(This article is published in Salon.)
“When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends,” goes an old Japanese proverb. This gem of wisdom serves as a good rule of thumb in life — not just for individuals, but even more so for states.
The U.S. constantly presents itself as the world’s beacon of freedom and democracy, but its allies are anything but. In fact, America has for many decades aligned itself with some of the most dictatorial and repressive regimes in the world: the Gulf monarchies.
This week, two cases exemplify just how authoritarian U.S.-allied Gulf states are.