Way back in 2002, as the war drums for the invasion of Iraq rose to a crescendo, the Bush Administration suddenly decided that they needed allies. They didn't necessarily have to fight; they just had to show up and put their names on the list as part of the "Coalition of the Willing" (the fin-de-siecle equivalent of the elder Bush's winning coalition in 1991).
Countries such as Palau and Costa Rica signed up, although Turkey rather rudely rebuffed its NATO ally (especially after Bush offered generous economic incentives, or "bribes"). But the biggest contributors to the debacle in Iraq were (after the United States) the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland.
Now fast forward. Bush lost Spain after the 2004 elections there toppled the sympathetic Prime Minister; PM Blair of the UK was revealed as nothing more than a lapdog and was eventually forced from office.
Poland elected a new Prime Minister, Donald Tusk (who looks a bit tight, but we have to recall that in Alabama the Tusk-aloosa) who has announced that he's pulling the Polish contingent out of the coalition. That leaves ...
Australia, where last night the people went to the polls and turned out the National/Liberal alliance of PM John Howard. The defeat was so comprehensive that, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Howard may actually lose the Parliamentary seat he's held for the past 33 years.
The orchestra is starting to look like a one-man band.