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'Yes, Prime Minister' Explains U.S. Foreign Policy

8:39 PM, Feb 22, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Even decades later, the classic BBC shows Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister remain illuminating and biting commentaries on modern politics. All of the discussion regarding the lackluster U.S. response to the crisis in Libya reminds me of this great bit from Yes, Prime Minister, which goes a long way to explaining the way Europe and the U.S. react to international crises:

Bernard Woolley: What if the Prime Minister insists we help them?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Then we follow the four-stage strategy.
Bernard Woolley: What's that?
Sir Richard Wharton: Standard Foreign Office response in a time of crisis.
Sir Richard Wharton: In stage one we say nothing is going to happen.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
Sir Richard Wharton: In stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there's nothing we *can* do.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it's too late now.

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