The Saudis: Do We Really Need Them?


They spent five hours together, and President Bush gave Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah a pickup-truck tour of his Texas ranch. At the end of the visit, Bush avowed that the two leaders had forged a "strong, personal bond." But the Crown Prince and the President were unable to agree to a joint statement at Crawford, Texas, last week, which gave the long and complex U.S.-Saudi relationship another twist.

The two nations share little in terms of core values such as democracy, equal rights and religious freedom. But conventional wisdom holds that Washington needs Riyadh on its side for two reasons: an...

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