Only six weeks after President George W Bush'svictory, the vibrations continue euphoric. Depressed Democrats wonder if they could ever win again. Pundits ponder theses about eternal Republican hegemony. Talk is of more Bush power, more neo-conservative solutions, more variations on a narrow agenda. But is that quite what unfolding events tell us? Or will the administration be filled with mere mediocrities?
History will judge us. Well, of course. It's what politicians in a jam always say when the judges of the moment grow baleful. But what, pray, if there are no such sages left? What if the world has taken Francis Fukuyama much too literally?
There are some good deeds in this bad old world. There are some bitter enmities and bloody wars that can end in peace. There is always hope, practical hope â€” if only you want it enough. Which is where Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland come in.
Even the ambition is gargantuan. Only an American pollster such as the Pew Research Centre would contemplate asking 38 000 people in 44 countries (speaking 63 languages and dialects) what they think of the United States.