Our favourite memories are actually memories of memories. Each time we recall an event or an era, another coat of varnish goes on until the original is romanticised out of all recognition. And so a relationship that was fractious at the time slowly turns into the defining love of our life.

Nothing has gained more from this mental alchemy than the world before 2016. The rules-based order, as it was seldom known back then, is now remembered as an airtight fraternity of like-minded nations, tragically gone to seed. It has become a prelapsarian Eden.

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