The Spectacle Blog

Nicholas Kristof’s Curious Questions to Bahrain’s King

By on 2.23.11 | 2:28PM

Yesterday, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times wrote a dispatch from Bahrain in which he posed these two questions to King Hamad:

Why is it any more appropriate for a minority Sunni population to rule over majority Shia than it was in South Africa for a minority white population to rule over a majority black population? What exactly is the difference?

Now I don't know what kind of fellow King Hamad is. But if I were wearing his robes I might reply to Kristof with a couple of questions of my own, "Why is it any more appropriate for a minority Sunni population to rule over majority Shia in Saddam Hussein's Iraq than it is in Bahrain? What exactly is the difference?"

Somehow I don't seem to recall Kristof ever likening minority Sunni rule in Saddam's Iraq to Apartheid-era South Africa. Frankly, the only difference I see between Bahrain and Iraq under Saddam Hussein was that the Bush Administration wasn't trying to oust the Khalifas. Yet I suspect if the Bush Administration had backed regime change in Bahrain, Kristof's support for Shiite majority rule would go out the window. Indeed, after U.S. and Coalition forces drove Saddam from power, Kristof was not so fond of Shiite majority rule in Iraq. In June 2003, Kristof warned, "An iron curtain of fundamentalism risks falling over Iraq."

Is Kristof unconcerned about an iron curtain of fundamentalism falling over Bahrain?

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