American diplomacy in the Middle East is starting to resemble a giant game of whack-a-mole. On top of everything else, the government of Bahrain has now expelled an American diplomat.
Bahrain told Tom Malinowski, U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, that he was no longer welcome at their game on Monday. Marlinowski had the gall to set up a meeting with leaders of a Shiite political party. Bahrain is one of the Middle East's rare, majority-Shia nations, so a friendly chat with the leaders of a legal party that has been in dialogue with the government since 2011 seemed natural. The ruling family, however, is Sunni, and they did not take kindly to Malinowski's efforts to be inclusive of the majority of the population.
The government of Bahrain says there are no hard feelings about Marlinowski though. Apparently it says nothing about how they feel about us.