Posts Tagged ‘NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI’
Bureaucracy, Business, History, Self-Help on March 13, 2015 at 12:08 am
History, Military, Politics on February 17, 2015 at 6:30 pm
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been in the news a great deal lately–and for reasons most organizations try to avoid. Or at least cover up. It has been designated as a terrorist organization by
- the United States
- the European Union
- the United Nations
- the United Kingdom
- Saudi Arabia
- the United Arab Emerites
- India and
It been condemned by such well-known human rights organizations as Amnesty International. And a major reason for this is the evidence of its brutalities that ISIS has proudly supplied. Among this evidence are its own Internet videos of
- the beheadings of soldiers, civilians, journalists, and aid workers;
- the burning of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot;
- demands for extortionate ransoms for kidnapped Japanese and American captives;
- the wholesale shooting of captured Iraqi soldiers; and
- the selling of captured children.
The release on February 3 of a video showing the barbaric “execution” of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kasaesbeh, underscored ISIS reputation for cruelty
Al Kasaesbeh, locked in a steel cage like an animal, could only watch stoically as an ISIS member ignited a trail of flammable liquid leading directly to him. The pilot stood upright throughout the ordeal until the flames at last consumed him.
ISIS burning of captured Jordanian fighter pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh
Terrorism experts believe that the elaborately-staged video was meant to weaken the morale of Jordan and other Sunni Arab members of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.
But it violated a fundamental rule of public relations: If you commit atrocities, do it secretly so you can deny it if the truth ever comes out.
That’s how the members of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s dreaded secret police–the N.K.V.D.–the predecsssors to the later-named KGB–operated throughout their brutal history.
In 1939, when the Soviet Union seized the eastern half of Poland, the N.K.V.D. executed 22,000 Polish army officers in the dense Katyn forest.
The government of Nazi Germany announced the discovery of mass graves in the forest in 1943. The Soviet Union furiously denied responsibility, claiming the victims had been executed by the Germans.
The Soviets continued to deny responsibility for the massacres until 1990, when the government finally admitted its guilt.
ISIS has turned out videos of its brutalities which film experts have declared are almost up to the quality of Hollywood spectaculars. But ISIS leaders have apparently forgotten–if they ever knew–the truth of the saying: “You can make a throne of bayonets, but you can’t sit on it.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, in his classic work, The Discourses, offered a telling example of how magnanimity can triumph over brutality.
Camillus was besieging the city of the Faliscians, and had surrounded it….A teacher charged with the education of the children of some of the noblest families of that city [to ingratiate himself] with Camillus and the Romans, led these children…into the Roman camp.
And presenting them to Camillus [the teacher] said to him, “By means of these children as hostages, you will be able to compel the city to surrender.”
Camillus not only declined the offer but had the teacher stripped and his hands tied behind his back….[Then Camillus] had a rod put into the hands of each of the children…[and] directed them to whip [the teacher] all the way back to the city.
Upon learning this fact, the citizens of Faliscia were so much touched by the humanity and integrity of Camillus, that they surrendered the place to him without any further defense.
This example shows that an act of humanity and benevolence will at all times have more influence over the minds of men than violence and ferocity. It also proves that provinces and cities which no armies…could conquer, have yielded to an act of humanity, benevolence, chastity or generosity.
What Machiavelli doesn’t say–but what history offers plenty of examples to substantiate–is this: The brutality of aggressors will be met–and sometimes overcome–with brutality by their past or intended victims.
Nowhere was this better proved than during the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
Without warning, three million German soldiers–backed up by overwhelming air and tank support–attacked their “ally” on June 22, 1941.
The Wehrmacht blitzed its way across Russia–to the gates of Moscow and as far south as Stalingrad on the Volga River. In its path it left devastated cities and at least 20 million dead Russians.
German soldiers moving into a burning Russian village
Russian women were gang-raped, then shot, or blown up with hand grenades. Tens of thousands of captured Russian soldiers were allowed to die of hunger, sickness and freezing cold behind barbed wire. Other captured POWs were brutally beaten, tortured and/or shot.
But then the tide of war turned and the Russians launched their own offensives in 1943. And they kept going–all the way to Berlin.
Russians raped tens of thousands of German women–and nailed others to barn doors. Cossacks cut off the raised hands of Germans trying to surrender. Tanks crushed retreating German soldiers and civilians unlucky enough to be in their path.
Thus do those who practice barbarism often find themselves being repaid with it–usually ten-fold.
