A few quick points. Lost amidst much of the news over the tightening noose around the Taliban is what this is all going to mean for our long term relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Much has been made of the Saudis’ balking over allowing us use of one of their key military bases. But the depth of non-cooperation and estrangement between the US and the Saudis, and their recent history of sufferance of, or passive cooperation with, bin Laden has far-reaching consequences. The Saudis are the ones with the big oil supply (with very elastic production). They are the ones who host our primary military presence in the Gulf. They are both bin Laden’s enemies and his accomplices. Once the dust settles here there are going to be some serious ‘whose side are you on’ type questions to be asked.
Second, I noticed today on WSJ/Opinion Journal’s Best of the Web that The Weekly Standard has just debuted a new web site. BoW says the Standard site was “long an online laggard.” But we can leverage the strategic flexibility created by the fact that TPM is headquartered in a small apartment in DuPont Circle and faces precious little pressure from advertisers to be a little more evocative and blunt.
It blew. It was really awful — especially when you consider the cash they pour into the print magazine.
Anyway, I’m happy to report the redesign is quite nice, a real improvement.
It may surprise you that we’re plugging the Standard here at TPM. (A good bit of the content does offend my basic sensibilities. And the frequent, needess-to-mention anti-Clintonism speaks for itself.) But strictly in magazine terms it is perhaps the best political magazine currently being published. And it’s now the undisputed home of the most original and intelligent voices in contemporary conservatism and the ones TPM most admires — two groups which, admittedly, tend rather to overlap.
Speaking of which, here’s an article I just found on the Saudis on the Standard site which touches provocatively on themes noted above. A few of the points seem over-stated — particularly with regard to the puritanical streak in Islam and Wahabi anti-modernism — but I strongly commend it to you.