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Friday 7 November 2008
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US election: Like us, James Bond needed America's help to beat the bad guys

By Boris Johnson
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 04/11/2008

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I happened to be reading Goldfinger at half-term, and chuckling to myself at all the things that Bond says and does that would be completely unthinkable today.

He smokes 60 a day, he threatens to bend female secretaries over his knee and spank them - not something you could easily get away with in Whitehall these days - and he concludes his amorous escapades by triumphantly seducing the lesbian ice-queen Pussy Galore and winning her back for red-blooded heterosexuality.

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  • It is a performance of ludicrous chauvinism and machismo; and yet the most important point about the climax of the novel is that in spite of all his marksmanship, his driving skill and his general derring-do, James Bond does not quite pull it off on his own.

    Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger
    "Help me, Uncle Sam - you're my only hope"

    Oh no. In fact, he spends a long time as the humiliated captive of Oddjob, watching helplessly as the evil golf-cheat Goldfinger prepares to launch an attack on Fort Knox. There is someone else who comes to Bond's rescue, someone else who represents the cavalry coming tootling over the brow of the hill, and that someone is one of my favourite characters in all literature.

    It is the laughing, gun-wielding, straw-haired CIA man, Felix Leiter. He rescues Bond in Goldfinger, and as far as I can remember he helps to rescue him in Thunderball, in Dr No, and he goes on to provide invaluable assistance at critical moments throughout the series, in spite of having his arm eaten by a shark in Live and Let Die.

    As a child growing up in the Cold War, it was always obvious to me that Felix Leiter was more than just a prop, a plot device. By the sheer regularity with which he rescues the British agent he is clearly intended to stand for the whole relationship between America and Britain as it has been played out over the last 100 years.

    He is a symbol of that great guarantee offered by America - with all her power and her can-do spirit - to the rest of the world. He reminds us of the historic role of the United States: the rich, friendly relative who, having exhausted all the other options, can generally be relied upon to do the right thing.

    When Felix Leiter pulls Bond's chestnuts out of the fire, as he so often does, he stands for the America that came to our aid at last in the First World War, the America that stormed Omaha beach, the America that faced down the Russians in the Cold War and defeated what Ronald Reagan was right to call an Evil Empire.

    That's what Felix Leiter means to me; that's roughly what I imagine he meant to Ian Fleming; and so it was of course fascinating to see how he has evolved in the latest Bond film, Quantum of Solace. There are two important differences. First, in what can only be seen as a sad comment on the Bush years, the other Americans (apart from Leiter) are no longer good guys. Absolutely not.

    US presidential election 2008

    Leiter saves Bond's life, as usual, but the other Americans are up to all sorts of mischief, trying to destabilise Bolivia and even trying to assassinate Bond. And the second notable divergence from the Fleming canon is that Felix Leiter is now a black man, in recognition of the way that America is changing.

    Well, folks, I guess you can see by now where this piece is leading. By this time tomorrow, unless the polls are wildly wrong, Barack Obama will incarnate that change, and as I said in this space a couple of weeks ago, there are all sorts of reasons for hoping that he makes it to the White House.

    For those who have become disenchanted with America - including many Americans - he offers the hope of re-igniting the love affair. With a combination of the audacity of hope and the urgency of now and the supremacy of together (OK, I made that one up) he is going to mark a break with Bush, and give a new language and a new style to America's identity as the world's top nation.

    Which will be great, provided he doesn't forget that he is about to become, symbolically, Felix Leiter: he is still the guy upon whom depends British security and the security of the rest of the world. It is still a fact that we rely 100 per cent on US technology and generosity to operate our so-called independent nuclear deterrent.


    The Bush presidency may have produced its share of foreign policy disasters, but that is not an argument for America to become isolationist. John McCain may have been unfortunate in his suggestion that the way to deal with Iran was "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran". But that is no reason to want any American weakness when it comes to regimes that may be threatening, whether they are in Iran or Korea or Russia.

    We need the Obama presidency to continue to take a very keen interest in the middle east - and we are not alone. It is not only Israel that appears to be reliant on America's support. It is Israel's enemies.

    What was the most fascinating news story of the last two days? It was the revelation that the American bombing of a Syrian village - which provoked angry public protest from Damascus - was in fact conducted with what appears to have been the connivance of the Syrian military intelligence. The reason? The village near the Iraqi border was the refuge of a notorious al?Qaeda chief.

    It was politically difficult for the Syrians to eliminate this nuisance themselves. So they allowed the Americans to do their dirty work, and the al-Qaeda chief was killed from the air by American might.

    It was one of the very greatest American presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, who said the duty of America abroad was to "speak softly but carry a big stick". George Bush forgot the "speak softly" bit. But Obama needs to remember the vital importance of continuing to carry a big stick. That is because the job of America is still pretty much what it was when Fleming wrote Goldfinger in 1959 - to take on the bad guys in a way that no other country is able or willing to do.

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    Dave Foulkes

    Responses to your questions below :

    -Who invented this interweb you're using now?
    Assuming you mean the internet and web- internet by DARPA for linking its military sites and web by a Brit at CERN.
    -Who will protect you when America withdraws from the world? Without America, the worlds problem will be greatly reduced therefore there is no need for protection. And pray enlighten us, who has America protected ? America has been instrumental in murdering civilians in Korea, Vietnam, Latin America, Middle East and now Afghanistan. Is there anyplace left ? What protection are you talking about here ? The world needs protection FROM America !

    -What world problem has been solved in our lifetime without America? Without America, there will not be many "military" problems around the world. America as do the British thrive on "divide and rule". If they withdraw and pull up the drawbridge, good riddance !

    Posted by John Taylor on November 4, 2008 6:26 PM
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    Brilliant commentary Boris. To those who are busy denegrating the US role in our joint victory in WWII; my Dad was US Navy in his youth. He served on the North Atlantic run to Britain during the war. He wasn't risking his life to guard ships bound for England loaded with war supplies and food just because you guys were already flush with ammunition and spam you know.
    Posted by Gerold Reimondo-Jandrok on November 4, 2008 6:17 PM
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    this should be the most depressing day for anyone who celebrates the concept of Democracy.

    I know 'democracy is the most valued and also the vaguest of political terms in the modern world', but it isn't that 'vague', nor is it that 'valued' though.

    Is this honestly the best two candidates a country that size could come up with? well no, but it was the two candidates that could come up with the most money- how depressing. no doubt a Clinton somewhere or a member of the Bush clan is being ready made for power one day.

    You hear people thinking the results are fixed. they were fixed months ago, between these two candidates. with rich backers, not exactly an exercise in altruism.

    I was talking to this guy today who is going to his bed early and waking up to hear the result, to capture history. needless to say I plan to stay awake this evening and go to bed at the same time as every other night.
    Posted by Turnberry18 on November 4, 2008 6:02 PM
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    I like the American's and wish them well but hope they do not follow Britain in sticking their nose into too many other countries problems they will recieve little or no thanks.
    We do indeed depend a lot on America's strength but I wonder if we deserve their help when very often we shelter terrorists and even feed and house them at public expence.
    Once we were a reliable and solid partner to America but that no longer holds true.
    Brown is running around the middle east with his begging bowl having bankrupted the country and nobody loves a bankrupt let alone respects them.
    America should keep their distance from this country while we have Mc Broon in charge he has proved he speaks with forked tongue and is not to be trusted. Just ask any pensioner who has lost their pensions and savings what kind of creature Brown is!.

    Posted by kenherts on November 4, 2008 5:27 PM
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    Reagan didn't win the Cold War. Democratic movements in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere in eastern Europe forced their local governments to listen to their people. When Czechoslovakia allowed East German tourists to enter West Germany, Mikhail Gorbachev had the choice to invade Czechoslovakia. He decided the cost in human lives was too high. The United States was not part of that decision.

    In a similar situation, when citizens demanded democracy at Tienanmen Square, the United States offered little more than false hope. The US did not have the power to influence these places. The only conflict that was small enough for the US to influence would have been in Yugoslavia, and the US chose to support the Milosevic dictatorship instead of the regional governments that collectively represented a majority of former Yugoslavia.

    An objective analysis might suggest that Reagan's nuclear policy helped stiffen the spine of western European governments, but one could as easily credit the influence of Margaret Thatcher. Regardless, western Europe's only role was to help support the new democratic governments of eastern Europe after those regimes collapsed. The fall of Soviet communism was not economic or military, it was simply a moral decision by Gorbachev.
    Posted by Alex von Thorn on November 4, 2008 5:26 PM
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    My word!! There are some crackpots about. They all seem to read Boris Karlofs column.
    Posted by Paul Harrington on November 4, 2008 5:21 PM
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    I was trying to stay focused on the election and this author's piece, but some of these illinformed need straightening out: Anyone thinking that they've been hit as hard as we are capable of, is a fool and even Yeltsin knows that; he was KGB when the B-2 Bomber was produced. The B-2 is/was the primary "game over" reason "The Wall" fell, and anyone who disputes that is just plain ignorant or not allowed to discuss it. One B-2 pass or Ohio Class sub deployment and Hugo Chavez, or anyone else who wants to "play rough" for that matter, is toast - Be careful of how much intervention you wish for....
    Posted by P.B.inLosAngeles on November 4, 2008 5:03 PM
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    "It is still a fact that we rely 100 per cent on US technology and generosity to operate our so-called independent nuclear deterrent."
    Not quite true Boris.
    There are some interesting bits of British technology in the deterrent but I can't explain here.
    Not sure what you mean by generosity but Jim Hacker, gawd bless him, gave us the best exposition of just how "independent" the deterrent is.
    Posted by don on November 4, 2008 5:03 PM
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    Posted by Richard T. Ketchum on November 4, 2008 4:06 PM

    "I can't help but think about how the left controls Hollywood, thus all of the major villians have to be Americans."

