– 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?”

Bush to City: Drop Dead (apologies to the Daily News headline writer of yore and lore): New York won’t get more aid now.