Monday, November 24, 2008

Seems Like There's Plenty of "End of Empire' Chatter These Days

Forbes magazine has a piece about how the British coped with losing their empire and how this relates to the American predicament of our times:

... Sir Anthony Eden, was, in the words of The Times (London), "the last prime minister to believe Britain was a great power, and the first to confront a crisis that proved she was not." Once the last thrash of empire--the Suez Crisis of 1956--was behind it, Britain decided to withdraw as peacefully as possible from its empire, and to redefine its world role as the bridge between the U.S. and the rest of the world--an "honest broker" in Macmillan's words.

After the Suez disaster, British Prime Minister Sir Harold Macmillan sent President Eisenhower a telegram stating acidly, "Over to you." Meaning we're not dealing in the Middle East anymore, have fun with it. This is why I'm not sure it is such a bad thing if American power recedes. Let somebody else deal with the Middle East. Or North Korea for that matter. I don't say this lightly or flippantly either.

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