THE NATION: The Strength of Coalition

In the lexicon of political clichés none is more grimily thumbed than "the weakness of coalitions." And that is odd. considering how many of the great actions of history, from Themistocles to Marlborough to Eisenhower, were won by coalitions.

Perhaps coalitions have something beyond mere weight of numbers to balance their obvious disadvantages. A single nation can act and fight in the name of its immediate interest; with coalitions the common purpose tends to be more sublimated and often to partake of concern (real or assumed) for justice. An alliance is not as...

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