Bureaucracy, Entertainment, History, Military, Politics on December 30, 2014 at 12:02 am
According to an October 29 story on National Public Radio, at least 10 North Korean officials have been executed for watching South Korean soap operas.
If true, this brings to 50 the number of people murdered by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un for committing this “crime”.
Kim Jong-Un and his generals
Kim inherited control of the country after his father, Kim Jong-Il, died in 2011. Since then, he has ruthlessly eliminated all possible opposition.
“Kim Jong-Un is trying to establish absolute power and strengthen his regime with public punishments,” Yang Moo Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, told Bloomberg News. “However, frequent purges can create side effects.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of political science, couldn’t have said it better.
In fact, Machiavelli did say it–in Chapter Eight of The Prince, his famous work on the realities of politics, he warned:
“…In taking a state, the conqueror must arrange to commit all his cruelties at once, so as not to have to recur to them very day, and so as to be able, by not making fresh changes, to reassure people and win them over by benefiting them.
“Whoever acts otherwise, either through timidity or bad counsels, is always obliged to stand with knife in hand, and can never depend on his subjects, because they, owing to continually fresh injuries, are unable to depend upon him.”
Another Communist dictator–Joseph Stalin–may have paid the price for violating this counsel.
Throughout his 30-year reign over the Soviet Union, Stalin was responsible for the deaths of at least 20 million men, women and children.
These deaths resulted from executions, a man-made famine through the forced collectivation of harvests, deportations and imprisonment in Gulag camps.
Robert Payne, the British historian, vividly portrayed the crimes of this murderous tyrant in his brilliant 1965 biography, The Rise and Fall of Stalin.
According to Payne, Stalin–who died on March 5, 1953–was planning yet another purge during the last weeks of his life. This would be “a holocaust greater than any he had planned before.
“The chistka [purge] had become a ritual like a ceremonial cleansing of a temple performed every three or four years according to ancient laws.
“The first chistka had taken place during the early months of the [Russian] revolution. It had proved so salutory that periodical bloodbaths were incorporated in the unwritten laws of the state.
“This time there would be a chistka to end all chistkas, a purging of the entire body of the state from top to bottom. No one, not even the highest officials, was to be spared.
“…The men who had been his closest companions and most willing executioners, would be the first to fall, followed by the leaders of the second rank, then of the third and fourth…until there was no one in the entire country who had not felt the touch of the healing knife.”
Then, on January 13, 1953, the Soviet Union’s two government-controlled newspapers–Pravda (“Truth”) and Izvestiya (“News”)–announced that a sinister plot by Jewish doctors had been uncovered.
Its alleged object: No less than the murder of Joseph Stalin himself.
Nine doctors, said Pravda, had so far been arrested.
Stalin’s closest associates–veteran observers of past purges–quickly realized that another was about to descend. And there could be no doubt who its chief victims would be.
Yet Stalin did nothing to calm their fears. He often summoned his “comrades” to the Kremlin for late-night drinking bouts, where he freely humiliated them.
“What would you do without Stalin?” he asked one night. “You’d be like blind kittens.”
Then, on March 4, 1953, Moscow Radio announced “the misfortune which has overtaken our Party and the people–the serious illness of Comrade J.V. Stalin.
“During the night of March 1-2, while in his Moscow apartment, Comrade Stalin suffered a cerebral hemorrhage affecting vital areas of the brain.”
Death came to Stalin on March 5.
Officially, the cause was ruled a cerebral hemorrhage. Stalin was 73 and in poor health from a lifetime of smoking and little exercise.
So it’s possible he died of natural causes. But it’s equally possible that he died of unnatural ones.
In the 2004 book, Stalin’s Last Crime, Vladimir P. Naumov, a Russian historian, and Jonathan Brent, a Yale University Soviet scholar, assert that he might have been poisoned.
If this happened, the occasion was during a final dinner with four members of the Politburo:
- Lavrenti P. Beria, chief of the secret police, then known as the MGB (Ministry for State Security);
- Georgi M. Malenkov, Stalin’s immediate successor;
- Nikita S. Khrushchev, who eventually rose to the top spot;
- and Nikolai Bulganin, then Minister of Defense.
The authors believe that, if Stalin was poisoned, the most likely suspect was Beria. And the method: Slipping warfarin, a tasteless and colorless blood thinner also used as a rat killer, into his glass of wine.
Lavrenti P. Peria
In Khrushchev’s 1970 memoirs, he quotes Beria as telling Vyacheslav M. Molotov, another Polituro member, two months after Stalin’s death: “I did him in! I saved all of you.”
Kim Jong-Un had better hope that Communist history doesn’t repeat itself.