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The Anglo-American political and military alliance may gradually fade away. The British leaders who grew up in the Second World War/Cold War eras will gradually pass from the scene. Those who grew up with George W. Bush as the role model of a US President may be less willing to defer to an America which is weaker as well as more alien, than the country previously seemed.

I presume that in the rest of Europe a similar process of gradual disengagement will take place.

I also doubt that large numbers of American military bases, outside the United States, can be maintained much longer. I can really see no advantage to the United Kingdom in continuing to be Airstrip One for the United States, for decades after the disappearance of any credible threat that needed to be countered. It appears essential for the Americans to call the forces home, to avoid a debilitating drain on their economy.

Just because we are used to permanent American bases, we forget how unusual it was historically for one power to retain peacetime bases in the territory of another.

I really think the UK needs a clearsighted leader who realises that elite fantasies of, as Harold Macmillan put it being "Greeks to the American Romans" or in Douglas Herd's phrase "punching above our weight", are complete nonsense. As to Tony Blair's insane dream, which appeared to be a willingness to spend unlimited amounts of blood and treasure in completely unnecessary wars which provided the United Kingdom with no benefit whatever, I only hope that future Prime Ministers draw the lesson that resources are not unlimited and that one country is unable to redress all the ills in the world.

by Gary J on Sat Dec 8th, 2007 at 05:29:37 PM EST

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