Jerusalem—It probably felt a bit like this in the months before the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israel launched its hugely successful preemptive strike against Egypt and its allies. Forty-five years later, the little country that is the most easterly outpost of Western civilization has Iran in its sights.
Fifty years ago, Israel was culturally an outpost of northern Europe, the late Austro-Hungarian Empire's southernmost province. But my vague impression is that it has been working hard to stop being a neurotic, high-achieving Teutonic culture and become a pleasure-loving Mediterranean culture. The Ashkenazis (and their Russian in-laws) still more or less run the place, but they've ceded a lot of cultural legitimacy to non-Ashkenazi Jews. Israel still produces some classical musicians and chemists, but the Jersey Shoreification of Israeli daily life is ongoing, along with various other trends, such as the Black Hatification of parts of the country, and the Afrikaanerization of the West Bank. Its cultural future seems kind of like Armenia or Lebanon.