    Actually, Mr Ketchum, the majority of villains in American movies are British (English to be precise) and most of them have Public School accents.

    Posted by Adrian Gilbert on November 4, 2008 4:41 PM
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    A well written, interesting piece. Living proof that a decent education is so important.
    If you can't read or write properly (if at all) how can you make your point? How can you express your feelings? How can you work?
    Boris, we all know, had the best education money can buy. And why not? We all want the best for our kids but most of us can't stump up the expense of a private education. That is no reason to shut it down. And neither is it a reason to shut down all of the Grammar Schools, deemed by the PC bores as "elitist." My parents were poor but they still manged to get me into our local grammar School where I got the best education our money could buy and that was 50 years ago.
    Sorry to have hijacked your article Boris but I hope that you can help our kid's, kids get a much better education by opening more G. Schools and stop the hypocritical Socialist rot of closing them down.
    It is a pity that Blair did not deliver on his infamous "Education, Education, Education" spin. Perhaps you and Dave will do it instead.
    Posted by Terry Harris on November 4, 2008 4:34 PM
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    Nice of the author to say such nice things about us, but he is illinformed on this Obama guy. We all have associations, at work, at home in leisure activities. Most of us neither know nor care what our associates say about politics.
    Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, William Ayers and Antoin Rezko are not people who happened to be at the same place as Obama. They are people he chose as allies for years, and with some of whom some serious money has changed hands.Some gave political support, and others gave financial support, to Obama's campaigns, and Obama in turn contributed either his own money or the taxpayers' money to some of them. That is a familiar political alliance � but an alliance is not just an "association." Obama could have allied himself with all sorts of other people. But, time and again, he chose people who openly expressed their hatred of America. Senator Obama's record on specific issues is as bad as his record of repeatedly allying himself with these people who do not hide their hatred of America. Among the so-called "real issues" are earmarks for senators' pet projects, like the "bridge to nowhere." These are among the most indefensible parts of the inbred Washington political culture, which Obama has so often claimed to be against, as part of his promise of "change" to "clean up the mess in Washington." Yet Sen. Obama not only voted in favor of the bridge to nowhere, he voted against anti-earmark amendments proposed by Senator John McCain. Obama has had more than two dozen of his own earmarks in the past fiscal year, and he knows the Senate well enough to know that, if he voted against the bridge to nowhere, his own earmarks might get nowhere. Those earmarks, incidentally, included a million dollars of the taxpayers' money for a facility where his wife works at the University of Chicago. Her salary rose by nearly $200,000 when her husband became a U.S. senator-no doubt a shrewd investment by the university that paid off. When a highly publicized bridge collapse in Minnesota in 2007 led Sen.Tom Coburn to propose taking money from federal spending on bicycle paths and use it for maintaining and repairing bridges instead, Senator Obama voted against it. The kind of people who vote for him want bike paths. Obama has pushed for federal subsidies for ethanol, for example, as other Midwestern senators have, since a lot of corn is grown in the Midwest to be turned into ethanol. He is 100 percent behind the teachers' unions in their fight to preserve their grip on the public schools and exempt their members from being judged by performance instead of seniority-which is to say, he is throwing the students, and especially minority students, to the wolves. Despite his words today about "change" and "cleaning up the mess in Washington," Obama was not on the side of reformers who were trying to change the status quo of corrupt, machine politics in Chicago and clean up the mess there. Obama came out in favor of the Daley machine and against reform candidates.The truth is best explained by an official of the Democratic Party: "People don't come to Obama for what he's done, they come because of what they hope he can be." God help us all if this guy gets in!
    Posted by PBinLos Angeles on November 4, 2008 4:30 PM
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    I rather like Americans. You can rely on Americans.

    Try saying that about the French...!
    Posted by AJM on November 4, 2008 4:24 PM
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    One of the few bright spots from a potential Obama presidency, is that the US may finally begin withdrawing from Europe and reducing our burdensome commitments to defend people who don't seem to like us very much. Maybe a cooling off period of a couple of decades will create a different view. I note that Britain and Frace are asking the US for help in the Congo. Good luck with that. Also, good luck with Darfur, the Balkans, Georgia and any other problems that do not directly implicate US national security.
    Posted by Rob C on November 4, 2008 4:24 PM
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    Instead of working all through the night to turn this stuff out Boris you should try watching Spooks, who's zooming who ?
    Posted by Dr Maybe on November 4, 2008 4:21 PM
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    Things would be better if the left wing of the political spectrum would quit lying about conservative American Presidents. I can't help but think about how the left controls Hollywood, thus all of the major villians have to be Americans. It would be nice if just once they would make a patrotic movie.
    Posted by Richard T. Ketchum on November 4, 2008 4:06 PM
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    brillaint piece.
    Posted by rachael on November 4, 2008 3:57 PM
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    Posted by Jim on November 4, 2008 8:50 AM

    Well said Jim
    Posted by alex on November 4, 2008 3:55 PM
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    *omg whisper* Man on Waterloo Bridge , honey . Shhhh .


    *omg * , sorry , sweetheart x . My mouth is over the limit again . Is there room in your secret hiding place , under the floorboards , for one more ???

    *shhhh* . lol - no one reads this , do they ?? I'll love you whatever happens on Thursday as long as you ain't Gordony Bryon , hun x .

    OMG , I love you sooo much . Naughty but nice x .

    *shush* E x .

    Posted by Ewanme Botha on November 4, 2008 3:53 PM
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    We Americans are tired, in debt, hurt and need a break.

    We have honestly tried and I think we have done some good in the last
    100 years. But we need to leave the rest of the world alone for a while
    and deal with our own problems.

    To those that think the United States is a burden, please keep pushing
    us away for our own good.

    To those that think the United States has been a friend, be our friend in
    return, step up and fill the void, and let us go home.

    We have in some cases pushed ourselves on the world, but it is also
    true that others have pulled us into the world. We need to stop pushing,
    you need to stop pulling.
    Posted by Joshua on November 4, 2008 3:33 PM
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    The Co-operative funeralcare plan ...

    Would the forum condescend to humour me and allow me an off-topic post? Thank you.

    Directly after setting Boris to rights here I turned to my mail and lighted upon an invitation from the Co-op to secure my future by taking out a personal funeralcare plan: my personal quote as a male 60 years old living where I do (sheep country North Wales - small risk of anthrax and related zoophily transmissions about it) was �22.76 *a month*.

    I gather my life expectancy at age 60 is now more than 20 years, that is to say I can expect to pay into my plan some �5,500 securing my future before cashing it in: that's quite a lot of future securing even at today's prices.

    Mr. Johnson, is the Co-op similarly scamming the London populace (and for no doubt much greater sums given all the knife-crime and so on that goes on there)?

    Something should be done about this and quite a lot of other similarly, or so I believe, extortionate insurance type schemes directed at the over-60s which find their way into my postbox.
    Posted by GC on November 4, 2008 3:29 PM
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    The U.S. will move towards isolationism in the next decade or so. Military spending cuts will result in less security on the seas which will result in less international commerce. The Russians will have nothing to fear from the West (as the Europeans are already completely toothless) and their coming financial disaster will force them to invade their neighbors for resources. Islamic Jihad and huge demographic shifts in Europe will result in the end of Post-Enlightenment culture in countries like France and Britain, or a revival of Fascism as a response to the global Caliphate. The level of global violence in the 20th century will pale in comparison to the coming age. The soft European elitists and whiny American Left will scour their ranks for an enlightened hawk who has the strength and wisdom to wage total war as a last effort to save secular democracy and spin it to seem like peace keeping. There will be no one.

    Western Civilization was fun while it lasted. I suppose all things must pass.

    Posted by Dan on November 4, 2008 3:28 PM
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    To any Americans getting upset from some of the comments. Don't. You're OK. Just like the English are OK yet the Scots Irish and Welsh just hammer away at us. Just like the Norwegians Finns Danes and Icelandic people hammer away at the Swedes or the Kiwis hammer at the Aussies. It's the big brother syndrome. I for one have lived for 6 years in the States and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was always made to feel welcome and found Americans very polite. I would rather trust a Yank than a European but it will be a good thing to when Bush is replaced.
    Posted by Anglo Manglo on November 4, 2008 3:23 PM
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    RMP @11.22.
    Well said. Shame on those who do not concur.
    Posted by rp on November 4, 2008 2:00 PM

    Well said indeed. And do the Comment Bloggers remember when the Iraq war started? During the heated consternation and confrontation in Europe about the matter of troops sent overseas, the French said to their British and American counterparts that it was time for all the American and British troops to leave Europe and go home. No answer was forthcoming from the French when they were asked if that included the dead ones.
    Posted by Robbie on November 4, 2008 3:22 PM
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    Posted by Ewanme on November 4, 2008 12:10 PM

    PLEEEEASE don't make me laugh so much DARLING because they might hear me. I am hiding under the floorboards of the Methodist Church where I go for AA meetings so they don't find me. I am using a blackberry to post which someone left at the meeting. I will give it back..I must stay here till I reveal my identity. My little Snatchy needs looking after though. She needs someone to go down and stroke her because she gets frightened on her own since the fox ate her mate. She eats worms , algae and corn. And grass and spiders..well she eats everything really except vindaloo.
    I love you and I hope that when you find out who I am you will still love me. It will be a shock though. Mwaaa !xxxxx Mwaaaaaa!xxxxxxMwaaaaa!xxxxxx

    .Thursday midday !
    Posted by Man on Waterloo Bridge on November 4, 2008 3:17 PM
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    Yes Boris, disapointing your the same as the rest of the establishment and the square mile and think that America is our friend. I wonder were all our gold went during world war 2. Mr Murdoch feeds up so much American TV it's like brainwashing, the sub prime has shown up Americas's might, yes cheap money, Europe is the future with or without the bankrupt american supporting UK.
    Posted by bob on November 4, 2008 2:57 PM
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    "That is because the job of America is still pretty much what it was when Fleming wrote Goldfinger in 1959 - to take on the bad guys in a way that no other country is able or willing to do."

