"How far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying
to defend from without?" --Dwight D. Eisenhower
what does the 'from within' and 'from without' mean?
This is the Old English meaning of 'without' (outside), which had the opposite meaning to 'within' (inside). It is a fairly unusual meaning today, and can often confuse even native English speakers. In fact, I remember when I was a schoolboy of about 10 being totally perplexed by the words to the old traditional hymn "There is a green hill far away":
"There is a green hill far away,
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all."
I notice from Googling this just now that the references have all replaced the original word 'without' with 'outside' (which was the intended meaning) . So, obviously I wasn't the only one...
Anyway, what Eisenhower was questioning was how far you can go before you destroy internally ('from within') what you are trying to protect from external forces ('from without').