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jerryking : niccolò_machiavelli   13

Josef Joffe: Dear Vladimir: Congratulations. You Read My Book - WSJ.com
By
Josef Joffe
March 6, 2014 | WSJ |

Be both ruthless and prudent—just what I prescribed in "The Prince." You Russians have distilled my wisdom into a pithy phrase: Kto kovo—who dominates whom? And you have beautifully executed my central idea. I never preached violence to the max, but the "economy of force"—how to get more with less. The Crimean caper was a masterpiece of smart power politics.

Grab opportunities when you saw them. First, you calculated the "correlation of forces," to use a Soviet term....Then, you assessed political geography correctly. The rule is never to take on a superior enemy like the West on his own turf. You test his mettle on his periphery...Next, factor in geography proper. Globally, the West is far superior to Russia, but regionally, you were the Man. You had the "interior lines," as the great Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz put it; the West was a thousand miles away. And your troops were already in place in Crimea—tanks, planes and all....Now to the balance of interests, a more subtle concept. The EU has been contesting you over Ukraine, but more as a confused afterthought. Your country had more compelling fish to fry: Ukraine as former Russian heartland plus an ethnic majority in Crimea, a strategic gem that Khrushchev had absentmindedly given away to Ukraine 60 years ago.

So you also held the psychological advantage that comes with having more skin in the game. Khrushchev blithely ignored the balance of interests in the Caribbean. Otherwise he would not have moved his missiles into Cuba in 1962, 90 miles off the U.S. coast.....Best of all, you are a true Machiavellian when it comes to the economy of violence. Just enough, never too much, and with minimal risks. So you didn't grab eastern Ukraine, which might have really riled the West and triggered a costly insurgency. You merely harvested the low-hanging fruit of Crimea, and with a fabulous profit. ....Here, my pupil, beckons the biggest payoff. You need not fear the democratic contagion of the Maidan spilling over into your own country. Not for a long time.

What a boost to your "street cred" in the rivalry of nations! With a small investment, you have amassed what Mr. Obama no longer has and what the Europeans lost long ago: a reputation for ruthlessness and the readiness to use force.

Power is when you don't have to wield it—when you don't have to threaten, let alone execute, to get your way.....We live in a split world. In Asia and Africa, mayhem is as present or possible as ever. Call this the "Damascus-Pyongyang Belt." Yet in the "Berlin-Berkeley Belt," force as a tool of statecraft has virtually disappeared....the U.S.—is now loath to resort to the ultima ratio. And that offers you wondrous opportunities. When the supply of force contracts, even a little bit goes a long way, as you have proved in Crimea.
mayhem  Niccolò_Machiavelli  Vladimir_Putin  Crimea  Russia  power  influence  statecraft  geopolitics  Ukraine  improvisation  rogue_actors  skin_in_the_game  political_geography  ruthlessness  large_payoffs  Carl_von_Clausewitz  strategic_geography  hard_power  stratagems  power_plays 
march 2014 by jerryking
Why Machiavelli Still Matters - NYTimes.com
By JOHN SCOTT and ROBERT ZARETSKY
Published: December 9, 2013

“The Prince” is a manual for those who wish to win and keep power. The Renaissance was awash in such how-to guides, but Machiavelli’s was different. To be sure, he counsels a prince on how to act toward his enemies, using force and fraud in war. But his true novelty resides in how we should think about our friends. It is at the book’s heart, in the chapter devoted to this issue, that Machiavelli proclaims his originality.

Set aside what you would like to imagine about politics, Machiavelli writes, and instead go straight to the truth of how things really work, or what he calls the “effectual truth.” [Effectual truth means not only that the truth will have an effect, a consequence, but also that its effect will show. Those who try to live by a profession of good will fail and be shown to fail. ] You will see that allies in politics, whether at home or abroad, are not friends....Machiavelli teaches that in a world where so many are not good, you must learn to be able to not be good. The virtues taught in our secular and religious schools are incompatible with the virtues one must practice to safeguard those same institutions. The power of the lion and the cleverness of the fox: These are the qualities a leader must harness to preserve the republic.

For such a leader, allies are friends when it is in their interest to be. (We can, with difficulty, accept this lesson when embodied by a Charles de Gaulle; we have even greater difficulty when it is taught by, say, Hamid Karzai.) What’s more, Machiavelli says, leaders must at times inspire fear not only in their foes but even in their allies — and even in their own ministers.
cynicism  Niccolò_Machiavelli  Medici  indispensable  advice  friendships  politics  power  virtues  interests  consigliere  leaders  self-interest  fear  adaptability  political_power  self-preservation  effectiveness  Charles_de_Gaulle  negative_space  primers 
december 2013 by jerryking
If Machiavelli were prime minister
Mark Kingwell

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013

Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, that classic manual of harsh political wisdom. The Florentine intellectual’s defence of deceit, cruelty and fear in the pursuit of political power, his merciless advice to potential rulers about hiring mercenaries and dispensing favours, have made “Machiavellian” a handy shorthand for realpolitik.

