PS Bearing in mind that I like to pose as a well-informed commentator on world affairs, I flatter myself often quite successfully, courtesy of The Economist (NB Re-reading that just now, it occurs to me that it will not be at all obvious at first blush that my tongue is in my cheek. Perhaps the ‘courtesy of The Economist’ hints at it, perhaps not. I now think not. So I thought of removing the comment entirely, but then I thought why not just add this note in italics which is so self-deprecatory the reader will think ‘well, he's just got to be sincere. Poor chap, us thinking he was a bighead? Poor chap’. The great thing is that by adding this note, I score several brownie points: you - I hope - think ‘well, he is modest after all’, ‘he is quite self-aware, that lad, I’ll give him that’, ‘do you know, I think he is entirely wrong about himself - he IS very well-informed’), I can’t let this entry go without a word or two about the current spat between Putin, Trump, Jim Jim King in North Korea (or whatever he calls himself), and various foreign ministers over Syria, chemical attacks, rocket attacks and the Lord knows what else: goodness, isn’t it just too awful!
Incidentally, there is great anguish in Whitehall (in London) about whether the UK is at risk of losing its influence in world affairs. To put that into context, an American chap, Someone or Other Shapiro, who once worked as a foreign affairs to Obama who appeared on BBC 2’s Newsnight commented that the question of Britain’s loss of influence might have set several politicos and mandarins quaking in their boots in the Foreign Office, but in Washington, not only are they not talking of nothing else, they haven’t even got around to talking about it.
Apparently, making sure departmental coffee rounds in State Department aren’t cocked up takes priority. And then, of course, there are several other matters to consider. Such as Russia, Syria, North Korea etc.