The past has made Britain, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, noticeably more cautious about joining US-led military action against terrorist group Islamic State than other countries.
Even then the wars were unpopular – a million people took to the streets of London to demonstrate against the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Technically the prime minister has the authority to approve strikes without parliamentary backing.
But the widespread assessment that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan achieved little led Cameron to recall parliament last year to vote on whether to join in US plans to launch military strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Cameron lost face at home and abroad when he unexpectedly lost the vote. But he insisted that he would respect parliament’s decision.
This time he has spent more time preparing the ground before recalling parliament to vote on joining airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq.
He has been careful to emphasize that there will be no “boots on the ground” and that, after a request from the Iraqi government, there is a legal basis for airstrikes.
Joining in strikes against Islamic State in Syria – which would not be supported by al-Assad – is not on the table for the moment and Cameron has said parliament would once again be asked to vote if such a move was to be made.