Thucydides, the ancient Greek writer, reports that at the meeting of representatives from Athens and Melos, the Athenians stated, "But you and we should say what we really think, and aim only at what is possible, for we both alike know that into the discussion of human affairs the question of justice only enters where the pressure of necessity is equal, and that the powerful exact what they can, and the weak grant what they must."

The ancient Greeks knew, from experience, that dealings between states were based on relative power: the stronger got what they could, the weaker gave up what they must. This relationship between states reflected the drive to power, or will to power, that ever lived in the human breast, ready to grow and flower when circumstances were favorable. Again, Thucydides relates: "For of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a law of their nature wherever they can rule they will. This law was not made by us, and we are not the first who have acted upon it; we did but inherit it, and shall bequeath it to all time, and we know that you and all mankind, if you were as strong as we are, would do as we do."

This conception from the Greeks finds expression in Christian doctrine as the Doctrine of Depravity, or Human Sinfulness. Our fallen natures are sinful, and one expression of innate depravity is the desire to dominate others. Reinhold Niebuhr based his system of Christian Realism on the insight that while grace may permit an individual to repent and restrain himself from self-assertion, a group or a social system such as a nation or a business cannot and will not restrain itself unless forced to. Our Founders understood this human tendency to tyranny, and so tried to protect against it.

It does not seem to me that Barak Obama really gets it, down deep in his heart. He appears to be another Jimmy Carter, thinking that if we are nice to other nations, talk with them, give no offense, then we all can sit down together and sing folk-songs.

Peace through strength, it ever must be, for there is no peace through talk unless supported by might (what the Athenians referred to as necessity or power).