Monday, April 07, 2003

Head to the Newsstand: Pick up this month's Atlantic Monthly and read the cover story, "The Fall of the House of Saud." Saudi Arabia's ruling family can't move far enough westward to please the U.S. without angering its powerful Wahabbist faction. If they go too far in appeasing militant Islam, they risk alienating us, their biggest oil customer. On top of that, their oil system is vulnerable to terror attack, a nightmare scenario that could push oil into triple digit pricing, essentially killing any industry that relies directly on cheap fuel, and crippling any industry with an indirect reliance. The House of Saud, the article concludes, is in serious trouble, not least because of the opulent lifestyle of the royalty -- which is truly unbelievable -- in a country that has grown significantly poorer in the last decade. Though not the point of the article, the message is clear: anything we can do to get our economy out of the hands of the Saudis is good policy. This means alternative energy and conservation. But that's a long term solution. ANWR can help now. We should do it, and soon. I'm convinced it's a national security issue.

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