The danger of picking sides in the Qatar crisis

As long as the United States wants to provide security for the Arab Gulf nations and fight terrorism, it cannot afford to pick sides in a destabilizing fraternal squabble. That would undermine the very purpose of U.S. involvement in the first place, and risk incurring disaster. Instead, Washington would do well to encourage its allies to resolve their differences while pushing all of them to do better on counterterrorism and curtailing government-sponsored hate speech. This approach has worked in the past: Although Saudi Arabia’s behavior is still troubling, it is light years better than it was in the pre-9/11 era. The same goes for Qatar. None of this means the United States should excuse their bad behavior. But America must also recognize the Gulf states are effective counterterrorism partners in a range of ways.

In the end, the Middle East is the wrong place to look if you’re seeking moral purity.