For months, Tony Blair has been secretly lobbying the U.S. to locate a missile defense site in Britain. Poland and the Czech Republic are also in the running. The $90-billion “son of star wars” program has performed poorly in the past, and is still under development as it’s deployed.


In any event Mr Blair seems in a combative mood as he nears the exit. Twice in recent weeks he has urged Britain to retain its ability to exercise “hard”, or military, power if it wants to exert the “soft” power of diplomacy and peace-keeping that many of his European neighbours prefer.

Not everyone believes such shields can work. The system is a work in progress: it has been deployed even as parts are still being invented. America has gambled $90 billion so far that imperfect insurance is better than none in a risky world. Not for the first time, Mr Blair shares America’s view. A British missile site — built only after a battle royal at home — would bind Britain to that world-view for a generation. That may be exactly how Mr Blair wants it.

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