For decades, the United States has been the world's pre-eminent status quo power. The U.S. fought wars to reverse acts of aggression and restore the status quo in Kosovo and Kuwait. Now new aggressors believe they can threaten the status quo with impunity because the U.S. seems unwilling to stand up to them.
The shock is not only that a police officer killed an unarmed black teenager. That, tragically, has happened too many times before, and when the details remain murky, many people withhold judgment. The shock was that the police response to the protests was so hugely disproportionate, "like an invading army."
On the surface, not much appears to be changing. The percentage of Americans who say they sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians -- 51 percent in a Pew poll last month -- has held fairly steady since the last Gaza fighting broke out in 2006. nder the surface, however, partisans have been moving apart.