Barack Obama’s heroic status is not what it was in Britain. Europe, and Britain’s role in it, have disappointed the US, as has our military performance in Iraq and elsewhere, our dwindling military budgets too. Guantánamo Bay remains open and civil liberties curtailed; the mighty US banking system has let us all down. And then there is the rise of China. The first Pacific-born president, grandson of a victim of British torture during the Mau Mau rebellion, has no emotional ties to offset his growing preoccupation with Asia.