We are witnessing an intense scramble for control of the Middle East among mostly autocratic, disparate regimes, creating new alignments where the fabulous wealth of small states is conjugated with countries boasting larger armies, with proxies and mercenaries as expendable cannon fodder in tow.
Every generation of American diplomats has a figure who becomes the face of the era in foreign policy, a Dean Acheson, Henry Kissinger, or Richard Holbrooke. The years of pain and sorrow otherwise known as the Forever Wars may have found their own symbol in Brett McGurk.
Since the killing of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, Israel’s politics have taken a distinctly right-wing turn, centered around Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The parallels between that journey and that of the Republican Party, as it grapples with the legacy of Donald Trump, are stark.
Consider first the systematic, crippling insecurity that too many Americans suffer for lack of basic resources. The pandemic has accentuated this insecurity.
Can anyone now deny that the core of MAGA is a molten cauldron of cultural and psychological pathologies characteristic of middle-class dilettantes and people with at least enough money to have way too much time on their hands?
The height of Iran’s influence — at least as presently expressed through the IRGC — has probably passed. Whether we’ve entered a period of stasis or decline is as yet unclear, but the latter seems more probable.
That America’s first authoritarian commander-in-chief appears to be going out as “Richard III” directed by Corky St. Clair is a relief, but it’s also a testament to just how nourished Trump has been by the mere spectacle of success more than the thing itself.