    But the unconfortable truth is that these days the bad guys by and large can give back just as good as they get, last remaining superpower or no.

    Rethink long overdue and hopefully before we start in on Iran (as likely as any time during the upcoming hiatus between presidencies): the oil-shock alone will do for us.

    You write brilliantly! I do enjoy your pieces.
    Posted by GC on November 4, 2008 2:43 PM
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    Boris, though good with a phrase, has succumbed
    to the same groupthink that American "journalists"
    have in their attitudes toward BHO.
    Posted by Willy on November 4, 2008 2:26 PM
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    The US needs the rest of the world far more than we need the US.
    Posted by Dave on November 4, 2008 5:28 AM

    Well said Dave, Fully agree with you, especially the last line..
    Posted by D. Subversiv on November 4, 2008 1:27 PM

    While the rest of the world�s countries sit selflessly polishing their halos just waiting for the chance to perform a good and worldly deed for some passing State in trouble.

    A little bit of thought prior to the talk would help, I think.
    It doesn�t take a lot of analysis to conclude that those who rant at the USA the most will most probably be the very first in the queue for protection as soon as something nasty rides over the horizon. Perhaps a move to downtown Pyongyang or Tehran might help concentrate your minds.

    Posted by PaddyBoy on November 4, 2008 2:25 PM
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    Bollocks - Our corrupt scum politicians (particularly the half-American drunkard Churchill) chose to make us dependent on America. Even today, if we had stuck together with just Canada and Aus/NZ, we would comfortably have the second largest economy in the world, not to mention enormous territory and resources. Add the natural alliances with India and Japan (to keep China in check) and we are easily the top world power. Our "leadership" prefer to be liked. They feel a powerful Britain would lose them credibility amongst the fabulous lefties of the American and Continental Establishments.
    Posted by Mike from Malverne on November 4, 2008 2:15 PM
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    Thoughful, So the Russians weren't 'forced' into it then? And, you trust them? Before 1941 they were busy encouraging British communists to sabotage production here, and to oppose the 'imperialist' war with Germany. I'm fully aware of the fact that the US generally does what is in its interests, but those interests happen to coincide with ours rather more than do the interests of most other countries.
    Posted by Tony Hillbear on November 4, 2008 2:12 PM
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    What's all this institutionalised anti Americanism? It�s based on resentment and jealousy. We children knew, growing up in the late forties and fifties, when the war was the dominate recent event, without their aid, even before the Japanese attack, we would have been in the deepest of deep poo. Then there was the Marshall Aid after the war, which must be one of the greatest acts of generosity in history, a plan which helped us and Europe pull out of the financial devastation of the war, Without that we would been on rationing into the sixties, as Britain in 1945 owed two and half of it total yearly profit in war debt. And then there was the threat from Russia until the Berlin Wall came down, again due to the USA.
    God knows what kind of world we would be living in now without the American intervention through out the twentieth century.
    Posted by Dave Morris on November 4, 2008 2:05 PM
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    Have you no sense of irony? I mean really, �comments are for
    intelegent readers�.

    That you do indeed appear to be a councillor (ex Labour of course) and a magistrate seems a fairly damning indictment of both our democracy and our legal system. And Ken old chap, whoever the wag who posted at 8.27, he/she clearly did not intend to pass themselves of as you. Unless of course, you commonly sign yourself off as �(illiterate)�. But then, that might well be possible?

    Posted by Dave Foulkes on November 4, 2008 2:05 PM
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    For those who believe the US needs the world more than the world needs the US, I would offer a few points:

    -Who invented this interweb you're using now?
    -Who will protect you when America withdraws from the world?
    -What world problem has been solved in our lifetime without America?

    Posted by John Smith - New England on November 4, 2008 2:00 PM
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    RMP @11.22.
    Well said. Shame on those who do not concur.
    Posted by rp on November 4, 2008 2:00 PM
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    Hank 2008 3:27
    Hank (what�s that short for?) allow me to give you a history lesson, and other Americans are welcome to read it too. During the Great War, as provoked as they were, the USA wanted to stay out of the war. They were finally brought in it, not by U boats but by a message picked up at a radio listening station at Huntington in North Norfolk. The message was from the Germans to the Mexicans encouraging and attack on the USA. It was the final straw and into the war came the USA. The Germans knew that they needed to push the British and her allies out of the game before the USA reached Britain in time to board for France so they launched a final assault on British lines in March 1918 as a trickle of US troops reached France. The Brits and her allies held them off and began to advance. By this time there was Spanish flu affecting the German Front Line troops. Starvation because of British submarines blockading German supplies and revolution at home. The war was practically over by the time the Yanks reached the Front Line. But, of courser, although we were at it for four years and the Yanks less than four months, they won the war for us. In the second war, it was not Pearl Harbour that brought the US into a European war Hank, it was Hitler declaring war on the US, otherwise you would have stuck to the Pacific and left us to it, and because of the Russians, whom I trust more than the USA who were fighting since 1941 before you were FORCED into it and made your contribution on the ground from 1943, Europe defeated him...but again...you won the war for us. Ahh, if only we were with you in Vietnam, you would have won that too.

    Posted by Thoughtful on November 4, 2008 1:59 PM
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    With respect. Bubble, Boris' article is not about James Bond, he is merely using the Bond stories to stress his point about America's need to remain stong.
    Posted by Charles Harris on November 4, 2008 1:44 PM
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    Actually, Boris, not the first time Felix Leiter has been portrayed as a black man. Bernie Casey played the part in Never Say Never Again.
    Posted by Neil on November 4, 2008 1:43 PM
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    Americans today should vote then buy a gun ready for the race war which will start tomorrow. White people need to make a wagon circle and kill any enemy of freedom. Obama will exterminate every white person too weak to defend themselves.
    Posted by Colin Dixon on November 4, 2008 1:43 PM
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    >>The US needs the rest of the world far more than we need the US.
    Posted by Dave on November 4, 2008 5:28 AM

    Well said Dave, Fully agree with you, especially the last line..

    Posted by D. Subversiv on November 4, 2008 1:27 PM
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    Nobody can accuse the USA of arrogance when all the rest of the world does is talk about it incessantly. It is only relevant to me that McCain wins in as much as Obama is a fraud, other than that they could vote for Britney for all I care.
    I have lived and worked in 7 countries and all you get on Foreign TV and talking to foreign people is endless discussions about Uncle Sam.
    Is nobody else sick of this hero worship?
    Posted by Mark Newcastle on November 4, 2008 1:22 PM
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    RMP American Veteran on November 4, 2008 11:22 AM

    Please note - The anger is not at the American people but the American government. My father was in the Navy and spent part of WWII in Canada and America. He had nothing but the highest regard for both.
    However, There, like here, the two are vastly different and the government is not representative of the people.
    Had we made peace or fallen to the Nazis how long would Russia have lasted? With no convenient aircraft carrier / army base America could not have retaken Europe - We had a common interest which, from Tehran onwards your government was willing to forget and go it alone.

    And Now....
    You look set to elect Obama, who will do for your economy what Gordon Brown has done for ours - Shaft it!

    Posted by Airstrip 1 on November 4, 2008 1:11 PM
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    Posted by PaddyBoy on November 4, 2008 11:43 AM

    Well, a nice idea. Can there be a USAGB, I mean, United States of America and Great Britain? And, in that case, where should we see Her Majesty? Or, say, we convert the US of A into a monarchial democracy, with King Obama ruling the waves. I think, in this age of globalization, this could be food for thought. Visualize the Bobbies walking through Madison Avenue.

