After weeks of internal debate on how to respond to uprisings in the Arab world, the Obama administration is settling on a Middle East strategy: help keep longtime allies who are willing to reform in power, even if that means the full democratic demands of their newly emboldened citizens might have to wait.
Starting with Bahrain, the administration has moved a few notches toward emphasizing stability over majority rule,” said a U.S. official. “Everybody realized that Bahrain was just too important to fail.”
Translation: We will continue to back thugs in countries deemed strategically important to us, such as Bahrain, where the US Navy has a major base.
Of course, if we hadn’t supported thugs for decades in MENA, their populaces might not be in revolt today. But that would have required actual strategic thinking and genuine support for democracy.
So, the US will now back repressive regimes as revolution continues? I can’t think of a worse possible position for us to be in. Instead of guaranteeing the flow of oil (an obvious goal here) it will instead make oil supplies more tenuous.