One interpretation of what we are witnessing in the Middle East is provided by a wider historical context which suggests we could very well be witnessing the death throes of a failed state - in this case the policies and pursuits of the United States government and this administration.
After 60 years of manipulation and hegemony by the U.S.(not to mention the far broader Imperialism that has reigned for centuries), the world is not responding the way it's supposed to. Of course Israel is not "the world," it's a client state of the U.S., and pursues expansionist policies with our "blessing." (Read Noam Chomsky or Robert Parry.)
As many in the blogosphere are pointing out, this outbreak of violence has all the trappings of an administration hell-bent on dominating the Middle East, and at the same time making the case to American voters that only Republicans can save us from this dangerous world.
But let's not take the bait. This dangerous world is, to a huge degree, the result of irresponsible policies this administration has undertaken, particularly after 9/11. Remember how the world stood behind us at that moment? Even in Iran public support for the U.S. was at an all-time high. Since then we've attacked and occupied Afganistan and Iraq, and wagged our finger at Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Somalia, and likely several other nations.
Where do we get the right? Where in our constitution is the demand for expansionism and financial giveaways to corporate elitists who dominate world trade? Where does it say fascist policies and militarism should outweigh human life?
Of course it doesn't. It talks about creating "a more perfect union." Are we seeing that at home? Jobs? Healthcare? Community health? Energy policy? How about in Iraq? Palistine? Africa? East Timor? Clearly no. We're seeing the disintegration of social structures all over the planet, so that American hegemony can continue. And we're seeing militarism throughout the world, primarily to defend against American aggression. All of which serves the military industry quite well.
And yet these policies are classic examples of a failed state. A dinosaur, if you will. The utter lack of ethics or a moral compass. The continued efforts to dismiss the citizenry and embrace corporate interests. The demented decisions to exacerbate violence and war across the globe.
And what happens to the people of a failed state? Loss of rights, loss of quality of life, loss of liberties, loss of democracy - all the stuff happening to us this very moment. Yet somehow the lack of justice, real democracy and sustainability bothers these politicians not at all.
And where do we see an alternative? Crazy places - Venezuela, Bolivia, Liberia, Nepal - "third world countries" as we used to say. We're also seeing a powerful effort in Mexico to mitigate the corruption and corporatism that results from its "U.S. client" status.
But the people running our government are running low on swagger and options these days. The Iraqi people have been particularly nasty in not cooperating with the form of "democracy" (read occupation) the U.S. is providing. Hugo Chavez continues to thwart U.S. imperialism in Venezuela in spite of multiple attempts to have him removed by the CIA and other U.S. "operatives." North Korea and Iran are emboldened in their plans by the quagmire of Iraq that is tying up U.S. forces.
And their answer? War, more war. Israel must again destroy Lebanon so its Middle East leadership position in "democracy" and U.S. bias remain intact. At the same time it continues to destroy Palestinian lives at every turn. And how much better for this administration to have the corporate news outlets spending all their energy on this conflict instead of the debacle in Iraq or a hundred other woes facing us?
The dinosaur is indeed flailing, and nearing its end. How soon is the pre-eminent question. With this November election, we have a tremendous opportunity to reshape our cultural paradigm and institutions. Imagine how we might thrive, in an age without dinosaurs.