The Saudis evidently think it's time for us to find someplace else to keep our warplanes, the ones that protect them from being forced to put up billboards of Saddam Hussein.

Fine. Let's leave. If Saddam wants the place, let him have it. We can do that, not because we've figured out how to do without oil, not because we're going to drill in ANWR, not because we're dumping our low-mileage SUV's for high-mileage Yugos, but because we got the Taliban out of Afghanistan and so have some new best friends who are loaded with oil — the Russians.

I can just tell this is going to make a lot of people nervous. It certainly was not that long ago that Russia was the Soviet Union — the evil empire, home of the we-will-bury-you communists.

But hey, that was then. This is now. Things change. We get new friends when old ones dump us. It happens in everyday life. It happens in a nation's life.

We can buy oil from the Russians because they have tons of it, as do the various -stans that used to be part of the Soviet empire.

American oil companies have been in partnerships with the Russians and others to develop these oil fields to market in the U.S. and elsewhere. The Russians like the money. A good economy helps a democracy, even in a former communist superpower. Obviously, we like the oil. We might also like telling Mr. Sheik Saudi: Adios, pal. Try selling that stuff to some other leader of the world economy and see what you get.

We're already doing a lot of business with the world's other former communist giant, China. (Did I say former? Well, it's a capitalist-communist thing nowadays.) So why not Russia? We can both save money on nukes if we have interlocking financial ties. Nobody wants to nuke their oil supplier any more than anybody wants to nuke their oil buyer.

Perestroika. Détente. We've been dancing with these guys since Lenin. Maybe we're tired of all the hostility and can do some business. Maybe the charge of pinko will be less politically explosive if the pink is tinged with green. Things seem to be headed that way. It may be good. It may be bad. We'll have to see.

But one benefit seems immediate: We won't have to suffer through any more eviction notices from any Saudi princes. That's an improvement right there.

That's My Word.

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