David Ignatius has put up a bold case to argue that 'interests of USA should be not synchronized' with retention of Islamic Monarchy in Saudi Arabia.
David Ignatius is right in pointing that Saudi Arabia has used its Petro-Dollars to prop up regimes which it feels more comfortable to its 'custodian of Islam role'. To complain about that while not realizing what United States of America has done ever since WWII dominance is 'going half way only'. David Ignatius cannot forget that USA precisely bought such influence with Egypt for decades (what NYT called $60 Billion of reliable money over decades) - all to the end of protecting its ally Israel. (Would Ross Douthat dare to call Israel as the 'client state of USA' and dare to say that let USA go free that client state away?)
I should know more about how Saudi underwritten 'influence' can be a menace. Any reasonably knowledgeable Indian can tell how Saudi financed Madrasas have made life of Secular India hard as well as provoked Islamic elements in Pakistan to wage a religion based explicit or terrorism filled implicit war against India. That is all well understood.
But still Saudi Arabia is playing by same rules by which international foreign policy influences are bought and purchased. It is no different than how USA has been buying favors all over the world for decades (and Soviets did until their demise followed by Russia) and how China is buying favors in Africa. To complain about Saudi Arabia is an analysis only half done.
If David Ignatius wanted to sustain his criticism of Saudi Arabia, he will have to question why did USA pay all these monies to Egypt over years.
Reality is, since American Political System does not have any gumption to question supreme subservience towards Israel, Americans better be wise in not questioning Saudi's when they are doing precisely a right thing in undermining non-secular forces of Middle East. Why Saudi's themselves are non-secular and un-democratic - that is an altogether different question for a different time and place which David Ignatius has not set himself to answer.