- What a phenomenal, wonderful

- What a phenomenal, wonderful change in our relationship with Russia: Putin offers military support for our war; he rides (if uncomfortably) in a pick-up truck with President George; he refuses to lower oil production, which will lead to a price war (predictions of $10 barrels), which in turn could lead singlehandedly to a rejuvenation of the American economy. Why the fast kinship? Samuel Huntington is right: This war is a clash of civilizations. It is about modernity vs. fundamentalism. Russia is no longer a nation built on dogma, on its form of fundamentalism; it is now a nation, like ours, built on the necessary flexibility of politics and economy and media and democracy; it is modern. It is allied with us and our interests; it has more in common with us than with its stone-age neighbors. That is a momentous change in the order of the world. I know all this is quite obvious but I can’t help shaking my head in wonder at it. It wasn’t that long ago when I was growing up slamming my body against the tile walls of the halls in my elementary school, against the fear that the Ruskies would be nuking us. Now, I fear that our children may be holding drills against the dread of bin Laden’s nukes (or chemicals or germs or suicide bombers) — and Russia is our friend, ally, and defender.

- I always look forward to Rossi’s gentle Rants.

- From the Times of London: Osama’s poisonplans. The scene of the crime.

- The Times also has a very clear explanation of the political muddle that has been caused in Germany by our little war. Five possible outcomes of the current vote of confidence, among them: The government could fall or the Greens could wilt.

- Andrew Sullivan has an ambitious roundup of of the naysayers who said we were losing this quagmire war; obviously, he was saving them, savoring them, just waiting for this day when he could nya-nya-nya them all. Well done.

- Tale of the damned lucky aid workers now safe in Pakistan.

- ABC says Taliban guys will sell info on Osama to the U.S. in return for some of our $25 million reward money. As today’s Mirror front page says: “Who Wants To Be An Afghan Millionaire?”

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