Machiavelli advised against staying neutral in a conflict, stating that decisive and bold action is required to gain (or stay in) power. In his eyes, many leaders who try to stay neutral, end up being destroyed. This essay explains why.
A key idea from The Prince is for a leader to “be on the spot”. In order to hold onto power, Niccolò Machiavelli states it is a vital tool. Here we will explore why and how it can be interpreted in a modern context.
Using fire as a weapon is as old as war itself. The Egyptians used it, the Ancient Greeks used it, as did the Romans. Whilst Sun Tzu talks about attacking with fire literally, the takeaway from his words in this chapter is to use the environment to your advantage.
Sun Tzu said: We may distinguish six kinds of terrain, to wit: (1) Accessible ground (2) entangling ground (3) temporizing ground (4) narrow passes (5) precipitous heights (6) positions at a great distance from the enemy.
When in difficult country, do not encamp. In country where high roads intersect, join hands with your allies. Do not linger in dangerously isolated positions. In hemmed-in situations, you must resort to stratagem. In desperate position, you must fight.