The man who depicted himself as a transcendent figure on history’s stage, who described his foreign policy vision at the Temple of Hercules has been out-thought, out-generaled and completely outclassed by men with far fewer resources, but a great deal more ability than himself.
We now know what the early stages of a post American world looks like.
Wars and land grabs in Europe, the collapse of the Middle East and a militarisation of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia, alliances between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and , um, Israel – that is a good outcome, at least.
Chinese dominance over SE Asia, confrontation between China and Japan, Chinese control over the core sea trade routes as it enfolds the South China Sea into its arms.
Is Russia arming Argentina as a means of directing British attention away from Eastern Europe? If Britain is drawn into an Eastern European conflict is there an agreement that Argentina will act? Or at least rattle some sabres?
All Australia’s, and Europe’s, trade with Japan goes through waters claimed by half a dozen separate countries, one of them China, and that China is now starting to militarise.
We are disarmed, we are broke, and the big boy on the block has picked up his ball and gone home.
We are still, nonetheless, the ugliest and toughest hombres left out there, if only we start remembering that truth.
We can protect ourselves, and our interests, but only if we can be bothered.
I suspect that when it comes to national interest and foreign policy the next generation of European leaders will look more like their 19thC forbears than their 21stC fathers. If they don’t, we got problems.