29.12.2023 Author: Vladimir Mashin

The fall of US prestige in the world

The fall of US prestige in the world

The United States remains a strong and great power, but recently its foreign policy actions have been increasingly criticized both at home and abroad.

The outrage of most developing countries, now called the Global South, was sparked by a renewed veto by Washington of the Security Council resolution of December 8, demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities and humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Arab-Muslim countries have called for the convening of an emergency session of the UN General Assembly, for which a draft vetoed by the Americans on December 8 has been proposed.

On December 12, 153 states out of 194 UN members voted in favor of the draft, while 10 countries, including the US and Israel and their closest allies, voted against it. This effectively put Washington in a position of isolation on the international stage, and Arab newspapers condemned this 46th US veto meant to protect Israel. Several websites have published articles saying that “the Biden administration and its smug minions remain determined to distort reality to cover up their involvement in crimes against the Palestinians.”

Three of America’s closest allies—Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—took the extremely symbolic step of breaking up with Washington and calling for urgent efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip. “The price of defeating Hamas cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians,” said the prime ministers of the three countries. And even the UK, which always sides with the US, hedged its bets by abstaining from voting on the UNSC Resolution that the US vetoed.

UN expert Richard Gowan of the International Crisis Group said: “Most UN member states have lost patience with the US position on the war. From its very start, many Arab diplomats have hoped to engage with the United States to find common ground on humanitarian issues. Now, in contrast, the Arab group is campaigning to emphasize how few countries support the US in opposing the ceasefire.”

Many figures in the Middle East pinned their hopes on a visit to Israel by Jake Sullivan, the United States National Security Adviser, especially since US administration officials made it clear that they were interested in “Israel halting its large-scale ground and air campaign in the Gaza Strip within weeks and moving to a more focused phase of the war against Hamas.” However, the New York Times said after Sullivan’s visit on December 14: Biden suggests that Israel will shift to more precise tactics in about three weeks. The announcement caused even more frustration in the Arab-Muslim world as it was seen as another carte blanche to bomb Gaza.

By using its veto power to prevent an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram wrote on December 14, the US administration has lost many good friends in the Arab region as well as around the world, lost all credibility in claiming that human rights have any place in its foreign policy agenda.

“The United States,” concluded the other day Foreign Affairs, “does not have the breadth and depth of competence—capabilities and know-how—in its contemporary government… The current period of crisis challenges the United States and the other countries of the free world more than anything has in the last 60 years.”

The Arab media suggests that even if Hamas theoretically disappears, this will not prevent the emergence of new Palestinian resistance groups as long as Palestinian suffering under the occupation and the apartheid system continues. Thus, instead of using the same old arguments about protecting Israel’s security and right to exist, an alternative strategy should be to stop putting Israel above all international laws.

CNN noted that the war in Gaza has taken a horrific human toll, as well as unforeseen political backlash in the United States itself. It led to a new wave of anti-Semitism, sparking anger among Arab American voters. And the liberal New York Times said the United States should recognize the state of Palestine and join the 139 other countries that have done so. According to Bloomberg, the Israeli army’s campaign in Gaza “is inhumane and counterproductive. It risks turning the world against Israel, burying the memory of October 7 and radicalizing a new generation of potential recruits for Hamas.”

Within Israel itself, criticism of the Netanyahu government’s actions in Gaza is growing. Opposition leader Yair Lapid called on the prime minister to resign because of the government’s poor handling of the war against Hamas. He was supported by former Shabak Director Yuval Diskin. A recent poll by the Maariv newspaper showed that 51% of Israelis polled believe that Benny Gantz is more suitable for the job than Netanyahu. The economic impact of the war is another important factor: parity purchasing power has fallen, prices have risen, and the real estate market is in crisis. The economy has been shaken by a drop in tourism and the decision of companies to cut flights to Israel.

According to a number of Russian and Israeli political analysts, Netanyahu considers himself Israel’s savior, but with each day of beating up Palestinians, he is becoming “no longer just a war criminal, but Israel’s gravedigger.” Israel is now militarily stronger than the Palestinians, but that means nothing on the scales of history. Netanyahu’s course is leading to world isolation – very soon most European countries will not be able to refrain from condemning him. Continued warfare could cause Israel to lose its effectiveness in the eyes of the world community. Theoretically, the US could both maintain and cover Israel on its own for years to come but the situation in the Middle East as well as domestic problems will not allow it.

What hinders the US is its imperial ambition, which makes any treaty or concession perceived in the public mind as a failure. The elites are used to behaving this way. When internal changes take place, when they start to respect other people and countries, to seek compromises rather than solving all issues militarily, then conditions for a real détente will be created.


Vladimir Mashin, Ph.D. in History, a political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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