    Coming to Boris' original piece, UK had always been behind USA since 1917. Ian Fleming had duly reflected that in his Bond novels. The latest example was that of Tony Blair dittoeing whatever Bush was dictating, Iraqi WMDs and all, and then sending those troops to faroff lands. The way, the House of Commons was debating the existence of WMDs during those days, based on flimsy intelligence reports- what a sheer waste of time and labour of our Honourable MPs. The people of GB should demand compensation from His Majesty's government for this wastage from public exchequer.
    Posted by Ramesh Parida, Delhi on November 4, 2008 1:02 PM
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    Within the next 24 hours we should know if Mr. O is the president elect of the USA. If he is, then we can all relax and know that America will now be on the same Titanic as the UK is, with Brown welcoming Obama on board. Mr. Brown will be giddy with delight as he truly will have a comrade on par with himself on all things leftie, and no more lonely nights wondering why he is fighting the good fight solo. Imagine that, finally the UK & the USA will become equals, i.e. higher taxes ripped from the middle class, uncontrolled immigration, the banking system under government control, and community organizing ( there's a community? ) the profession of choice. America deserves better, as dose Great Britain, but the people vote their choice and you can see what a great choice they made in choosing Nu-Lab. Well done.
    Posted by Maura Collins on November 4, 2008 12:43 PM
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    Why do you guys (and gals!) take Boris so SERIOUSLY??**
    Get a grip, folks. He is writing about JAMES BOND.
    ** Though behind the wit there is a lot of truth in what he writes.
    p.s. I would just love to know what Boris thinks of the Councils which have banned Latin because it could be "confusing" ...
    Posted by Bubble on November 4, 2008 12:39 PM
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    Boris, I�ve always supported you but you are really getting up my nose over the American thing. For a start, in this racist election the black population of the USA must remember that Obama is half white. His father left him when he was two. He was brought up by his white mother and white grandparents. His life and education has been influenced by a white families, it is the white gene that has brought him to where he is. Now God sent him. It�s either a Looney bin or a bullet for that gentleman if he wins this election.
    Posted by B G Lawson on November 4, 2008 12:36 PM
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    Boris what ridiculous drivel you talk. You really are living proof that the Public will buy any old poo as long as it's buffed up and nicely packaged. Get back to comedy TV. You were made for it.
    Posted by Rick Allen on November 4, 2008 12:31 PM
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    I normally enjoy reading the comments to the main articles but I really do have to say that this board looks as if for the most part, it was written by escapees from Broadmoor. Please do slow down and take your medications.

    The clue lies in multiple long posts from the same person and an obvious inability to read what other people have written.

    Still, perhaps most of you haven't escaped, you might just be running around in the communal area. How about if we get "Banana Boy" to visit you all, David Miliband and a bunch of bananas is always good for a hoot, besides which, it time Swattie had some company.

    The literary devices used by in a James Bond context are quite amusing but I must say, I am and always have been fond of the US and whilst not a perfect relationship, like most in the Anglosphere, its a damn sight more reliable than the EU which is still run under the shadow of the Franco Prussian War of 1870.
    Posted by John Haynes on November 4, 2008 12:22 PM
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    Posted by RMP American Veteran on November 4, 2008 11:22 AM

    - Well said sir! Some of us over here - and I believe they are the silent majority - think you're right.
    Posted by Lockhouse on November 4, 2008 12:17 PM
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    Right on Cllr Ken, son. You tell em, mate. I thought that you sounded a bit off-colour in that earlier post. What is the DT coming to?

    Posted by Dave Figgley on November 4, 2008 12:16 PM
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    Ooooo hiya Boris , petal x .

    Well , I read your story . Only took me 20 minutes .

    Are you sure you ain't looking at our relationship wiv America through prismatic glasses or something ??? Are you on the same planet as me?

    It's weird , coz I thought the yanks only ever lift a finger when there's something in it for them . Don't they always bend the rules to their advantage in everything they do ???

    Aren't they the worst losers on the planet ? In fact they'll do ANYTHING to avoid 'losing' .

    Just a thought x . BTW , wasn't Felix black once before or am I having a blond moment ??

    Pleeeze Boris , honey , make sure you give my MAN ON WATERLOO BRIDGE full protection from the dark forces that are closing in on him . I need him in one piece x .

    MOWB - If you can hear me , sweetpea , stay safe . My snatch is quacking in anticipation of what is to come xxx .

    Anyway Boris . Love from one blond bimbo to another x .

    E x .

    Posted by Ewanme on November 4, 2008 12:10 PM
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    Posted by ? November 4th 2008 8.27am

    Please remember using other peoples
    name is criminal,without consent!
    I hope the Telegraph operator do
    realize their responsibility, to all
    the mentally-disturb writers?

    Please remember, comments are for
    intelegent readers, and not for those emotionally low IQ ones, ready to use abusive language.
    Please stop it now, thank you.

    Posted by Cllr Ken Tiwari (Independent) on November 4, 2008 11:48 AM
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    The United States of America is a country with many faults. That, in itself, just makes it exactly the same as virtually every country in the world. However, the one thing you can at least generally rely upon with The States is that they virtually always start from a position of wishing to do what is right. There will be those who will say, �What about Iraq and Bush�? Well, just consider this. America elected Bush. We elected Blair. What is the difference? They both wanted to go into Iraq and could not have done it without each other. It is also worth remembering that many of the people who bad-mouth America are socialists who hate America with a vengeance anyway. So these are the same lot to whom Blair belonged and he is the man for whom many, if not all of them, voted. Despite the howls of protest, they are in it up their smelly little armpits.

    Ask yourself this. If you were told tomorrow that you either had to join a Union with the EU or a Union with the USA, which would you choose? Would you go for the Union that is ridden with corruption, where the accounts have never been signed off because they�ve never been balanced and no one can account for all the cash? Would you go for the Union where the Politicians continually lie and dissemble about their intentions for that Union, deliberately hiding what they are up to because they know the people would not accept it? Would you choose the Union that is run by unelected officials, and not democratically elected and accountable Politicians? Would you choose the Union where Politicians have continually and systematically denied the people a voice in its future? Or the USA? I know where I would go!

    Posted by PaddyBoy on November 4, 2008 11:43 AM
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    In one of the novels, I forget which, Bond expresses his happiness that Britain doesn't have to deal with the race problem. Obama won't be an end to race issue in the US. On the contrary, it's going to be one big lottery win for Sharpton, Jessie, and every other race huckster. I elected you to protect me from strutting black-thugs on the streets of London, Boris, not to waste your time writing articles in support of race grievance-mongers. I hope Dave's got a good job lined up for you as you're only going to serve one term in this one.
    Posted by Tony Hillbear on November 4, 2008 11:42 AM
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    The question is not whether Felix Leiter (aka America) can or will save James Bond (Britain) again but who will now save him.

    The coming Obama residency represents a watershed in more than one way. For ever since the First World War the USA has been King of the Hill.

    As Bob Dylan noted back in the sixties, Britain's Empire had by then already crumbled into the sand, as had the French, Austrian, Turkish and German. Throughout the past century or so, for all its brashness and sometimes it has to be said stupidity, it has been America that has been the western world's guarantor of freedom.

    This is now changing. China is on the rise and Russia, which for a decade or more seemed finished as not just a super-power but even a regional one, is back in business. At the same time the Middle East, which ever since the time of Jesus has been a thorn in the side of Europe, is in possession of the ultimate power: the oil weapon.

    Add to this toxic coctail climate change, the near collapse of the banking system, declining birthrate in developed countries mirrored by population explosion in the Third World, food shortages, pollution, water scarcity and a culture of willful hedonism and it is clear that 'Change' is coming even without 'President' Obama wishing it.

    In this world of gathering storm clouds one can only feel nostalgia for the secure, 1950s world of Bond when Felix could be relied upon to bring in the cavalry. Yet, as Iraq and Afghanistan show, even America can no longer control the world. As a result, we all have some mental adjusting to do.

    Posted by Adrian Gilbert on November 4, 2008 11:29 AM
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    Where do all right wingers get their foreign policy from? Answer shallow spy books,Hollywood films and the invented history of Churchill and the cold war. All are figments of the imagination,as is the fairy story of the 'special relationship.' American forces reached the Western Front in April 1918.By then the German population as starving and the issue was decided.America looks after its own and no-one else.There is no real historical evidence to the contrary.A country whose heroes are cowboys and gangsters doesn't help others.It has no principles, just cliches.
    The idea that America is the 'good' guy in the world is preposterous. Calley and Lynndie England were not 'good guys.' McCain says he was thrilled to bomb in Vietnam, inbetween crashing planes.Napalm and agent orange, cluster bombs and daisycutters. Small children on fire.
    Call them the good guys if you want, but most of the world knows America for what it is. And this ridiculous Bullingdon gob, from the pratfactory that is Eton College thinks America will protect him.
    Posted by David Rawson on November 4, 2008 11:23 AM
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    Wow - I have read such anger and resentment for my country (USA). Just to put it on a level field, my father and grandfather both gave their lives fighting in defense of and delivering supplies on US ships to the UK. Let me restate that.. Not for Europe but actually for the UK in WWII. I find it insulting that you show such little respect for the blood that my family has shed in defending yours. While it may be true that America entered the war later, once in, we turned 138M focused people and 100% of our manufacturing might and lots of blood at saving the UK and a whole lot of others. Without Americas help then, their would be no UK. It cost us both (UK & US) dearly. I am proud to call the UK a friend in good times and bad and my family has personally paid dearly to back that up. When you can tell me you have given two of your immediate family for my families right to peacefully survive, we then have something to really compare. Fast forward to today, Americans are not perfect and we have made some bad choices over the years but as a whole the UK has benefited greatly in history for having allied with the US and America has paid with a lot of blood to keep the UK safe. We may be crude or carry an ugly stick sometimes but our hearts are good intended and the UK is safer today as a result of America.
    Posted by RMP American Veteran on November 4, 2008 11:22 AM
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    Boris writes;

    "It is still a fact that we rely 100 per cent on US technology and generosity to operate our so-called independent nuclear deterrent."

    Oh Boris, I do hope you have a better grasp of the niceties of your London Mayoral budget than you do of the acquisition process and ongoing operation of Trident (you where an MP, weren't you?).

