"Maybe we shouldn't be too hard on President Bush for donning a mantle hardly of his own making but a well-worn national idea created in the triumph and hegemony of victory in the Second World War. Maybe somebody had to wear those fraying purple robes one last time and see how much longer the world would carry on saluting; to pull the levers of the massive US economy one last time and see if there was any limit to the cash that the engine could generate; to throw the formidable US war machine into two simultaneous foreign wars and test - and find - a limit," - Matthew Parris, as shrewd as he is English.

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