I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing in the early hours of the morning in the UK when it was confirmed that Ronald Reagan had won the US presidency. At the time we were appalled - a 'B' movie actor, a rather stupid and vain man who dyed his hair, a man unacquainted with the complexity of realpolitik, we thought. East Anglia back then was little more than a vast USAF airfield; F4 Phantoms and A10 Thunderbolts screamed overhead at low level from dawn until dusk, the last of our own fantastic Lightnings having been retired from RAF Wattisham in 1974. The faint stench of unburnt kerosene hung in the air and on our clothes and somewhere over to the east vast Soviet tank armies and millions of jackbooted killers stood ready to steamroll over Europe headed for Southwold and Walberswick.
The fear of nuclear war was endemic and ever present. Our rural counties had ICBMs targeted at them, we knew. Members of the Royal Observer Corps, normally village postmen or somesuch, would don their berets each day after work and scuttle down into their holes in the ground, mashing-up forty feet below the fields, with the milk rota pinned up next to the expected megadeaths from various megatonnages of nuclear blasts. We were terrified that the stupid, ignorant, blundering Reagan would provoke war with Russia, that he was gambling with our young lives.
Well, we were as wrong as were the nation's finest economists who scribbled chain letters explaining why the housewife Margaret Thatcher would be a disaster for jobs and growth. And of course we've heard it all again about President Trump. And on past form, that's why I'm less concerned about a trade war, tariffs and sanctions, mutual economic destruction and all the rest than I should be. In fact, the more that the world's economists are shrieking how dreadful it all is, the more experience tells me that it may just work, but perhaps not in the way that Mr Trump thinks it will (those US rust belt jobs will never return - but tax cuts, deregulation and fracking will compensate). Reagan never expected the wall to come down, after all.
EU tariffs on cranberries, bourbon and denim jeans? Give me strength. BTW, preiselbeere or Lingonberry sauce is a perfect substitute for cranberry sauce - sold in big, cheap jars and also perfect with venison, I wouldn't use Bourbon to clean the sink and my denim is made in China and SE Asia by slaves. If I couldn't get hold of Dickies shirts and boots, on the other hand, that would be a disaster ..