The students love what everyone loves about Machiavelli’s story: the early ambition and connections to crazy Florentine politics, the tangles with the mad monk Savonarola and the suave Medicis, his eventual torture and exile. The famous letter in which Machiavelli describes donning his robes of court before entering his study (“Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where I am unashamed to converse with them”) offers an unforgettable image of a political thinker whose fame and influence have far outstripped that of the men who defeated him....Not only does Machiavelli vividly describe the contingencies of politics, using the figure of Fortuna and her fickle wheel. Many politicos and pundits like to cite the idea, as if losing an election were equivalent to being slain on the battlefield, burned at the stake or punished with the shoulder-tearing torture known as the strappado, all proximate realities in Machiavelli’s time. In addition, and despite all his apparent cynicism, Machiavelli has a clear idea about why political power is worth seeking in the first place.

The answer, he says, is glory – but not the merely personal kind. The successful prince is not some incumbency-shadowing hack, hanging on to this privileges and influence as a matter of entitlement or arrogance. Nor is he willing to use any means at all to gain victory: “By such methods one may win dominion but not glory,” Machiavelli notes. The great leader is a servant of history, using the sharp-edged tools of the political trade to carve out a legacy – in this case, a glorious Florence, whose culture, art, architecture and lasting presence will inspire generations to come. Glory is a gift, and it alone justifies and motivates the true prince....A prime minister who blandly abuses position – the muzzling of MPs, the casual prorogues of our only house of representation – is, if nothing else, nicely calibrated to widespread citizen indifference and a culture of trivial distractions....Machiavelli knew better; he was, finally, a humanist. And if he could still believe in the idea of glory after torture and disgrace – no soft return to Bay Street or Harvard for him – then surely the rest of us can exercise our citizenly spirit a bit more. Can we not demand a more glorious Canada, and leaders who will work to realize it? Bonus: We could even keep the words to O Canada – except it’s all of us, not God, who should do the heavy lifting.
Stephen_Harper  Niccolò_Machiavelli  leaders  legacies  shorthand  political_power  politicians  glory  Florence  mercilessness 
october 2013 by jerryking
It's time for Conservative minority brinksmanship
August 01, 2007 | Globe & Mail | by Tom Flanagan
It's time for Conservative minority brinksmanship
It's time for Conservative minority brinksmanship

By TOM FLANAGAN
Canada  Stephen_Harper  Conservative_Party  minority_governments  Niccolò_Machiavelli  brinksmanship 
september 2012 by jerryking
All he is saying is give war a chance: Democracy and world peace are really not such great ideas. Just ask author Robert Kaplan
11 Mar 2000| National Post pg B5 |Alexander Rose.

Whatever else journalist Robert D. Kaplan picked up during his sojourn in the Great Back of Beyond, it wasn't universal love, touch-feely harmony and a We-Are-The-World attitude. In this newspaper last weekend, reviewing The Coming Anarchy -- a collection of his recent assays he was in Canada to promote this week — Misha Glenny aptly remarked: "If you want to feel uplifted about the human condition, you should steer clear of Kaplan's work as a general rule." An example; The way to make this world a better place Kaplan casually proposes in his new collection of essays (named after his famous 1994 article in The Atlantic Monthly predicting cultural clashes, tribal and widespread environmental meltdown), is for Congress to reauthorize assassination as a political instrument to grasp that democracy is not suitable for everyone; and that world peace would actually make war likelier.

"I've spent a great deal of my life covering wars," he says. Moreover, "unlike a lot of journalists, I read -- I read a lot, a lot of history, a lot of philosophy.

Look at Livy (the ancient Roman historian)...'Drew him to classical philosophy. ''If you read the ancient Chinese, or Cicero, Machiavelli or Herodotus, these a strain running through them - which is that if you always think about might go wrong, things might start going right and you can avoid tragedy.'' Thus, ''tragedy is avoidable if you always maintain a sense of it.''

The problem, however, is that "the times we live in are so prosperous for us that it's hard to think tragically." And, most alarmingly, "Revolutions and upheavals happen when things are getting better, not worse."

