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Navigating The Road Together

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US Ambassador Steven C. Bondy Reflects on Bahrain-US Ties

In the vast expanse of international relations, some partnerships mirror a cross-country road trip—unpredictable, exhilarating, and occasionally treacherous. Celebrating his nation’s 248th Independence Day, US Ambassador Steven C Bondy draws a compelling analogy: Bahrain, a trusted companion, rides shotgun on the journey together.

“The partnership is strong, it is deep, and it is enduring because our relationship is based on historic warm people-to-people ties,” said Mr Bondy.
He was speaking to Bahrain This Week on the sidelines of the celebrations at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel.

Bahrain: A trusted friend

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The evening embraced the theme of a cross-country road trip, and on display were the stunning American cars on display—spanning decades from the roaring 1920s to the cutting-edge present. But beyond the glimmering chrome and sleek lines lies a profound metaphor, pointed out the ambassador, citing how important a steadfast companion is while on a challenging road trip—a journey fraught with twists, turns, and unforeseen obstacles. He noted that it was precisely what Bahrain meant for the US—a trusted friend navigating the complexities of a shared global environment.

“When you’re on a road trip and you’re navigating challenges, you need to have a good friend next to you,” he explained.
“And that is what the Kingdom of Bahrain is to the United States of America. Things are not easy in the global environment right now. We need the consul, the advice, and the wisdom from the Kingdom of Bahrain, the government, and its people in order to figure out what the best course of action is. That’s what we’re celebrating tonight.”

In this context, the diplomat reflected on memories of his own travels across his country—the coastlines, farms, towns, cities, mountains, lakes, rivers, and deserts—all woven into the fabric of a nation. These landscapes, Mr Bondy said, were more than scenery; they were America’s most precious resource—the backdrop against which the shared journey unfolds. He pointed out that the road trip—a cultural touchstone—inspired novels like Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” and films like “Easy Rider” and “Thelma & Louise.”

“In all of these, no one travelled alone,” he said.
“They feature friends navigating their ventures together. As the United States travels some difficult paths, we could have no better friend than the Kingdom of Bahrain. So tonight I wish that both our countries move forward together in peace, prosperity, stability, security, and unity.”

A legacy spanning 130 years

The night, which gathered ministers, government officials, diplomats, business fraternities, and other invited guests, raised a toast to an enduring partnership—a legacy that spans 130 years and continues to strengthen year by year, as described by Mr Bondy.

“130 years ago, Americans came to Bahrain to extend the hand of friendship and support; they established a school, a hospital, and a church, all of which continue to operate today,” he said.
“That dedication to education, healthcare, and coexistence has been strengthened through robust two-way exchanges of students, artists, journalists, youth leaders, entrepreneurs, and professionals.”

CSIPA: A launchpad for innovative initiatives

Reflecting on the past 12 months, Mr Bondy highlighted the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, and the Prime Minister’s Washington visit in September, where the Comprehensive Security Integration Prosperity Agreement was signed with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. Mr Bondy stressed that CSPIA is a launchpad for innovative initiatives that anticipate surprises and breakthroughs.

“This is a new binding agreement between our two governments to work very closely together on security and defence, trade and investment, and science and emerging technology. CSIPA establishes a new platform, and we’re going to look for new initiatives in those key areas to be working together. Twelve months from now, we’re going to be working again in areas that we couldn’t even anticipate—because that’s the nature of our relationship.”

Enhancing relations

Earlier this year, the US Embassy was recognised in Bahrain as the foreign mission that was doing the most for youth in the country. This honour under HH Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa’s initiative was the result of efforts done through education, training, internships, and exchange programmes.

“I don’t know how exactly he figured out the criteria, but truly, the US is head and shoulders above the others now. We didn’t know about this. We don’t treat it as a competition. What we do is we want to enhance relations with the people of Bahrain.”

A Call for Peace and Prosperity

In his address, the diplomat touched upon the harsh realities of the region. He referred to the tumultuous past six months, with Hamas launching terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and a cycle of violence that exacts a heavy toll on innocent lives, both Palestinian and Israeli. However, he reminded that it was important to remain resolute amidst the chaos and the dangerous escalation, assuring a brighter future.

“I can assure you, smart, dedicated, creative officials from many countries are working diligently to develop responses that address today’s emergencies and tomorrow’s challenges,” he said.

“The US is focused on implementing an immediate ceasefire, getting the hostages released, and injecting massive amounts of humanitarian assistance into Gaza. In the longer term, we want to set the conditions for Palestinians and Israelis to live side-by-side with security, peace, and prosperity through the establishment of an independent Palestine.”

Strengthening Bonds

In the dynamic global landscape, adherence to established norms is paramount, underscored Mr Bondy, citing the challenges stemming from actions by both state and non-state actors in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

“In the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, Bahrain and the US are working side by side with nations from around the world to oppose the Houthies’ reckless attacks on commercial shipping and innocent sailors,” he said.
“Our two countries standing together in multilateral coalitions aim to protect the safe transit of maritime trade, reinforce freedom of navigation, and ensure ships carrying essential products can go about their business. We believe in a principled path as the only reasonable response to those who sow instability in the region and in the world. The US works with Bahrain in friendship and respect to reinforce the international rules-based order that supports peace and prosperity, our common values and interests, and essential humanity.”

The evening featured a cake-cutting ceremony, and guests were treated to authentic American cuisine from the cities of Austin, Charleston, Memphis, New Orleans, Portland, San Diego, and New York.

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