Bahrain, a constitutional monarchy located next to Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, is known for Formula One racing; worldclass horsemen and horses; and, it's burgeoning financial center which serves the entire world from the Middle East. The country is culturally diverse, with a majority Shiite population and a Sunni ruling family and political elite. It all seems to work, and today's announcement that the King of Bahrain has named a local Jewish woman the country's new ambassador to the United States indirectly explains why it works. An honored position of extreme diplomatic significance, and an unexpected and welcome appointment. What could be better? It's hard not to view the appointment of Houda Nonoo as anything but a breakthrough. Read the whole story here.
It should be noted that this is the same king that immediately gave women the right to vote and released all political prisoners as soon as he was coronated. Sounds like an agent of change.
The Author is prone to optimism, despite countless angry rants against the system and our recent decline. This is encouraging for Middle Eastern politics, for women's rights and for a sensible approach to integrating minorities into the fabric of every aspect of life, politics and diplomacy. Now let's all hope she sets a better example than Condi Rice, whom history will record as a stunning failure and utter disappointment.