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Kill and Let Die

NEW YORK – By a strange but fitting coincidence, US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, held their final debate – which focused on foreign policy – just as the new James Bond film, Skyfall, had its world premiere in London. Although 007, who turned 50 this year, is a British-born global brand, his influence on the American political psyche – and that psyche’s influence on Bond – is obvious.

Indeed, the latest production is a British-American partnership, and the violent special-operations action hero that Bond has come to embody reflects US assumptions about foreign policy and the rule of law. The presidential debate merely reinforced the dominant real-time plotline: Assassinating people (including US citizens) solely on the president’s orders, once considered a war crime, has become an applause line.