ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dateline Bahrain: US Foreign Policy & the Turmoil in the Middle East

Updated on February 20, 2011

Even the best Hollywood screenwriters could not have concocted a more improbable, mind-boggling story. Nor could the best minds at the US State Department have imagined a more sinister but resplendent regime change plot.

Who would have thought that the self-injurious action of a lone fruit vendor protesting the unjustified confiscation of his wares and the unnecessary harassment and humiliation that he allegedly suffered in the hands of corrupt Tunisian municipal officials by setting himself on fire would become the fodder for a people’s revolution that would span an entire region and leave several toppled regimes in its wake?

That Muhammed Bouazizi’s self-immolating act and the change it wrought are unprecedented is without question. I would even personally wager that Bouazizi is undoubtedly deserving of consideration not just for Time magazine’s 2011 Man of the Year but perhaps other more spectacular accolades---the Nobel Prize or a United Nations ‘Champion of Change Award.’

As was initially the case with Tunisia, then Egypt, Algeria and now Libya, Jordan, Iran, Yemen, Iraq and Bahrain, the anti-government protests have effectively enveloped much of North Africa and the Middle East.

However, Bahrain seems particularly noteworthy for its critical military importance for US Foreign Policy interests in the region: our unending, unnerving penchant for hypocrisy and duplicity.

Spurred by the events elsewhere in the region, although protesters first took to the streets of the capital city, Manama, about a week ago calling for governmental reform and the institution of a constitutional monarchy in Bahrain, the grievances of the protesters have since grown to include the ouster of the royal family and other long-standing demands like an end to discrimination, unemployment and corruption.

But unlike Tunisia and Egypt, the reaction to the demonstrations by constituted authority in Manama has been unrelentingly swift and brutal.

All through the week, the security forces, police and military, responded to defenseless protesters at the Pearl Roundabout in the heart of Manama with teargas canisters and volleys of gunfire leaving nearly a dozen dead and scores more wounded.

And the crackdown is not abating. Even crowds of protesters gathered at funerals planned in honor of the dead have not been spared. Demonstrating Bahrainis are continuing to be pestered with pellets, rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition!

Interestingly, the reaction from the US government has, for the most part, been unabashedly tepid and coolish. Official Washington’s condemnation of the violence has been lacking in fervour, forthrightness and conviction.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton merely reportedly expressed "deep concerns" about the crackdown; declaring that future protests should "not be marred by violence."

But how can one truly reconcile this rather lukewarm chiding and the US’ apparent overall chumminess with the authorities in Manama with our traditional claims of righteousness and devotion to freedom and democracy? Where in our idea of liberty and justice can one find justification for the wanton, unprovoked attack on sleeping protesters in make shift tents whose only crime was having the chutzpah to publicly express dissent against their government?

The only logical explanation is that, as has always been the case, our commitment to these so-called sacrosanct principles have been critically conditioned by interests that are infinitely self-serving and myopic.

Bahrain is easily the US’s staunchest ally in the Middle East. It is also widely known to be our priciest asset in the region; one that we can ill-afford to let slip through our fingers, regime change or not!

Beyond it’s strategic location, nestled between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which places it directly close to nearly half of the global oil traffic in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet---which in the immediate, serves as a lynchpin to US operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan; but prognostically, could function as a bulwark against a future nuclear Iran.

Truth is, the US would rather let hundreds, even thousands, of Bahrainis perish fighting for freedom than countenance the likely compromise of its strategic military interests that the possible overthrow of the regime of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa would naturally portend. That is sadly the cold dividing line between our unremitting lip-service to liberty/justice and the realpolitik!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "while 1 in 8 Americans are on food stamps."

      We'd like to see a source for that...

    • MikeNV profile image

      MikeNV 

      7 years ago from Henderson, NV

      US Foriegn policy... that which is reported on the nightly news has little to do with what is really going on. We only get the watered down fluff.

      Who knows what the United States is really doing? This is why Congress is looking to approve another $158 Billion for IRAQ and Afghanistan and just approved $7.5 Billion in Aide to Pakistan while 1 in 8 Americans are on food stamps.

      The will of the American people means nothing to Washington DC.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)