Saturday, May 07, 2005

"The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli

Nicolo Machiavelli(1469-1527)

Relevance to Iraq?

"... there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, ...; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have actual experience of it. Thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans, the others only defend him half-heartedly, so that between them he runs great danger."

"For it must be noted, that men must either be caressed or else annihilated; they will revenge themselves for small injuries, but cannot do so for great ones; the injury therefore that we do to a man must be such that we need not fear his vengeance.

But maintaining a garrison ..., one will spend much more, and consume all the revenues of that state in guarding it, so that the acquisition will result in a loss, besides giving much greater offense, since it injures every one in that state with the quartering of the army on it; which being an inconvenience felt by all, every one becomes an enemy, and these are enemies which can do mischief, as though beaten, they remain in their homes."

Classic Machiavellianisms

"That in taking a state the conqueror must arrange to commit all his cruelties at once, so as not to have to recur to them every day."

“Love is a bond men easily break,” says Machiavelli, “but fear of punishment holds them in check. Therefore, it is better to be feared than loved.”

"... fortune is a woman, and it is necessary, if you wish to master her, to conquer her by force ..."