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Government so we asked is it morally politically and economically sound to have our fifth -- hosted in Bahrain nick burns is a former undersecretary.
Professor of diplomacy in international politics at Harvard university's Kennedy school professor -- thank you for joining us tonight we appreciate your time.
Thank you very much please be with you -- The government of Bahrain are they violating human rights or they simply maintaining the peace as the -- would have you believe by what he just sat.
Well I think that there's no question that since the outbreak of the Arab revolutions eighteen months ago.
One of the most dramatic places has been Pearl Square.
And Bahrain where the Shia majority.
Elements of an approach in protesting against.
As you know -- been lots of people arrested.
And now these sentences and so one of the difficult issues the United States is how -- we react to this because we've got our fifth fleet stationed in -- -- Bahrain has been a friend of the United States for the last several many decades and business tension between.
Our commitment to human rights our commitment to our democratic principles on the one hand which -- vitally important for us but also our real world concrete interest.
Insuring the flow of oil through the straits of Hormuz which you covered.
And ensuring that we -- stable relations and influence with governments in the region like -- -- -- -- -- Military strike at a video that we're looking at here because he's trying to make the case that it and you said this repeatedly he was very open about it when we were doing interview did not shy -- the question.
And he said when you have people in the streets that are throwing Molotov cocktails.
You are putting in jeopardy the safety of the rest of our citizens that he makes it sound like.
You have a few people who are causing trouble the others I would say these are few people who are standing up for democracy that -- -- have a voice.
And this is a monarchy cracking down on that which do you think is more is closer to the truth.
-- I think the latter might they might my view is since the beginning of the crisis that the vast majority of people protesting have been protesting peacefully.
And certainly in the beginning months way back in the spring of 2011 these were peaceful protests.
Now there's been some violence and any Gartman has an obligation to maintain security.
In their societies but I think it's a stretch to say that the people what they've been arresting him put on trial okay are somehow threats to the physical security of behind.
So given that what does that mean for our position our relationship with them because.
You know I mean does this is -- we hold our heads high and say that we are stationing in this country where they're cracking down -- democracy.
It makes brought -- and one of the most difficult countries for the United States in the in the Middle East and during these revolutions because.
We have an obligation.
To object and to tell about earnings when we disagree about the treatment of their own people inside their country.
The United States has always stood up for the human rights of other people.
And very difficult situations but here's the problem.
We also have an obligation to retain influence with a ruling family.
And to make sure that the United States have enough influence to protect our own interest I Flow of oil through the Persian gulf hand.
Keeping -- -- in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates on our side in the struggle -- Iran and so therefore you see this tension.
Between our ideals and and our self interest it's been part of the problem of American foreign policy report one of the challenges.
For 200 years but particularly important.
I during his Middle East revolution.
You're absolutely right -- and you have to ask yourself sort of who is the greatest enemy in the region.
And who do we need to partner with and to that and I would play for you I I talked to rear admiral Carter in the region.
About the threat from Iran of developing nuclear weapons -- set oil aside and let's talk about nuclear weapons here's what he had to sank.
International securities your life what does it mean if they have a nuclear weapon.
I don't wanna speak on national policy because that's outside my life.
But it would be -- concern.
What do you think about that.
-- I think if Iran develops acquires a nuclear weapons capability is a disaster for the United States and our interest in the region.
The past two American presidents have seen this in exactly the same terms President Bush and now President Obama.
We're trying to do everything we can and we should try to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
And here's where we go back to your story Saudi Arabia Bahrain.
And the UAE United Arab Emirates have all been partners of the United States and trying to isolate and sanction the Iranians so.
Given everything that we have set in this segment so far wrapping it up because -- -- received a lot of emails from viewers saying you're sitting in this country where they're cracking down.
On their people and you're not saying anything about it give it everything that's going on in the world do we need to remain friends with Bahrain or should we stand up and say now.
-- I think we have to remain friends of Bahrain the position -- strategic importance is is is obvious.
And the position of our -- the fifth -- the importance.
Pivotal right now given the Iran crisis but at the same time.
And I'm sure the Obama administration is doing this we've -- -- talk privately and a very tough way to the -- to give them the kind of a constructive advice and feedback.
That they need to have.
They've they've been excessive in cracking down on the human rights of their own people and we have an obligation to say that -- them.
Professor nick burns we really appreciate your insight tonight it was very valuable thank you so much for your time.
Thank you very much.
So the -- --
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