April 9, 2011

THE WAR ON CONSENSUAL GOVERNMENT:

Bahrain is the line in the sand (Juliette Kayyem, April 9, 2011, Boston Globe)

THE COLD War had a line in the sand. America and the Soviet Union could wage proxy battles in Vietnam, Latin America, and Europe. But when the Soviets made a move that was too aggressive, the United States threatened real war in order to preserve the previous ground rules. That moment was the Cuban missile crisis.

People throughout this Sunni Arab kingdom talk now of their own Cuban missile crisis. Amid the unrest and calls for democracy, their focus is on a regional cold war between Sunni-led nations and the “Shia crescent,’’ the term King Abdullah of Jordan used to describe Iran’s growth as a regional superpower. The test case of this cold war is not in oil-rich Libya, or terrorist-ridden Yemen, or Israel-bordering Syria. The line in the sand has been drawn in Bahrain.


Because of classic military considerations, America was willing to tolerate three particular regimes during the Cold War that denied equal rights but controlled strategic geographic positions: South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Israel. Whether our decision was the right one or not, it is at least understandable why it was made: the quality of the enemy we faced, the Communist bloc, was such that some lesser evils could be accepted in order to defeat the greater.

The problem for the Sunni regimes is that they are, in essence, the USSR of this analogy, which is why all our actions since 9-11 have been mainly beneficial to the Shi'a, who are our implicit, though not often explicit, ideological allies.


Posted by at April 9, 2011 6:23 AM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« NO ESTABLISHMENT CASE HAS EVER BEEN BROUGHT BEFORE THE COURT: | Main | JUST TRY TO IMAGINE...: »