“America” said Churchill “always does the right thing. Eventually”. We take it for granted now that the 20th century's mightiest nation, a country that assisted us with money and vital war materials in the many years before they themselves joined the battle, both in 1917 and 1941, could never have been anything but a member of the original United Nations – united, at that time, against the Axis. It was not always so certain. America's population in the 20th century was filled with first and second generation Irish, Germans and Italians – indeed, German almost once became the young nation's official language – which explains much of why the US could not do more in 1914 or 1939. And yes, I reject wholly the notion that in the last century the US should not have been involved at all in Europe's wars.
In trying to form a new role for this century, Americans are asking themselves whether they just reprise the roles of the cold war, in which Russia was rich and China poor, with a new version in which Russia is poor but China is seeking economic (though not per capita) parity with the US but both are prioritising guns over butter.
And all this at a time when we in the UK, who should maintain an army of 100,000 and a fleet of 50 vessels, is still shrinking our defences to help pay-off Brown's lunatic tsunami of borrowing. That bloody man's irresponsible party politicking with the security of the realm should see him in the dock. But our inadequately resourced armed forces mean that America's election is a matter of national interest for the UK, though not an excuse for interference.
We will need to work with whomever the US elects as President. Whether that person is a narcissistic lunatic or a chiselling crook. But we must wonder if the candidates are really the best that a nation of 325 millions can do?