So what, SJ, does that have to do with Formula 1, you’re asking.
Obama also talked about Bahrain. And I think his comments make a 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix — which is back on the calendar after being postponed this season — more likely to happen.
Here’s what Obama said about the country:
[box type=”shadow”]In Bahrain, steps have been taken toward reform and accountability. We’re pleased with that, but more is required. America is a close friend of Bahrain, and we will continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc — the Wifaq — to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people. We believe the patriotism that binds Bahrainis together must be more powerful than the sectarian forces that would tear them apart. It will be hard, but it is possible.[/box]
Two key pieces: That “more is required” and that “America is a close friend of Bahrain.” Obama’s signalling that he and his Administration will keep pushing for more reforms, more democracy, more freedom for the Bahrain people, but in announcing the two countries’ friendship (remember, the U.S. has military bases there) he is keeping Bahrain within the broader “these countries are OK” fold. (Iran and North Korea would top the list of those countries outside that fold.)
And, as long as Bahrain has the support of countries such as the U.S., it will be able to stage spectacles like a Formula 1 race.
So, as of now, you can book your ticket.