Posts Tagged ‘Machiavelli’


After you have identified (and/or defined) an enemy, what do you do about them?

Assuming you don’t run away and hide…

You are left with several options:  Kill, Co-opt, or Shape.


Kill – is the attack and aggression approach.  Hunt them down and execute them.

To Arms, cry havoc and let slip the  dogs of war…

Co-opt – is (was?) the preferred approach of the Spooks.  Recruit, bribe or blackmail an enemy (typically a low level indian, but sometimes the chiefs too…) so they flip sides and come work for you.

Shape – all very Machiavelli and Sun Tzu.  Manipulate and pressure your enemy so that they are  tempted and inclined into decisions and behaviours that they might not have made otherwise. In the nature of a trap – use their nature to trap them.

This is the long game typically, for when you don’t have the strength to confront your enemy frontally.  Trick them into making mistakes and weakening themselves – to the point where you can either Kill, or Co-opt them…

Take/lead them to a place where you can defeat them.

The Art of War, is not necessarily direct Force-on-Force.

Sometimes it is about achieving Victory without having to (physically) fight.

Sometimes it is Diplomacy and Politics.

And sometimes – it is the Long Knifes.


There isn’t really much new under the sun…

Only things that are new to you.


Additional readingThe 48 Laws of Power.

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