A spirited, provocative analysis of Britain's diplomacy, based on the premise that statesmen are secondary, compared to the realities of winds and currents and the trim of the ship. Britain's decline was inevitable. Her policy as the "first liberal and mature capitalist polity" was to defend her interests without jeopardizing her unique domestic freedom and laissez-faire economy. Porter sees Britain's reluctant post-1945 entry into NATO and the EEC as an acknowledgement of her final inability to assert or defend her own interests. A book of excessive-that is to say, sometimes specious-clarity, but thoughtful, lucid and informative.