. Senator Pat Harrison (D-Miss.). Speaking at the Democratic National Convention that year, Sen. Harrison was voicing frustration at the Coolidge administration's failure to forcefully take Turkey to task for then-recent massacres and other forms of oppression against Armenians and other Christian minorities.
Harrison is quoted in Peter Balakian's book, The Burning Tigris. I was reminded of this quote after reading Eugene's post yesterday.
You'd be forgiven if you'd assumed this statement were made about a more recent White House administration.
Long before either Bush came to office, the politics of oil were strongly influencing U.S. foreign policy. (Some influence, of course, would be understandable.) But access to free-flowing oil, combined with the Cold War, encouraged the U.S. (with British support) to engineer the coup that toppled a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953.