Doin' What Comes Naturally
From a Washington Post article on tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia: gates on Iran:
U.S. officials have been generally skeptical about claims that Iran was behind the Bahrain uprising, although Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, during a visit to the gulf this month, said he had seen “evidence that the Iranians are trying to exploit the situation in Bahrain.” He did not elaborate.
Well, duh! Of course Iran will seek to exploit the situation to its advantage. Exploiting to one’s advantage is the name of the game among nation states (corporations, too). The game is easily taken to extremes that injure others but in the normal course of events, it’s only natural to look out for Number 1, to seek the best outcome for one’s nation. That is the leaders’ job.
Yes, Iran will seek to exploit the situation in Bahrain. Bahrain is Iran’s immediate neighbor in a region where Iran claims historical ambitions and religious ties. Perhaps the reason Gates did not elaborate on Iran’s actions is that they are about what could be expected.
Related question: Does basing large military force in a region constitute exploitation?