Men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other resources.

Abba Eban (1915-2002) Israeli politician and diplomat [b. Aubrey Solomon Eban]
Speech, Japan (19 Mar 1967)

Regarding the problems between Israel and her neighbors Other references by Eban:
  • "Nations do behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives." (6 Jun 1967)
  • "The question is whether there is any reason to believe that such a new era may yet come to pass. If I am sanguine on this point, it is because of a conviction that men and nations do behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives. Surely the other alternatives of war and belligerency have now been exhausted." (Speech, United Nations, 16 Jun 1967)
Eban used the phrases in various ways, but generically for all nations, for many years. Variants referencing America are usually attributed starting in the early 1980s to Winston Churchill, but not found in his writings or attributions to him at the time:
  • "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all other possibilities."
  • "The Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted."
  • "You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else."
  • "The Americans will always do the right thing, after they've exhausted all the alternatives."
For more info, see here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Nov-12
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