… you know as well as we do that, when these matters are discussed by practical people, the standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel and that in face the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept….

“It is a general and necessary law of nature to rule wherever one can. This is not a law we made ourselves, nor were we the first to act upon it when it was made. We found it already in existence, and we shall leave it to exist for ever among those who comes after us. We are merely acting in accordance with it, and we know that you or anybody else with the same power as our would be acting in precisely the same way.

– from the ‘Melian dialogue’ of the Athenians to the inhabitants of the island of Melos, as recounted by Thucydides

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