He kisses for thee

You might look at this picture and say, "Wow, U.S. President George W. Bush sure is tight with the dictatorial King of Saudi Arabia. They behead people and fund the spread of Wahhabist ideology. What a corrupt relationship."

But the reality is, if you're a gasoline-consuming American, you're deeply complicit in this marriage, too. So laugh all you want at Bush, but he kisses Saudi cheek for thee—just as U.S. presidents have done for decades. There's nothing particularly unique about Bush's relationship with the Saudis.


UPDATE: Justin Logan and Matt Yglesias dissent vigorously.


What We're Reading

Preeti Aroon

  • "And Then There Was One," by Monte Reel in the Washington Post Magazine. What if you were the last person in your tribe? In a gripping tale about property rights, economic development, and indigenous peoples, this article describes how a lone indigenous man, living as the last of his tribe in the Brazilian rain forest, was granted his own protected patch of land that is the size of Hong Kong.

Christine Chen

  • Atonement, by Ian McEwan. Read the book and saw the movie. Beautiful storytelling. WWII scenes showing the Allied evacuation of Dunkirk are especially evocative. Thumbs up for both.

Travis Daub

Blake Hounshell

  • "Gold is a bright prospect for the bold," in Monday's Financial Times. Columnist John Dizard paints a scenario wherein the price of gold is peaks, Spain drops out of the eurozone, and gold rebounds.

Joshua Keating

  • "What People Will Die For," by Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek International. Zakaria argues that the prevailing trends of globalization and democratization are weakening the nation state and empowering ethnic nationalists throughout the world. He applies this trend to Pakistan, Kenya, India, and Kosovo as well as my favorite geopolitical obsession: Belgium.

Carolyn O'Hara

  • The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur, by Daoud Hari. Hari's simple prose can't mask the devastation he suffers as his village is destroyed, his family killed, and his efforts to get the word about the genocide go unheard.