We continue our translation sheet of the obscure and hypocritical messages we are likely to hear during the foreign policy debates into plain English (err… a plain translation to English from the original plain French)…
“It set itself up as a tribunal for judging all peoples, and at the end of every war decided the penalties and rewards each had deserved. It took part of the domain of the conquered peoples for Rome’s allies, and by this means accomplished two things, attaching to Rome those kings from whom it had little to fear and much to hope for, and weakening others from whom it had little to hope for and everything to fear.
Allies were used to make war on an enemy, but then the destroyers were at once destroyed. Philip was conquered by means of the Aetolians, who immediately afterward were annihilated for having joined with Antiochus. Antiochus was conquered with the help of the Rhodians; but after receiving splendid rewards, they were forever humbled on the pretext of having demanded that peace be made with Persia.
When the Romans had several enemies on their hands they made a truce with the weakest, which believed itself fortunate to obtain it, placing great value on the postponement of its ruin.
Although the title of being their ally entailed a kind of servitude, it was nevertheless much sought after. Those holding it were sure to receive insults only from the Romans, and there were grounds for hoping these would be smaller. Thus, to obtain it there were no services peoples and kings were not ready to render, and no baseness to which they would not stoop.”
“Since it was their custom always to speak as masters, the ambassadors they sent to peoples who had not yet felt their power were sure to be mistreated — which was a sure pretext for waging a new war.”
Montesquieu, Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline, 1734 (CHAPTER VI. THE CONDUCT THE ROMANS PURSUED TO SUBJUGATE ALL PEOPLES)