Given that Nato has kept the peace in Europe, if not the world, for seven decades, its 70th birthday party in Watford, appropriately enough, is turning out to be a rather low-key, down-hearted and underpowered affair. They’ve not even invited Elton John along.

The birthday presents have certainly not been up to much, especially given the season. Not so much a “Joyeux Noel!” from Emmanuel Macron, instead comes a sneer that Nato is “brain dead”. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey would rather be at someone else’s party – Vladimir Putin’s – and can’t seem to make his mind up whose side he is on. Donald Trump is as grumpy as ever about paying the bills. Boris Johnson, the jolly host, wants to avoid any photo opportunities with his most powerful guest, the US president, because there’s an election on and Mr Trump is a toxic commodity for much of the UK’s electorate.

Other than that, all is harmony.

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