As they say, you learn something new every day. That Henry the K sure was a busy boy back in the day.
Sound a bit Kissingerian? Well, the whole thing was Henry’s baby: he called the scheme “recycling petrodollars.” (“Petrodollars” as opposed to, say, “dollars” because they don’t circulate in the U.S.; economists thought it’d be useful to make the distinction.) Conveniently, the Saudis also used their petrodollar surpluses to buy munitions from American arms manufacturers, who, with Vietnam winding down, were grateful for the business. All around, a shining example of U.S. foreign policy: we enrich ourselves and impoverish the developing world while selling weapons to jerks.