Johnson and Trump in Biarritz, France, August 2019
I-Images / eyevine / Redux

“Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role.” What might have appeared as an unexceptional observation by former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, made during a speech at West Point in December 1962, created an uproar in the United Kingdom. London’s Daily Express spoke of a “stab in the back.” British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan felt compelled to defend his country’s honor, writing in an open letter, “Mr. Acheson has fallen into an error which has been made by quite a lot of people in the course of the last four hundred

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