But beyond that, we’re also witnessing the unravelling of the West’s power, the dissipation of its ability to influence and order world affairs. Gone are the days when the likes of America or Britain could carve up the region according to their interests, building kingdoms out of the post-imperial, and in Yemen’s case, post-Ottoman dust. Gone even are the more recent post-Vietnam days when Western powers could shore up a favourable regime with finance and arms, or undermine an unfavourable one by financing and arming its opponents. This isn’t to say the meddling and intervening has ceased. As the past 20-odd years have amply and brutally illustrated, Western intervention continues. But it does so without a clear material rationale, without authority, and without conviction. It is marked by do-gooding postures, and clueless, time-tabled practice.
Close but not quite for powerlessness here has everything to do with hubris and incompetence!