PUBLIC OPINION, said Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, "is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy and newspaper paragraphs." If Peel had such low regard for public opinion, it is easy to imagine how he would have felt about "world opinion." He would have denied that any such thing existed, or, if it did exist, that it had any business interfering with the sovereign actions of the British Empire.

That was a century and a half ago. Since then, the British Empire has expired (whether it could have prolonged...

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