    Sadly, Trident was not provided through US generosity; would that it was. It was provided 'cos we gave them "filthy luker", Billions of pounds of it. And we are soon to do it again.

    Accept the point about the technology though. Its American cos they own it as a consequence of having created it, bought it, pinched it or as combination of all three.

    You can do that sort of thing when you have a $13 Trillion economy. The banking crisis will cost them three years of heart ache and hardship. Its going to cost us a generation - 35 years. "C'est La Vie " as the Indians, Chinese and Arabs say.
    Posted by Robbie on November 4, 2008 11:19 AM
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    Oh not another bit of nonsense about the USA saving us in WWII? I don't doubt their contribution but let's be honest - they came in AFTER they'd been attacked and in any case, the lion's share of the work in defeating Hitler was done by the Russians. Granted, the engines for those superb T34 tanks (the only decent bit of armour the Allies had) came from Aluminium supplied by the convoys, but let us not allow any American to boast about having won WWII on their own. They didn't.
    Posted by Paul Locke on November 4, 2008 11:05 AM
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    I�m all for nostalgia myself Boris.... and when times get tough... it�s always comforting to look back at what life was like in a different era with those rose tinted glasses... fortunately my missus still enjoys her sussies and suspenders...

    (But I digress)... so let�s fast forward to right here, right now shall we?

    The US like us is running a massive energy deficit.... it�s underpinning why our joint economies are in such a mess... and why Bliar & Bush back in 2002 decided to go pay Iraq a visit � due to it having the least successfully exploited oil reserves in the middle-east - that and the uncomfortable matter that Saddam had pushed his national oil sales into � Euros... away from the greenback... (ouch) we didn�t want any other rouge nation states getting silly ideas like that did we?.... So it was important to send out a firm message...

    Not to mention that when things start to get more ugly in the future with the Ruskies and Chinese... it�s useful to have a massive US military base sitting there in the heart of the region with us in reserve too...

    And if you get a chance dear chap, and you want a sobering slap in the face to bring you right back up to date.... quick as a flash.... then check out this link carefully and contemplate each and every slide...


    You�ll maybe then understand why we�ll see an increase in conflict, cold wars and skirmishes like we had in Georgia... and no it won�t be fiction!

    Then ponder how you�re going to keep 11m Londoners warm and fed in the coming months...

    Quantum leap of faith perhaps?

    Posted by Peter Stone on November 4, 2008 10:47 AM
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    Neat, nay wry, observation by Boris. Political Correctness has for some time been quietly slotting black figures into power roles in screen-based fiction - including that of US President - even into period works where they would not have even been in the general population - and where they most certainly were not black 'as written' - as here with Felix Leiter.

    The further irony here is surely that an Obama presidency is likely to be about a weak external face for the US - and a focus by Washington on internal problems - not saving the world (in its image) at great cost - fiscal, military and in terms of global popularity.
    Posted by simon coulter on November 4, 2008 10:41 AM
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    swatantra on November 4, 2008 9:14 AM

    From your command of the English language he still has more than you!
    Posted by Neil Jones on November 4, 2008 10:34 AM
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    I dont know if anyone noticed this but the states didn't enter the wars to help anyone..they were attacked and used it to their advantage.

    WW1 they entered after their shipping was attacked...WWII they did nothign till japan attacked them...then nothing against germany till Hitler declared war on the US (Most yanks think it is the other way round)

    They have looked after their own interest nothing more. I am not abusing them for that...but I am for people like Johnson who paint them as some Hollywood hero riding to the resucue...

    Boris should concentrate on us...let's show some backbone and not play the pathetic door mat to the states..or any other country
    Posted by Keith on November 4, 2008 10:27 AM
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    I note that in the print version of this column, Boris incorrectly referred to Felix's arm being eaten by a crocodile ! Though now corrected.

    Call yourself a real fan - very sloppy Boris.

    Actually, it was a tiger shark, and Bond gets his revenge against the man who so tortured Felix by simply chucking him into the tank and enjoying listening to the sound of the shark gobble him up !

    (the scene subsequently appearing in the film Licence to Kill)
    Posted by Laurie on November 4, 2008 10:18 AM
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    The bailout bill, like Sir Robin, bravely ran away. Oil exploration: Opposed! Capital Gains Taxes: while acknowledging higher rates bring lower revenues, supports raising them none the less, offering some claptrap about fairness.
    Do I believe Obama is evil or share the beliefs of his unseemly associates? No. I don�t buy the narrative that Obama is some type of Manchurian Candidate, a closet Muslim, or an anti-American black radical. Instead, I believe the narrative that best describes Obama�s character is one of expediency. Obama associated with the most unsavory Chicago radicals, not because he necessarily shared their values, but because it was the expedient thing for to do for one who wanted to rise politically in the sewers of Chicago politics. Obama accomplished little despite his career achievements not because, he didn�t care or was incompetent per say, but because, putting his energy to the next career promotion was the expedient thing to do. Obama didn�t vote present over one-hundred times in the state legislature because he lack backbone, but because it was the expedient for a politician with higher ambition to avoid taking controversial stands. Likewise were his reasons for refusing to speak out, bravely running away, on the bailout legislation.
    For all Obama�s faults and shortcomings, were it not for democrat control of both the house and the senate and troubles at home and abroad, it would be rather amusing to have Obama as the first black president. Alas, that isn�t the case and this fairy tale is likely to have anything but a happy ending for us or our cousins across the pond.

    Posted by Michael Anderson on November 4, 2008 10:07 AM
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    Obama�s entire campaign is an endless series of Non sequiturs. Hope; Change; the urgency of now; this is the moment; blah blah blah�
    How our beloved cynical brethren across the pond could wish upon us this doofus, who has never accomplished anything, despite tremendous achievements, is a mystery to me. You may think no accomplishments and tremendous achievements is an oxymoron of sorts, so I will explain to you the difference:
    **Achievement: First black elected head of the Harvard Law Review; Accomplishments: none. Not even one article published.
    **Achievement: Appointed head of the multi-million dollar Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a group aimed at reforming Chicago inner-city schools. Accomplishments: none. By own admission the effort had little to know positive effect on the schools for which grants were given. Perhaps, the reason for no improvement was the fact the grants he doled out went not to schools or groups promoting the three R�s; instead, the grants found their way to leftist groups, such as Acorn.

    **Achievement: Won the democrat nomination for Illinois State Senate, after kicking off all his opponents, including the incumbent, off the ballot for various technicalities�so much for the politics of hope.
    **: Subsequently, he was elected to the state legislature, representing his far left and corrupt south side Chicago district. Accomplishments: Voted present over one-hundred times in order to avoid taking a stand on any controversial legislation, albeit, he did manage to vote against a measure requiring medical care for survivors of failed abortions. While Obama can quibble over the technicalities of the bill in question, the real outrage is the fact Obama supports, in the first place, the right to abortion even when fetus (i.e. Baby) is viable.
    **Achievement: Obama wins both his party�s nomination for US senate and general election to the US Senate, after both his challengers drop out in each race due to personal scandals. Accomplishments: little to none. However, he did manage to secure more cash contributions from both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (The Giants of the Sub Prime Meltdown) than any other elected official, with the exception of the committee chair whose committee was responsible for their regulatory oversight. Lest we forget he did achieve the ranking of the second most liberal voting record in the senate, no mean feat considering he had to beat out the only openly server socialist.

    Not much of a record to run on, if you ask me. Oh, you say, what about Obama�s Judgment, and courage. Wasn�t he the only one to have the judgment and courage to stand up against the war in Iraq? First, let me make this as clear as possible; for a sitting state senator of a far left Chicago city district , it took absolutely no courage whatsoever to oppose the war in Iraq. Instead, opposition was mandatory. Therefore, we are unable to access his judgment in this matter, since, we know not what judgment he used to arrive at his position to oppose the war. Finally, Obama, not in the US Senate, didn�t have to vote on the use of force, nor take any responsibility for his position.
    However, there is a long list of cases in which Obama�s judgment has been found wanting. Most damning are the choices of with whom he has chosen to affiliate: Rev. Wright, his reverend of twenty years, who preaches the most outrages and hateful trash from the pulpit; Tony Rezco, slum lord and convicted felon, whom Obama steered millions of tax payer dollars to and received campaign contributions and assistance with his home purchases in return; William Ayers, un-repented domestic terrorist, and too many more to list.
    In addition, Obama has demonstrated poor judgment on the most important issues of our time. Subprime mortgages, Obama, not only resisted all attempts to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he advocated relaxing standards further and supported laws that required banks to offer more subprime loans.
    Posted by Michael Anderson on November 4, 2008 10:06 AM
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    Another duped writer who has fallen for the manipulated propaganda against Russia.

    As for WWI Churchill himself said that the worst thing America ever did was to join WWI. He said that without their entrance Britain would have made peace with Germany, there would have been no Nazi Germany or WWII or Communism.

    The USA was manipulated into WWI against all its interests on behalf of the usual suspects who were rewarded with The Balfour Agreement.
    Posted by Alan on November 4, 2008 9:58 AM
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    Mr Mayor





    FOR NOW.....MAN
    Posted by MAN ON WATERLOO BRIDGE on November 4, 2008 9:40 AM
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    Cant understand we waste so much man power in afghanistan and iraq,we should send james bond. to the battle zone. along with Rambo.
    Posted by joseph walker on November 4, 2008 9:40 AM
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    Swatantra 9:14

    "America has been the bad guy for the last 50 years". Sorry, I thought that was the Soviet Union and without the USA, the Soviets would still be there. I guess you old commies just can't stomach that.
    Long live the USA !