...When Mr. Kaplan speaks of "realists" he is describing the Hobbesian view that man has a rapacious, brutal, selfish nature. On the world stage, this translates as furiously competing sovereign states battling over their respective interests, many of which are intractable. Realists therefore believe eternal and armed vigilance, not highfalutin UN declarations, are the key to ensuring "human security". ...Kaplan believes that there are three strands of "realism" battle for supremacy...."You don't have to believe in global warming, but we're entering a world in which there will be six billion of us and you have to realize that there are now enough of us living in urbanized conditions that we're occupying zones which are climatically and tectonically fragile. "Now, we've got 70% of the Chinese population producing two-thirds of the industrial output living in flood zones. Forget about Mozambique -- that's a sideshow."...So what advice would he give our Department of Foreign Affairs so that Canada could punch above its weight in the world?

Says Kaplan, without skipping a beat: "It's hard for a country of 30 million to have a pivotal impact. So the way to do it is to get behind an idea everyone knows is smart but nobody has the time or the inclination to push."

Is Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy's position on human rights and human security one such "smart idea"? Mr. Kaplan gives it short shrift (actually, no shrift at all). "It's far too flaccid and formless to be taken seriously because all he's really stating is a kind of easy truth. Tough truths, on the other hand, are things like when and where you intervene and under what circumstances.

"So, I would say Canada needs to go on fast forward to a Global Constabulary Force. NATO, with all its problems, worked well in Kosovo and Bosnia. So, we [i.e., Canada] will create an out-of-area military branch of NATO with some non-European members -- such as Japan, Australia, India, Brazil -- to form the core of the GCF." Then "we'll have a wider range of options during the next Rwanda, or next time something happens in a place with no strategic interest to anyone but where there's an overwhelming sense that we should 'do something.' But just talking about human security ... The minute you have something that everyone agrees with you know it's useless."

A lesson from the master himself.
floodplains  Greek  hard_choices  hard_power  hard_questions  hard_truths  history  human_rights  human_security  journalists  middle-powers  Niccolò_Machiavelli  political_theory  punch-above-its-weight  rapaciousness  realism  realpolitik  Robert_Kaplan  Romans  thinking_tragically  the_human_condition  world_stage  worst-case 
july 2012 by jerryking
Malcolm Gladwell says the Occupy movement needs to get more Machiavellian - The Globe and Mail
Dec. 02, 2011 | G&M | Ian Bailey.

