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Indeed, this practice of power-balancing-power follows a pattern of history from ancient Greece to the modern era, when Britain confronted France, France and Britain confronted Germany, and all those countries then joined the United States to confront the Soviet Union.

The Bush administration believes it will break this pattern because of the virtue with which it will exercise its power. That conviction, however, challenges the philosophy that founded the United States: unchecked power will invariably be abused. "If men were angels, no government would be necessary," James Madison famously wrote in the Federalist Papers. Because we are not angels, "ambition must be made to counteract ambition" so that the government is "unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression." Thus, when international coalitions form to oppose the United States, they will only be putting into practice the philosophy of checks and balances espoused by the American Founders.

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