    Simon Cardew 9:20
    Lets hope Israel attacks Iran soon and destroys them. A weak and spineless President Obama will do nothing. He is useless.
    Long live Israel !

    Posted by Ebba on November 4, 2008 9:40 AM
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    Well Boris, I hate to say this but, once again you are a sucker.
    America "defends" Europe to give it credibility when it goes round invading people (didn't work awfully well in Iraq) and a nice comfy buffer against its outright enemies. ABM bases in Poland, things like that.

    Remember one thing. British power and, in essence, the British economy was destroyed by Truman in 1946, just as surely as if he had dropped an atom bomb on us.
    The Britain you have today is the result of the terms imposed by the Americans for the loans in 1946 - Note continental Europe got free aid - we were still paying until a couple of years ago.
    Why did we have rationing four years longer than Germany? look at the economics Boris, we got stuffed.

    Oh, and regarding Bond, The whole plan in Goldfinger was to blow up and irradiate the Gold Repository in Fort Knox, Kentucky which is, after all, American Territory.
    Well, that combination of words should get the guys at Cheltenham reading this probably get the men in the brown macs round next, maybe a 42 day holiday - dontcha just love a free country
    Posted by Airstrip 1 on November 4, 2008 9:29 AM
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    Dear Judith (12:44),

    God would not wish President Bush on anyone. For those that believe in God, the Devils biggest trick was influencing the US to put that man in the White House.

    I think that is most Christian sentiment one could apply to Bush:

    �But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?� (MArk Twain)

    For the secular amongst us, if the US consign this neo-conservative fascist flirtation to the bin of history, then they deserve our thanks and support.

    Long live Felix Leiter!
    Posted by Howard Wiley on November 4, 2008 9:22 AM
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    Don't think casting Jeffery Wright as Felix Leiter had anything to do with him being black. He has a quiet yet strong presence which suits the role quite well as he needs to represent the power of America without steeling the limelight from our man. See Ang Lee's "Ride with the Devil" for one of his best films.
    Posted by Richard Alderson on November 4, 2008 9:21 AM
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    RHYS JAGGAR....The real fear is that President OBAMA or Sarah & McNuggett will be tested by Israel with a major aerial attack on Iran. Israel needs to know how far it can go in its quest for control of old PALESTINE. Israel has decided Iran is next after the neutralisation of Iraq. The great game is now in full session....and we are mere spectators to this coming war. Americans want change....the middle east would like more than a change. How about some American control over Israel. Impossible?
    Posted by simon cardew on November 4, 2008 9:20 AM
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    Johnson gives the away in his last sentence. Its no time for novices. America has been the bad guy for the last 50 years. Johnson has the ambiance of Reagan, the Foreign Policy of Palin and the brain of Swarzennegar. Mary Shelley couldn't have done any better.
    Posted by swatantra on November 4, 2008 9:14 AM
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    Nice thought Boris but one tiny flaw in the plan - Bond was a work of fiction. The Yankees don't just come riding to our rescue like the 7th Calvary in a Western. The first and last time they did so out of sheer humanity (due mainly to the stupidity of the German belligerence) was in the First World War, when their numbers told when our backs were to the wall in 1918. Since then however, Americans, quite rightly, realised the futility of doing something for nothing. In 1940 had Dunkirk failed and fighter command not won the Battle of Britain, America would have stood by and watched a swastika being raised over Buckingham Palace. I don't criticise them for not going to war until they were attacked at Pearl Harbor, but don't lets fantasise that the USA went to war to save us, they came into the war because Hitler was mad enough to declare war on them. We paid for their aid in gold reserves foreign reserves and territory a debt which was finally paid off a mere 2 years ago; they were not allies but mercenaries, there have many times in history that the British and English armies before that used mercenary troops in wars over the centuries but don't confuse to difference between an unfailing ally and a self interest. If Mr Johnson truly believes this sentimental guff about a special relationship perhaps he ought to read some modern history (Suez for instance) rather than Ian Fleming�s, admittedly great, Bond stories!
    Posted by R H Morgon on November 4, 2008 9:05 AM
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    A list of grow up admissions for you and America to make. I'm not saying they are all bad, but the term 'Special Relationship' is not compatible without them.

    1. A middle eastern country without military air-bases overseas and without nuclear weapons is not a threat to our 'national security', unless you redefine national security to mean something other than 'capable of invading our territories or otherwise starving us to death'. Iraq was never, is not currently, nor will it be in your lifetime 'a threat to our national security'. America on the other hand has the potential to be a threat to the national security of almost ANY country. Us included.
    2. 'We are safe with nuclear weapons but they are not'. Bullshit. America used them, totally unnecessarily, as a bullying mechanism to bring Japan to its knees. If it were a decent nation, it would have carried out a GLOBAL DEMONSTRATION of atomic weaponry, WITH THE THREAT OF USING IT ON HIROSHIMA IF JAPAN DID NOT CAPITULATE IMMEDIATELY. They did nothing of the sort. That was a calcuated act of genocide, for which America carries a well-deserved reputation. Iran knows full well that they will be bombarded if they use nuclear weapons. Any attempt by you or the CIA to portray Iran as anything other than a small nation in comparison to the USA should see you sectioned for certifiable lunacy.

    None of that makes any judgement on the nature of the Iranian regime, which may turn out, if reported on dispassionately, to be ugly to a very significant degree. Perhaps your colleagues in the media might start just such a dispassionate reporting process?
    3. Our relationship with the USA does NOT, repeat NOT, depend upon continual bombing campaigns, all over the world, against 'terrorism'. There is absolutely no basis for not stating, in the Press, if it is true, that: 'XXXX is holding us to ransom over oil. The greedy bastards have threatened to raise oil/gas prices by 300% and the only way we can stop them is to bomb the hell out of them. Do you want us to do that?' Then you might retain the respect of your electorate. Stop playing these pathetic 'Boy who cried wolf' scaremongering scams. All of you.
    4. If the Russians are blackmailing us, say so in public, backed up by evidence. Then we can all spit at Russians in the street if we find that they refuse to go back from whence they came after being told to do so. Against Russia we COULD need American military might. Against Iran, we need no such thing. Stop lying about it.
    5. If the Americans realised that they DO NOT RULE THE WORLD and that THE AMERICAN DREAM IS FOR EVERYONE, not just for them, then we might have respect for them internationally. You might ask them whether they steal our technology routinely via electronic surveillance, file spurious patents in the US office to stop UK researchers filing proper ones, and whether they grant spurious patents without data in them to US organisations as a means to SLOW DOWN INNOVATION OVERSEAS. That is neither friendly, NOR IS IT COMPATIBLE WITH ALL US UTTERINGS ABOUT FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY. There must be a root and branch global examination of American practice in IP, which is nonetheless less bad than the Chinese, who simply nick everything.
    6. Do not listen any longer to Americans who claimed to have 'saved us' in WWII. Read your history. Churchill BEGGED THEM to come to our rescue. They wished us 'Good Luck'. Only when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour did America, IN ITS OWN INTERESTS, join the war in 1941. The biggest fight we had, the Battle of Britain, we fought on our own. Beat up any American who continues with this lying. Black list any American company who comes out with this crap. And remind them of all the false promises of US company investment in the UK bandied around the Press as part of the blackmail to get us to go to Iraq. I've seen NONE of that investment take place in the last six years. Because it was all made up. Lies. Is that any way to treat your friend? Eh??
    Posted by Rhys Jaggar on November 4, 2008 8:51 AM
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    Err....I hate to point this out but the American
    economy is disintegrating before our eyes. In the
    unlikely event that the USA still exists 3 or 4
    years from now they won't be giving 'help' to
    As for Felix Leiter, wasn't he in the CIA? I seem
    to recall a retired CIA man informing congress
    that they had killed over 50 million people in
    various coups, (Iran, etc) and counter terrorist
    operations (Nicuragua, etc) since the end of
    World War 2.
    I suppose some would call this real politic, but
    when countries go bankrupt these kind of things
    might get called what they really are, which is
    war crimes.
    It looks like the political class on both sides of
    the Atlantic are all set for a rendezvous with
    reality, coming soon. Enjoy!

    Posted by Jim on November 4, 2008 8:50 AM
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    The name of the game is to create new the enemies....SPECTRE and SMERSH in the world of James Bond and the Pentagon. This world of intrigue and great games continues today by waging wars on many fronts. War is no comic strip like James Bond. We fantasize about our new crusades. Our gadgets like cluster bombs and cruise missiles are our new toys. The shape of war has changed as the THIRD WORLD refuses to yield to our motley collection of James Bonds. We never see that we have become the invaders and the antagonists disrupting other cultures and religious traditions. We have entered a new era of terrorism to replace the struggle between the CIA/MI6 and the KGB. The Taliban are not international terrorists....nobody seems to care anymore as long as we have some wars on demand....we are not the good guys anymore.
    Posted by richard bond on November 4, 2008 8:49 AM
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    I'd add one caveat to the American cavalry imagery - the Falklands conflict.

    Remember the desperate position Reagan was in to be 'even handed' in his dealings with both sides? The awful Madeline Albright defending Argentina's military junta at the UN?

    When they finally came off the fence and backed the UK we had already put the task force together (although with much assistance from American intel).

