Nostalgia about past "glories" is unwise. They were never as great as they were made out to be. There are still a few British politicians and oldies who dream of empire and of a British-led commonwealth outside Europe. There are also some Japanese nationalists who seem to dream of a unique Japan purified from foreign taint and able to assume the leadership of Asia. These people need to get real.

The world in the 21st century has become more prosperous, but also more unequal. Old dangers remain and there are new challenges.

The end of the Cold War should have made Armageddon unthinkable, but there has been no reduction in the number of nuclear-armed countries. The agreement with Iran has probably postponed a nuclear threat, but the recent North Korean nuclear test underlines that Armageddon is still a possibility if a maniac has access to the nuclear button.