"I am interested in, obviously, military power. I am interested in economic power. I am interested in any sort of situation. We're always in situations where power is an issue, where we're not equally matched with our competitors, compatriots, colleagues. Whenever there is a kind of disequilibrium, it's interesting. It's kind of puzzling and complex. That's what I am interested in exploring. Those moments of disequilibrium. "
Malcolm_Gladwell  asymmetrical  disequilibriums  economic_clout  protest_movements  political_power  Niccolò_Machiavelli  moments  Occupy_Wall_Street 
february 2012 by jerryking
The New Machiavelli
October 25 2010 Financial Times Review by Carl Wilkinson who
reviews The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World, by
Jonathan Powell, Bodley Head RRP£20, 352 pages.
This book, he writes, “is not another memoir of the Blair years”.
Powell’s intriguing and engaging book takes as its foundation The
Prince, Machiavelli’s infamous 16th-century treatise on power. Through
the prism of Machiavelli, Powell explores the heady world of
21st-century political leadership, policymaking and war alongside the
“constructive tension” between Blair and Brown.
DA589.7 .P694 2010 Robarts Stacks 1 copy.
book_reviews  chief_of_staff  Niccolò_Machiavelli  Tony_Blair  power  political_power  leadership  policymaking  war 
march 2011 by jerryking
In praise of power seeker
Oct. 19, 2010 | G& M | Harvey Schachter. 7 qualities
build power: ambition, energy, focus, self-knowledge, confidence,
empathy, & capacity to tolerate conflict. Unlisted is intelligence
(overrated).Power must start somewhere,“People err in choosing where to
start accruing their power base.The common mistake is to locate it in
the dept. dealing with an org.’s core activity/skill/product – the unit
that is the most powerful at the moment,” The problem is that’s where
one encounters the most talented competition, well-established career
paths & processes. Further, what’s vital to an org. today might not
be in future. To move up, seek unexploited niches where one can develop
leverage with less resistance & build a power base in activities
that will be important in future. e.g., Robert McNamara & the whiz
kids at Ford built their power base in finance, acctg. & control
functions, rather than eng. allowing McNamara to become the 1st non-Ford
president. Wherever you start – stand out!
ambitions  conflict_toleration  core_businesses  empathy  focus  Ford  Harvey_Schachter  influence  leadership  movingonup  Niccolò_Machiavelli  overrated  Pablo_Picasso  personal_energy  power_brokers  Robert_McNamara  SecDef  self-confidence  self-knowledge  unexploited_resources  whiz_kids 
october 2010 by jerryking
Weekend Essay by Jonah Lehrer: How Power Affects Us - WSJ.com
AUGUST 14, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By JONAH LEHRER. The
Power Trip Contrary to the Machiavellian cliché, nice people are more
likely to rise to power. Then something strange happens: Authority
atrophies the very talents that got them there.
power  paradoxes  CEOs  authority  Jonah_Lehrer  Niccolò_Machiavelli 
august 2010 by jerryking
Rara avis: A local Darwin collector in his natural habitat
November 21, 2009| globeandmail.com | by CRAIG OFFMAN. Profiles
Investment banker Garrett Herman, CEO of brokerage house, Loewen
Ondaatje McCutcheon, and a renown expert on, and collector of works by,
Charles Darwin. Mr. Herman said his own bibliophilia took hold after
his marriage dissolved in the early nineties. He compiled thousands of
rarities written by the great thinkers of the ages. "I used to collect a
lot of different books: Newton, Marx, Machiavelli, Pavlov, Freud. As
you collect, though, you learn." Following a pattern of buying books
that influenced other books, the number of tomes he owned grew
exponentially. He literally had a full house.
Charles_Darwin  collectors  personal_libraries  books  Niccolò_Machiavelli  brokerage_houses 
november 2009 by jerryking
Machiavelli's Daring 'Gift' - WSJ.com
AUG. 30, 2008 | WSJ | by WILLIAM AMELIA. Reviews Machiavelli's
daring 'gift of counsel' , 'The Prince' , which over the years, has
elicited 'admiration, fear and contempt'. "The Prince is a classic
handbook on power politics and the guide to gaining and maintaining that
power. The book dismisses the then-commonplace view that there is a
special connect between moral goodness and legitimate authority -- that,
"Rulers did well when they did good. When they were virtuous and moral
they were, in turn, obeyed and respected." In "The Prince," Machiavelli
urged rulers not to follow convention, but to understand fully the
nature of the people, to sense change and move with the times, to see
the new politics, the nuovi modi et ordini -- the new order -- both
global and local. Machiavelli last great work was, "Florentine
Histories," totally modern in concept, is widely considered a literary
masterpiece. he also penned, "The Art of War" which was his only work
published during his lifetime.
William_Amelia  Renaissance  book_reviews  new_rules  Niccolò_Machiavelli  primers  books  advice  political_power  leaders 
november 2009 by jerryking
C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success
July 21, 2007 | New York Times | By HARRIET RUBIN. Serious
leaders who are serious readers build personal libraries dedicated to
how to think, not how to compete. If there is a C.E.O. canon, its rule
is this: “Don’t follow your mentors, follow your mentors’ mentors,”
suggests David Leach, chief executive of the American Medical
Association’s accreditation division. Forget finding the business
best-seller list in these libraries. “I try to vary my reading diet and
ensure that I read more fiction than nonfiction,” Mr. Moritz said. “I
rarely read business books..." Favourites: T. E. Lawrence’s ‘Seven
Pillars of Wisdom,’ Machiavelli’s “The Prince.”, Omar Khayyam’s
“Rubáiyát,”
book_reviews  CEOs  reading  books  collectors  fiction  critical_thinking  strategic_thinking  personal_libraries  poets  Michael_Moritz  Ogilvy_&_Mather  mentoring  Niccolò_Machiavelli 
november 2009 by jerryking
Never Mind Machiavelli - WSJ.com
JUNE 30, 2008 WSJ book review by ARAM BAKSHIAN JR. of George Washington on Leadership
written by Richard Brookhiser. Inspired by the Roman philosopher, Seneca.

Acknowledge the full range of George Washington's achievement: "He ran two start-ups, the army and the presidency, and chaired the most important committee meeting in history, the Constitutional Convention. His agribusiness and real estate portfolio made him America's richest man. . . . Men followed him into battle; women longed to dance with him; famous men, almost as great as he was, some of them smarter, did what he told them to do. He was the Founding CEO."

The key, as Mr. Brookhiser sees it, is the ability to learn from failure and disappointment – requiring at least enough modesty to acknowledge the need for self-improvement instead of merely blaming others. Washington suffered losses in the battlefield (in the Revolutionary War, most famously, at the Battle of Long Island in 1776), the betrayal of subordinates (Benedict Arnold comes to mind) and even doomed early love (Sally Fairfax, alas, was already married). Such experiences, Mr. Brookhiser says, added up to "a long learning curve that began in his teens and stretched well into middle age.
book_reviews  Founding_Fathers  George_Washington  history  leadership  Niccolò_Machiavelli  Romans  self-improvement  Stoics 
february 2009 by jerryking

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