    Perhaps the US knew all along we'd have the Argies over, but at the time it felt very different.

    I think their guiding thought is 'Its only business, nothing personal' - if it's good for trade and American jobs, then they'll come along. (Yes, it is a line from the Godfather). Sentiment will not bring them into battle beside the UK, or anyone else.

    Posted by Don of Croy on November 4, 2008 8:44 AM
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    It's a pity that TLA cannot spell - otherwise his remark just might have made more sense. Not that anyone with any sense would agree, though.
    Posted by Jessamine C. on November 4, 2008 8:43 AM
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    Ugh, yet another in a long line of (mainly Conservative) British politicians, many with US connections (Churchill, Macmillan et al)sucking up to America while Britain is divested of the technological know-how that might have helped it compete in the postwar world.

    Plus ca change.
    Posted by Paul on November 4, 2008 8:30 AM
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    Obama's problem is that by waving the Big Stick around so much Bush has shown it to be rather a weakened cane. It will be hard for Obama to persuade the baddies out there that he actually has a big stick and will use it effectively if the seet talking fails.
    By the way all those that keep complaining about Boris having another job have obviously not heard of this "multi tasking" thing that women have in abundance but is rare among men. Good on you Boris.
    Posted by Sidney H Amba on November 4, 2008 8:29 AM
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    No Boris:( USofA wants death to Basildon BOND&
    And rize ov Blogging. And do you want me to TALK
    NO, I want you to learn ENGLEESH !!!

    Posted by Posted by Cllr Ken Tiwari (illiterate) on November 4, 2008 8:27 AM
    Report this comment

    So, now that we arrogant pups have gotten our comeuppance where does that leave YOU ? You might have saved us all alot of bother if you'd just listened to what Hess had to propose.
    Posted by patrick on November 4, 2008 8:26 AM
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    So, now that we arrogant pups have gotten our comeuppance where does that leave YOU ? You might have saved us all alot of bother if you'd just listened to what Hess had to propose.
    Posted by patrick on November 4, 2008 8:26 AM
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    Good on you Boris. A very enjoyable and
    praiseworthy piece.

    Whoever wins - I can only hope that America
    gets back to the quiet voice - big stick approach.

    The US has lost a lot of friends around the world
    over the last 8 years, and it now time to rebuild
    bridges and get back to living in harmony.

    As for those people who claim that Bush has
    kept them safe since 9/11 - How many American
    lives have been lost since 9/11 in the name of
    "keeping them safe? How many died in London
    on 7/7 and how many died in Spain before then?

    How nervous are American citizens of travelling
    abroad now?

    Is this REALLY keeping you "safe"?
    Posted by Carl on November 4, 2008 8:10 AM
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    Why oh why did the republicans have to pick a candidate who was already dead?
    Posted by Mark Barber on November 4, 2008 8:00 AM
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    Arent you supposed to be running London,the USA has nothing to do with us and more to the point do not care about the UK.
    Get back to your day job, sort out London, and then maybe help us in our home country get rid of the traitor Brown.They will have their own problems if they vote bin Obama.
    In the meantime the USA can look after itself, as it always does.
    Posted by Geoff Newcastle on November 4, 2008 7:58 AM
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    This is an interesting article
    from Boris Johnson, showing, once
    again, why he is the model, frank, non-ideological Conservative--the
    kind Republicans need to rebuild
    their brand in the United States, or
    could add to what their leader David
    Cameroon impressively does in Britain to expand the base and give Labour a tougher challenge than it expected. The Ian Fleming's James
    Bond-Goldfinger comparison is what the world expects from America--
    to resume its global leadership,
    once again; especially after seeing
    what happened in Georgia. It makes
    America look better. Iraq in the
    pre-invasion years, had been a defier
    of UN Resolutions and a regime under
    which gross human-rights violations
    took place. But, the hasty, unilateral interventionism was not comensurate with the level of preconceived threat upon which the invasion was based, which irrepairably undermined the
    credibility of Bush administration;
    until the doomday-economy scenario and the Wall Street financial calamity delivered the coup de grace.

    But, on the other hand, it seems
    Barack Obama may employ James Bond's
    clever tactics, but, it's unlikely
    if elected, he would take America
    back to the path to robocop, cowboy
    diplomacy exemplified by the Bush
    presidency. It seems President
    Theodore Roosevelt, Johnson cited, is
    one of Obama's favorite Republican presidents; along with Ronald Reagan.
    But, he'll favor the "speak softly,
    carry the stick" approach to foreign
    policy. Already, the likes of Hugo
    Chavez of Venezuela have offered the will and desire to talk to a president Obama, should he be
    elected. Iran has expressed interest in an Obama's victory. Though not ringing enforsements the Obama camp will eagerly welcome before the election, it fits into path to the Obama Doctrine: "He's willing to talk to any leader or nation in the world without preconditions." Asked to explain during and after the debates; what it means is this: Any nation that wants to deal with America on friendly and diplomatic terms should say so. Then, covert, diplomatic avenues will open at
    low-envoy levels, to find how to resolve differences.

    Then, if this level succeeds, formal talks could begin at higher
    diplomatic levels; probably leading
    to re-establishment or establishment
    of diplomatic relations. That was how
    US-China relations was established,
    or US-Soviet ties enhanced. This is
    the basis of the exemplary Kissingerian diplomacy that produced
    some of the greatest, diplomatic
    breakthroughs in modern history at
    moments of near-global upheavals that
    could have put the world on the path of another global conflict had former
    US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger not been there. So, when
    Senator John McCain wanted to mock Obama's frank and open diplomatic instincts, he and other Republicans who wanted to use the "Obama Doctrine" against him, forgot the Kissingerist or Kissigerian, Republican origins.

    America did what no imperial nation
    had done in history. After World
    War II, it stood alone as the world's
    only superpower. Instead of dictating
    to the world, American created the
    Marshall Plan--interest-free, financial aid, developed by then
    secretary of state, George Marshall,
    to accelerate post-war reconstruction
    in Europe. America pursued the same
    goal in other nations to speed up
    decolonization and spread of democracy around the world. But,
    Soviet Union--a former World War II
    ally balked and reverted to ruthless
    imperialism that lasted barely for
    half a century with the collapse of
    the Soviet Empire in 1991.

    The point being made here is that America may have been stained by some deviant transgressions. But, it looks better with her contributions to humankind, and by comparison with many other nations. It seems many Americans may welcome the election of barack Obama beyond convention wisdom: To bury the ugly racial legacy. But, Obama wants to unite Red and Blue States of America, too.
    Igonikon Jack, USA
    Posted by Igonikon Jack on November 4, 2008 7:46 AM
    Report this comment

    Oi, Boris, If you're going to nick Churchillian phrases, at least acknowledge him. Re "after exhausting all other.....etc"
    Posted by David Stronge on November 4, 2008 7:34 AM
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    Yes Boris USA election need a caring&
    kind 007, to provide a healthy-
    Economy, universal health service, &
    Jobs and home, food for their families:-
    People before politics!

    And that apply to us, as well!
    Posted by Cllr Ken Tiwari (Independent) on November 4, 2008 7:12 AM
    Report this comment

    Yes Boris USA election need a caring&
    kind 007, to provide a healthy-
    Economy, universal health service, &
    Jobs and home, food their families:-
    People before politics!

    And apply to us, as well!
    Posted by Cllr Ken Tiwari (Independent) on November 4, 2008 7:10 AM
    Report this comment

    Of course it was and all the Lefties were exploding with outrage. And if they think Russia and China are just going to play nice they are even more deluded.
    Posted by Birch on November 4, 2008 6:57 AM
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    Yes Felix Leiter (America) is important to the story They are undoubtedly a team. And yet you miss the point that it is only James Bond (Britain) who can get into these places, find the real villains and respond with the control needed to win the day without destroying the world. It is the understated not the Gung-ho that proves to be most effective time after time. Bond leads when ever the opportunity presents, seduces where he can and fights if he must. Not to Shock and Awe but to speak quietly and carry a big stick.
    Posted by Neil Jones on November 4, 2008 6:15 AM
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    A good point, well made - luckily for Obama's supporters, the republicans ran a shrill & low campaign and it was left to Gov. Arnie to make the most telling remark about Obama (skinny legs and no meat on his policies) which perfectly captured his 2 greatest potential weaknesses (not tough enough to face down the bad guys & wishy washy ideas). Fortunately the thirst for change within America will carry him ove rthe finish line but I think it will be as close as JFK's result over Nixon.
    Posted by anthony on November 4, 2008 5:50 AM
    Report this comment

    Mmmm...not sure I agree totally. For one thing, the US has been constantly spooling technology from the UK and other countries for decades: The shuttle technology mostly originated from Canada's intellects whom designed the cancelled (due to American pressure) Avro Canada Arrow. A large proportion of the Joint Strike Fighter technology originates from the UK. Infact, US technolgy wouldn't be able to survive were it not for the vast contribution by European and Asian (namely Japanese) designed technology and it's imported intellectuals.
    As for helping out in ntimes of trouble, well yes. But only when America's interests are at stake. I don't need to go into the fact that WWI and WWII are testament to the fact that the US did not enter both wars to save the UK or any other country for that matter. It merely entered to protect it's own interests and because war was declared on it.
    I live in Taiwan. As Taiwan is a democracy, you would think that the US would be touting for it's independence from China. Instead, it prefers the "status quo" siuation, where it can both trade with China while at the same time, sell billions of dollars of defucnt, outdated military eqiupment to Taiwan at 3 times the cost of what it sells new technology to Isreal. Of course, Taiwan makes for a convenient aircraft carrier for it's military projection in Asia should it need to argue with Korea in the future.
    Funny how Kosovo was recognised as an independant state instanly, though, but mind you, the US is only looking after everyone else's interests, right?
    When all said and done, the US only helps those with it's own interests at heart, and this can be seen both now and throughout history.
    The US needs the rest of the world far more than we need the US.
    Posted by Dave on November 4, 2008 5:28 AM
    Report this comment

