When we vetoed the resolution on Israeli settlements in the UN Security Council, something that had been pretty clear before became crystal clear, at least to the rest of the world. No more fig leaf, no more excuses, we now stand naked before the eyes of the rest of humanity. It is now commonly understood that at all times, under all imaginable circumstances, when little Israel cracks the whip, the American colossus obeys.
Most Americans probably won’t be aware of the extent to which our nation has humiliated itself in the eyes of the rest of humanity, for our press will play the event down. Outside our borders the reaction will be more severe. There will be a slow burn as former friends and allies come to recall this signal event as a tipping point, a sign that the US can be taken as a reliable partner only in Tel Aviv. As for NATO, a process of erosion already begun will accelerate with ramifications in many fields, starting with Afghanistan. Pivotal nations like Turkey will be more inclined to pursue independent policies, ignoring our interests. Our adversaries, of course, will have a field day exploiting the propaganda coup we just handed them.
It can be argued that the intrinsic importance isn’t all that great, and the whole issue is more a matter of symbolism than substance. But symbols can be important too. I predict that future historians will mark this event as the moment when the sun began to set over the American Empire that emerged after World War II. I foresee that eventually even the most fogbound and patriocentric of our descendants will feel a tinge of remorse at this most dishonorable way we chose to leave center stage.