It isn’t just Matt Yglesias, but he went ahead again and stated that the United States needs to do more about Bahrain:
If the point of intervening in Libya is to establish a precedent that dictators can’t massacre people to remain in power then the Obama administration needs to toughen its line on Bahrain and Yemen in order to make that work. If the point of intervening in Libya is to have a “demonstration effect” that bolsters the forces of liberalization in the Arab world, then the Obama administration needs to toughen its line on Bahrain and Yemen. ...
The fact that we’re [intervening in Libya] only serves to strengthen the case that we need to be taking the modest easy steps available to us to advance the same goals elsewhere in the region.
What “modest easy steps”?? Cutting military assistance? Sanctioning Bahraini banks? Those are neither modest nor easy, and worse yet, I am at a loss as to why they would work. (Further complicating the Western position is the fact that the GCC is backing the U.N. on Libya.) I am also at a loss as to why we should consider Bahrain’s oppression as being something on the same scale as the Stalinesque massacre that was bearing down on the Libyan rebels. The U.S., right now, is very explicit about our anger at the Bahrainis and Saudis.
I would like to have somebody lay out the “modest easy steps” that the U.S. government should be taking with regards to the situation in Bahrain. Seriously, I want somebody to convince me that such options exist! But just calling for some sort of magical pixie dust, or demanding even harsher U.S. rhetoric with no thought as to the consequences, that is just dumb.