For Washington the final slap must be Bandar bin Sultan's comment, "Both Russia and Saudi Arabia agree upon and understand each other in virtually every energy-related issue" (Interfax, July 14). Saudi Arabia and Russia are the world's number one and two oil exporters, controlling nearly a quarter of the world's oil production between them. If the two "understand each other," then the potential anguish over the growing Russian-Saudi rapprochement could extend far beyond the Western military-industrial complex to include motorists and those seeking to heat their homes next winter.
I would be very certain that both BandarAl Sultan and Putin play chess: I would be monumentally surprised if Bush and his administration can even mange checkers.
This agreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia will prove to be one heck of a "win/win" chess move in the years to come for both countries.