It is truth, in the old saying, that is 'the daughter of time,' and the lapse of half a century has not left us many of our illusions. Churchill tried and failed to preserve one empire. He failed to preserve his own empire, but succeeded in aggrandizing two much larger ones. He seems to have used crisis after crisis as an excuse to extend his own power. His petulant refusal to relinquish the leadership was the despair of postwar British Conservatives; in my opinion this refusal had to do with his yearning to accomplish something that 'history' had so far denied him—the winning of a democratic election.
On August 29th, 1949, when the Soviets conducted their own successful nuclear test, our love for the bomb began to lessen. Perhaps it was foolhardy to think that we alone could hold fire in a fennel stalk. At 5:29 a.m. on that July morning, all we saw was the future when, in fact, we should have remembered how Zeus chained Prometheus to a mountaintop and sent an eagle to eat his liver daily. Night after night, his liver regrew, and day after day, the eagle ate it.
Following the end of the Cold War, there was much discussion concerning the point of NATO. In the event, it was reinvented as a means of reducing Russia's reach on its western frontiers and seeking to isolate it. Its former East European client states were admitted to NATO, as were the Baltic states.