Pieces of a puzzle, fragments of questions, no answers.

You should know that scene near the start of Ridley Scott's movie gladiator. The old emperor tells Maximus that despite the corruption in the capital city, "Rome is the light." Holding the barbarians back. The analogy to the viewers is clear – The leader of the free world stands proud despite the conniving politics.

But what makes "the leader of the free world"? There's more to leadership than having the biggest bombs and a burning desire to use them. By having the biggest guns, can you force others to accept you as leader of the free? That's not leadership and it's not freedom.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the thugs in the white house are not just fools, not even just a danger to their own country, but a danger to everyone else on earth as well.

"The people always get the government they deserve". So they say. But do we really? If you can't blame a country's voters for their government, whom can you blame? Media? That same voting public keeps those media in business by buying their products.

Whoever came up with the "government they deserve" crack probably didn't have just democracy in mind. He seems to be saying "Don't let yourself be oppressed. If you don't struggle, you will have let yourself be subjugated". Free you mind and your ass will follow. The same applies in countries where the democratic process is less than perfect. Indeed it's easier, as you have in that vote a peaceful lever with which to increase your freedom. If enough people care strongly enough, a candidate will appear.

Did the USA not care about their last election? Did the Iraqis not have in themselves to rid themselves of Saddam Hussein? Did both countries get governments they didn't deserve?

America for a start has the lowest level of aid to developing countries in the western world, and half of that goes to Israel anyway, which is not a particularly poor country as these things go. It's basically a hand out at the behest of a special interest group for political ends to prop up a government of increasingly questionable behaviour. Most Americans are unaware of this. Can they be blamed for it? The principle that ignorance of the law is no excuse is founded on the correct idea that you cannot be wilfully ignorant when behaving wrongly.

The US foreign policy defenders admit that mistakes have been made in the past, dictators propped up, but that shouldn't stop them from doing the right thing now. So when exactly does someone transgress from good person who occasionally makes mistakes and does a bad thing over to person who does bad things most of the time? When do the apologies and promises of change stop cutting it?

Dissing America as a whole on this site (founded, developed, maintained, fixed, loved, cared for, hosted, paid for and made wonderful by Americans) is a mug's game.

However, the view looking across the Atlantic from here in London is frightening. You can almost hear the American ranks and the minds closing. Over here, radicalisation and polarisation due to American actions has been predicted - "100 Osama bin Ladens being forged in the middle east" etc. But I see it happening in ordinary Britons too.