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Watching a sophisticated democratic society knowingly walk into a predictable and avoidable national disaster is a rare and alarming experience.Most British politicians are well aware that leaving the European Union with no agreement on the post-Brexit relationship will cause enormous damage to their country. A minority of deluded ideologues doesn't mind the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU with no deal. Most politicians on the left and the right including Prime Minister Theresa May, who before the Brexit referendum was in favor of Britain remaining in the EU know better. True, there are obvious differences: Britain is not threatening to go to war with anybody, despite all the nostalgic guff about Spitfires and Dunkirk, and Japanese democracy, such as it was, had been pretty much strangled by military factions and authoritarian state control.The main strategist of the Pearl Harbor attack, Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, a highly intelligent man who had studied at Harvard and knew the U.S. very well, had been a vocal opponent of the war.As with the British Brexit negotiations with the EU, it was never quite clear to the Americans what the Japanese really wanted.The last hope of men who saw disaster looming but refused to act was that more talks with the Americans would save them.
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