Bahrain’s crown prince: Not a fan of democracy

With the growing chaos on the streets of Manama, the powers that be at WikiLeaks realized that it would be a good time to release a slew of U.S. diplomatic cables related to Bahrain. The cables contain some interesting revelations about the country’s ruling Khalifa family. Crown Prince Salman, for example, isn’t a huge fan ...

KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

With the growing chaos on the streets of Manama, the powers that be at WikiLeaks realized that it would be a good time to release a slew of U.S. diplomatic cables related to Bahrain. The cables contain some interesting revelations about the country's ruling Khalifa family.

Crown Prince Salman, for example, isn't a huge fan of democracy in Iraq. In a November 2007 meeting with then U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker there, the crown prince, who is the king's eldest son and his heir apparent, remarked that the U.S. strategy of securing its interests through democracy would continue to founder in the absence of a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If that proved impossible, he urged the United States to "drop democracy promotion as the main element of its strategy in Iraq and the region."

Rather than promoting democracy, the crown prince said the United States could "rely instead on traditional power politics -- i.e., identify strong groups that would support U.S. policies, and stand by them."

With the growing chaos on the streets of Manama, the powers that be at WikiLeaks realized that it would be a good time to release a slew of U.S. diplomatic cables related to Bahrain. The cables contain some interesting revelations about the country’s ruling Khalifa family.

Crown Prince Salman, for example, isn’t a huge fan of democracy in Iraq. In a November 2007 meeting with then U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker there, the crown prince, who is the king’s eldest son and his heir apparent, remarked that the U.S. strategy of securing its interests through democracy would continue to founder in the absence of a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If that proved impossible, he urged the United States to "drop democracy promotion as the main element of its strategy in Iraq and the region."

Rather than promoting democracy, the crown prince said the United States could "rely instead on traditional power politics — i.e., identify strong groups that would support U.S. policies, and stand by them."

"You did it in the Cold War," he said, according to the cable, "and you can do it now."

With the Bahrain regime seemingly intent on crushing the incipient demonstrations, that’s not exactly the message protesters are hoping to hear from their leaders.

More from Foreign Policy

A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed  according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.
A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.

Why Do People Hate Realism So Much?

The school of thought doesn’t explain everything—but its proponents foresaw the potential for conflict over Ukraine long before it erupted.

Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.
Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.

China’s Crisis of Confidence

What if, instead of being a competitor, China can no longer afford to compete at all?

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.

Why This Global Economic Crisis Is Different

This is the first time since World War II that there may be no cooperative way out.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.

China Is Hardening Itself for Economic War

Beijing is trying to close economic vulnerabilities out of fear of U.S. containment.