Here is a quote from a letter by Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams. I was reading the biography of Adams and I found this. It reminds me strikingly of the dilemma proposed by Updike - "The tricky thing about peace," Bech suggested, "is that it doesn't always come from being peaceable."
“ I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature, and that power whether vested in many or few is ever grasping …
That great fish swallow up the small and he who is most strenuous for the rights of the people, when vested with power, is as eager after the prerogatives of government. You tell me of degrees of perfection to which human nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances.”
from a letter by Abigail Adams