The great English moralist of the Eighteenth Century, Dr Johnson, once said that public affairs vex no man.
So it is not astonishing, either, that so many of us in Europe continue our lives without noticing, let alone thinking about, the seismic shifts in world power that have occurred in the last two or three decades. In part this is because we have already lived with a seismic shift without really noticing it: the transformation of Europe from forefront to backwater. We in Europe are at the front end of nothing, except perhaps taking holidays. Not that I am against holidays: in fact, speaking personally, I rather prefer them to exercising power.
It seems to be an unfortunate fact about the world, however, that one can maintain one’s position in it, reduced as it might already be, only at the expense of effort. You cannot just coast along in the hope of remaining where you are. But our mentalities have not changed with the change in the world situation.<.../>