The Final Scene, by Michael Brenner

America – its vassal train in tow – in committing moral suicide in Palestine. The political consequences will be profound, and as enduring as the complete discrediting of the country’s standing as a positive presence in world affairs. Encouragement of, and participation in the murderous Israel assault on Gazans has been accompanied by a torrent of lies and deceptions which discredit anything we shall do or say. The reference points for this harsh judgment are not the mythic image of “the city on the Hill;” the last, best hope of mankind; the indispensable nation for achieving global peace and stability: the Providential people born in a state of Original Virtue destined to lead the world down the path of Enlightenment. None of those idealistic standards. No, we are debased when measured against the prosaic standards of human decency, of responsible statecraft, of a decent respect for the opinions of humankind.

Some might say, rightly, that America has behaved in similarly atrocious ways in the past – and that it always restored its sense of self-respect and effectiveness abroad. Decimation of the native population; the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the wanton killing and destruction in Vietnam, and – more recently – the horrendous consequences of our interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. The last two mentioned being highlighted by the razing of Falluja (twice), Mosul and Raqqa that can be seen as the template for what we and the Israelis are now doing in Gaza. The practical difference – as opposed to the moral one – is the unique attention focused on events there. After all, this is the Holy Land for the three Abrahamic religions, the main protagonist is the Jewish state of Israel founded in the wake of the Holocaust, the conflict’s powerful resonance with large communities of co-religionists in Western capitals. It is a Passion Play with rival scripts. Ours will not become

Moreover, it is occurring at a time when the tectonic plates of the political world are shifting, when the old constellations of power and of influence are being successfully challenged, when America has responded to feelings of self-doubt as the ordained global guide and overseer by compulsive, futile displays of muscle flexing. Anxiety and self-doubt masked by false bravado is the hallmark sentiment among the country’s political elites. That is a poor starting point for a reengagement with reality. Americans are too attached to their exalted self-image, too narcissistic – collectively and individually, too lacking in self-awareness, too leaderless to make that wrenching adaptation.

Instead, we are about to see an epic act to prove that reality is only what the United States wills it to be: the girding of loins for war on Iran. It will end badly – very badly. Leaving a diminished, aggrieved but unrepentant America.

The little bells are tinkling. Bow down
They are bringing the sacrament to a dying God

Michael Brenner