The adjustment British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made in 1943 when it became evident that the United States was going to be much more powerful than Britain remains in place. Britain's willingness to undertake military burdens created by the United States over the last 10 years allows one to see this strategy in action. Whatever the British thought of Iraq, a strategy of remaining the most reliable ally of the United States dictated participation. At the same time, the British participated deeply in the European Union while hedging their bets. Britain continues to be maintaining its balance, this time not within Europe, but, to the extent possible, between Europe and the United States.
The British strategy represents a classic case of a nation accepting reversal, retaining autonomy, and accommodating itself to its environment while manipulating it. All the while Britain waits, holding its options open, waiting to see how the game plays out and positioning itself to take maximum advantage of its shifts in the environment.
It is a dangerous course, as Britain could lose its balance. But there are no safe courses for Britain, as it learned centuries ago. Instead, the British buy time and wait for the next change in history.