    Mmmm...not sure I agree totally. For one thing, the US has been constantly spooling technology from the UK and other countries for decades: The shuttle technology mostly originated from Canada's intellects whom designed the cancelled (due to American pressure) Avro Canada Arrow. A large proportion of the Joint Strike Fighter technology originates from the UK. Infact, US technolgy wouldn't be able to survive were it not for the vast contribution by European and Asian (namely Japanese) designed technology and it's imported intellectuals.
    As for helping out in ntimes of trouble, well yes. But only when America's interests are at stake. I don't need to go into the fact that WWI and WWII are testament to the fact that the US did not enter both wars to save the UK or any other country for that matter. It merely entered to protect it's own interests and because war was declared on it.
    I live in Taiwan. As Taiwan is a democracy, you would think that the US would be touting for it's independence from China. Instead, it prefers the "status quo" siuation, where it can both trade with China while at the same time, sell billions of dollars of defucnt, outdated military eqiupment to Taiwan at 3 times the cost of what it sells new technology to Isreal. Of course, Taiwan makes for a convenient aircraft carrier for it's military projection in Asia should it need to argue with Korea in the future.
    Funny how Kosovo was recognised as an independant state instanly, though, but mind you, the US is only looking after everyone else's interests, right?
    When all said and done, the US only helps those with it's own interests at heart, and this can be seen both now and throughout history.
    Posted by Dave on November 4, 2008 5:11 AM
    Report this comment

    Excellent column, Boris. I'm sure Obama supports there being a Jewish Home Land. Some of the people who most helped him get started in his political career are Jewish, and I think he is a basically loyal -- and fair -- person. We shall see. If he proves to be an ethnic and/or ideological fanatic, he would be much easier to impeach than (Lieberman&)mcCain would have been.

    As to the Bond between our countries, we have always been glad to provide the resources to fully implement the good policies and programs you folks conceive.

    The old Clint Eastwood film Firefox was an entertaining, if fanciful, illustration of that.

    All the best.

    Posted by Lou Coatney (Free 1st Alamein lunch-hour boardgame) on November 4, 2008 3:40 AM
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    I too, when growing up and through to my 50th, felt very much like Boris (although certainly no where near able to put things so elequently) about the relationship with America. Things changed after 2001, when I felt at each visit that I was now seen and handled as if a threat to them (incidently I also feel in the UK when subject to all the security checks), and now as I move closer to my 60th I see some light shining dimly. My political leanings are more Republican (Conservative at home) but this time, maybe a Democrat will truly make a real and positive difference. However, let us all hope Mr Obama has also learned from the mistakes Tony Blair made, and America does not have to pay for similar problems as we in the UK are doing now.
    Posted by Nick Bentley on November 4, 2008 3:36 AM
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    Obama is going to hand that stick over to other
    nations in the hope that they won't hate us for
    hogging the stick, the result being that no one
    gets saved.

    It is amazing to me that sensible people have
    ignored the very bad alliances that Obama has
    kept all these years. That should tell us quite a
    lot about his worldview. He may be calling on
    Hugo Chavez for advice.
    Posted by deane on November 4, 2008 3:34 AM
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    Typical Etonian: is nice to and about everyone; almost a perfect condescention.
    Posted by TLA on November 4, 2008 3:30 AM
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    Forget Obama v McCain for a second. Democrats have not been about carrying a "big stick" at all during "peacetime". Democrats are the party of butter not guns. The Democrats have also had a history of minimizing international political and military involvement. Wilson ran for a second term on "He Kept Us Out of War" (until the subs drove us into WWI), FDR won a third term on "I will not send your sons to fight Europe's Wars" until Pearl Harbor. And so it went through the rest of the 20th Century. Right or wrong with a Democrat you are not going to get guns or a world cop.
    Posted by Hank on November 4, 2008 3:27 AM
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    Outstanding piece. As an American I never really thought much about nationalities when watching my Bond movies. Bond was always "our" guy and there was very little linkage to country. The years of George W have caused Americans and the world to view things from an altered perspective. I preferred the old view.
    Posted by Jesse on November 4, 2008 3:14 AM
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    Poor Boris
    Still delusional. All style no substance. One can only have hope under the possibility of an Obama administration but those few, those pragmatic few, are preparing for the worst. Let the truth be known; he will have to march to the tune of Pelosi and Reid, the two most scary and vilified elected officials in the US. The agenda will be driven by them not Obama. Higher taxes, neutered military, stagnant economy. This is one of the greatest con jobs in US history. Oh for the days of Jimmy Carter!
    Posted by Tom P on November 4, 2008 2:28 AM
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    For all the young American men buried in cemetaries all over Europe, I say a humble thank you Boris Johnson.
    Posted by An American Citizen on November 4, 2008 2:26 AM
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    Good grief: an actual, nearly-positive article about the USA.

    In a British newspaper, no less!

    Well; glad I'm not standing. It's all a bit dizzying, you know.

    Well, in 2 1/2 months, we'll be rid of BushCo entirely (we hope), and six months after that, you can go back to ... normality, as I believe it's called.

    After all, our next president shall surely also be inadequate in British eyes, I have no doubt.
    Posted by Kenneth Johnson on November 4, 2008 2:12 AM
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    I don't mean to be funny, but haven't you got a massive city you should be running?
    Posted by I Crause on November 4, 2008 1:59 AM
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    Bernie Casey was another black actor who played Leiter, although this was in the non-canonical "Never Say Never Again".
    Posted by John Mack on November 4, 2008 1:55 AM
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    Take-take-take but never give. ugh... Apparently America is the only country capable of giving in this manner and only gets thank you's when convenient or politically correct. America is weaker immediately with Obama. Therefor your "protector" of convenience is weaker as well. You Europeans make me laugh. Bringing up our racist past (which is tamer than your own and in the past as evident with this election). you cheer for a black American president, yet would never, ever, elect one of your own. By cheering instead of doing, does it clean your collective guilt? We are more color blind here than anywhere else in the world, albeit not perfect. Get your own house in order, try to get some collective military strength and values and stop relying on us. You can't now that you have helped bring a socialist into power "over-the-pond". As our GDP dives because of the uniionization and lack of competetiveness that seperated us from you, so will our big pockets. The world will pay the price for what may happen..
    Posted by DrJones on November 4, 2008 1:38 AM
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    And so while Obama gets on and protects us from all the evils of the universe, we can get on with seducing lesbians.
    Posted by Laurie on November 4, 2008 1:11 AM
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    Obama will carry a big stick ... and use it to clobber the crowds who elected him with taxes and tariffs similar to those which put the "Great" in the 1930s Depression whilst inviting our enemies to unconditionally beat us with it. Thanks for supporting him, Mr. Johnson. For once, you allowed yourself to swallow the bait.
    Posted by elizabeth schumann on November 4, 2008 1:06 AM
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    Well, who else are you going to trust? The Germans? The Russians? The French? Only Uncle Sam is sucker enough to pony up for Europe's defense.
    Posted by Robert Phillips on November 4, 2008 1:06 AM
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    There is a concept called false choice. We do not have to make a choice between hating the US and wallowing in absolute dependency on it. In fact, if you insist on presenting that as the choice on offer, you simply drive people to one end of the spectrum or another on this issue.

    Supposing that we are locked into a permanent state of US-worship or of US-hating means that the US, and our supposed relationship with it come to dominate UK culture and politics to a far greater extent than it deserves.

    As it happens, I think that our relationship with the US is actually rather opportunistic. It firms up and emerges into public view when the US and UK have similar interests in world affairs. And it becomes less visible when the two countries' interests are not closely aligned. This makes perfect sense.

    And let's remember, the US has never done less than help itself when helping us. Over the years, the US has ended up owning our strategic position, our markets, our wartime Gold reserves, bases all over the world, useful sized chunks of our national territory, and our armed forces. Not a bad reward for selfless generosity, but again, about what you would expect.

    What baffles me is how anyone could imagine that things could be otherwise, especially anyone with even a passing familiarity with history. You can see the same pattern emerge over and over, and for the same reasons. We would be mad not to make use of American strength, and they would be mad not to extract the highest possible price short of killing the goose.

    I don't expect this process to end any time soon.
    Posted by jon livesey on November 4, 2008 12:54 AM
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    God help Britain if they are relying on Obama to be a faithful ally. And thank God President Bush has kept us safe since 9/11.
    Posted by Judith on November 4, 2008 12:45 AM
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    Too bad, I thought the new leader of London was a step up from red ken. A great many American's thank President Bush for keeping us safe and we have grave (and I mean GRAVE) doubts that Obama will. He does not have a history or inclination toward doing the right thing, only the expedient thing. If Britain is relying on Obama to be a reliable partner, then God help Britain.
    Posted by Judith on November 4, 2008 12:44 AM
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