The Gulf: Why Are We in Saudi Arabia?

Is it about oil, or is it about order? Those who say the gulf crisis is about oil note that U.S. military forces would not be massing to protect one distant feudal monarchy and restore another if the barren sands of Arabia had nothing underneath. Those who say it's about something finer -- re-establishing a civilized world order -- argue that we would not be going to all this trouble if the threat to our energy supply came in the traditional way: by a meeting of oil ministers in a Geneva hotel.

Obviously, both sides are right. It's about oil and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!