Lord, how times change! Those of us who grew up in the 1950s and 60s did so amid two geopolitical certainties.
The Soviet Union, skulking behind the iron curtain and bristling with enough nuclear warheads to destroy the world many times over, was the clear and present danger to the west.
The United States, armed with enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the world even more times over, was the bulwark of democracy.
How scared we all were when the Cold War looked like becoming hot during the Cuba missiles crisis of 1962 and Nikita Krushchev went to the UN in New York to bang his shoe on the desk.
How relieved we all were that President Kennedy kept his nerve and faced down the Soviet bully boys.
Forty-four years later, the Soviet Union is history (although still a menace to us in Britain thanks to Vladimir Putin's chokehold on our gas supplies) and it is the US that is throwing its weight around and endangering the liberty of others.
I refer to the one-sided new extradition agreement we have with the US that is resulting in British business-men suspected of corporate wrongdoing being whisked off at the drop of a writ to some Stateside version of Guantanamo Bay in orange boiler suits and shackles to face trial - eventually.
The Extradition Act 2003 means that British citizens can be sent to the US without the federal authorities having to bother about legal niceties such as proving to a British court that those it wants have a case to answer.
We were told the new arrangement was needed as part of the global "war against terrorism" and was therefore, unarguably, a Good Thing.
But since January 2004, more than half the US applications for extradition from Britain relate to alleged financial crimes.
Nat West bankers David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby and the former boss of engineering group Morgan Crucible, Ian Norris, are currently in the headlines.
Not one alleged terrorist has suffered the same fate and during the same period the US has reciprocated only once by forcibly shipping one of its own citizens over here.
It stinks - so badly, in fact, that CBI director general Sir Digby Jones, no less, has called for Britain to tear up the so-called "special relationship" we fondly believe we have enjoyed since World War Two.
It is also making the US a dangerous place in which to do business.
Sir Digby's rage has only been made worse by the fact that the Americans have frozen Rolls-Royce out of the project to develop the engine for the new Joint Strike Fighter. But a word of warning needs to sounded here.
It's tempting at the moment to tell the US "we're not going to play with you any more" and stomp off home with our bat and ball.
We must resist that on purely economic grounds, even though this appalling bit of legislation needs repealing.
The Anglo-American brand of dynamic capitalism - brutal as it might be at times - will always be a far better prospect than the sclerotic social-model practised by our European partners. ..SUPL: