Fifteen months into his presidency, Barack Obama has demonstrated by getting his health care legislation through Congress that there is no constitutional propriety he will not tear asunder in building his legacy.

It did not matter to President Obama, in pursuing his legacy, the cost of ObamaCare to the U.S. economy, and who will pay for it or how.

The U.S. economy is faced with a rising tide of budget deficits and national debt with spending recklessly exceeding revenue. The figures are astronomical and make no sense to those Americans who habitually vote for Democrats.

The ratio of federal debt to GDP is shooting northwards, as a recent Wall Street Journal editorial described. In 2007, when Democrats took control of Congress, the ratio was 36.2%, a year later 40.2%, “reaching an expected 63.6% this year, 68.6% next year and above 70% later this decade even by White House reckoning.” ObamaCare might send the ratio past 100%.

Who pays for ObamaCare, presently estimated at a trillion dollars and climbing? Much of it will have to be by borrowing, and hence health care for Americans will be paid for in part by China, which is expected to buy U.S. treasury bills as Washington’s main creditor.

Behind the bravado of the Obama administration and Democratic leadership in Congress there lurks the unmistakable sign of America negotiating the terms of withdrawal from the position of global responsibility it assumed at the end of the Second World War.

When British voters elected Clement Attlee in May 1945 as prime minister, handing electoral defeat to Churchill and his Conservative party, not many imagined how swiftly the curtain would be brought down on the British empire.

Britain’s withdrawal from India, leaving behind a divided subcontinent and human wreckage in 1947, was a prelude of how speedily Queen Victoria’s mighty Britannia would become just another member state — no different in status from that of Portugal or Italy — of the European Union.

The cost of such a precipitated withdrawal is still being paid for in blood and treasure more than six decades later in southwest Asia and Palestine. But there stood in 1945 the United States ready and willing to step into the breach and hold the line between freedom and tyranny from Berlin to the Korean peninsula.

With Obama in the White House, the hyenas are straining to break loose, and at their head is Iran, brazenly pushing ahead to become a nuclear weapon state.

In 2010 and looking ahead, it is the shadow of Obama bowing to monarchs and appeasing despots that blurs the line between freedom and tyranny. It signals a U.S. retreat that could precipitate wreckage in magnitude greater than what followed Britain’s scramble from India.

Attlee is remembered for introducing in Britain National Health Service, nationalizing the coal and steel industries and turning the once “sceptred isle” into a shrunken welfare state.

The irony of ObamaCare, financed by China, could be a nuclear Iran, Israel in the eye of a new more deadly round of terrorism, the Persian Gulf region dangerously destabilized, the Muslim world’s fanatics exultant and Europe more cravenly beholden to Arab oil sheikdoms.