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Middle East: America's lack of leverage in the Arab world

February 21, 2011 | 12:12 pm

Watch the full episode. See more Washington Week.

Op-Ed columnist Doyle McManus  joined the "Washington Week"  round-table discussion Friday to talk about the Obama administration's sway in the Middle East. "American leverage in all of these places is much smaller than we like to think in Washington," said McManus, later elaborating: "Let's take the case of Bahrain, which has been very close to the United States. The one message the Obama administration has tried to carry very clearly is, 'Don't shoot at protesters.' But the Bahrainis actually depend much more on their Saudi sponsors than on their American sponsors, and the Saudis have a different view of things. They are a little less interested in human rights and a little more interested in preserving monarchies."

Such was also the topic of McManus' Sunday column, Rattling the palace windows in the Persian Gulf,  in which he describes the precarious position the U.S. now finds itself in: "promoting democracy and defending monarchies at the same time."

Elsewhere in our pages, Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at Boston University, wrote an Op-Ed about how They're doing it without us:  "So poor Muslims tired of living in squalor, and the not-so-poor fed up with suffering under the boot of corrupt authoritarian regimes (not infrequently allied with the United States), don't need Washington's coaching. They don't need us to 'liberate' them. They are perfectly capable of liberating themselves. And their doing so basically doesn't cost the American taxpayer a nickel."

--Alexandra Le Tellier

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