So concerned is the U.N. about the Libyan situation that it authorized a no-fly zone (and, possibly, further military intervention) to stop Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from crushing the armed rebels. Yet, Bahrain's routing of its peaceful protestors provoked nothing more from the U.N. than a statement of "deepest concern" over "reports of excessive and indiscriminate use of force... against unarmed civilians." Meanwhile, American pundits urging military intervention in Libya have little to say about U.S. ally Bahrain. Does the U.S. have a double standard for democracy?
The U.S. needs to take a stand: "It is heartbreaking to see a renegade country like Libya shoot pro-democracy protesters," says Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. "But it's even more wrenching to watch America's ally, Bahrain, pull a Gadhafi," using U.S. weapons to crush a pro-democracy movement "as we stay mostly silent." In this fight between our values and our ally, we need to stand up tall for our values.
"Bahrain pulls a Qaddafi"
Obama has to tread carefully: The U.S. may very well want change in Bahrain, says David Ignatius in The Washington Post. But that understated desire has already sparked "the most important U.S.-Saudi disagreement in decades." Bahrain chose to follow their fellow Sunni monarchy's advice, bringing in Saudi and UAE troops to crush the rebellion. If the Gulf monarchies fall, that's a big crisis, "even by Middle East standards." Obama has to very carefully find a path that "doesn’t destabilize the Gulf and the global economy."
"High stakes over Bahrain"
Gadhafi's survival prevents U.S. pressure in Bahrain: The Gulf monarchies are "ignoring Washington's advice to reform and avoid confrontation," says Greg Sheridan in The Australian. But since it now looks like Gadhafi may survive, and the "Arab spring" will not, the U.S.-Bahrain tiff will remain merely a "polite disagreement." Because really, "Gadhafi licenses Bahrain," with this "unanswerable question" to Washington: "If you cannot get rid of Gadhafi, why should you get rid of us?"
"Dictator cuts short the Arab spring"
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