Extract

There was a time not so long ago when the West, particularly the US and UK, were regarded as the gold standard in good governance. They would almost instinctively and willy-nilly dole out sage advice on how the rest of humanity should run its affairs. Not any more. The West seems to have almost gone bonkers, while the Kremlin is smiling.

 

The US and the UK, especially when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were bestriding the globe, were the linchpin of what the West stood for — a democratic form of government, free press, human rights, free markets et cetera. Together they stared down the Soviet Union until it crumbled.

Things are a bit different now. The two countries are distracted by little difficulties at home as Vladimir Putin makes mischief around the world. And, in fact, in US President Donald Trump, Putin could not have found a more useful idiot. The world has become unfamiliar territory. It’s difficult to make sense of it all.

Last week Theresa May, the UK prime minister, dissolved into tears as she finally bowed to the inevitable and threw in the towel. It was an ignominious exit from a tenure that will be remembered for blunders and failures. She had to go, though. She had hit a cul-de-sac. Brexit will claim its second prime ministerial scalp in three years as she follows David Cameron into the political wilderness.

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