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Posts Tagged ‘war’

Part 2: Corporate Acquisition 101: Inspired by Niccolo Machiavelli

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 24, 2012

“When states are acquired in a country differing in language, customs, or laws, there are difficulties, and good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them, and one of the greatest and most real helps would be that he who has acquired them should go and reside there.”

Niccolo Machiveli, The Prince

I was reading one of my earliest posts and wondered how it would be if Machiavelli’s golden words could be applied in present day and age. Would it help if President Barack Obama sets up residence in Baghdad and spends three months in a year there? What if the probable next President Mitt Romney builds a million dollar mansion in Kabul and runs the American Empire from there? (no comments allowed on the use of “next president 🙂

I think they should. If the strategy worked in medieval times, I see no reason why it cannot now. Superpowers are capitalist empires driven by economic motives. American presence in Afghanistan and Iraq are examples of territorial conquests, and seeing how much tax payer money has been spent in these wars, it would only make sense to continue in these new acquisitions and get a worthy Return on Investment. I would not expect anything less from such a risky venture.

Below is an excerpt from my previous post. Replace “Corporate Acquisition” with “Territorial Acquisition”, “CEO” with “President” and “employees” with citizens and the message is clear.

Now here lies a lesson for all those consulting or undertaking Corporate Acquisition, especially one where entities from different countries or cultures are involved. Just replace “states” with “companies” in the above quote and the message is clear: The CEO or Chairman or Decision Maker of the company that makes an acquisition overseas, must move his office to the acquired company and run his business from there until Integration of the two entities is truly complete.

Further he wrote, “Because, if one is on the spot, disorders are seen as they spring up, and one can quickly remedy them; but if one is not at hand, they are heard of only when they are great, and then one can no longer remedy them. Besides this, the country is not pillaged by your officials; the subjects are satisfied by prompt recourse to the prince; thus, wishing to be good, they have more cause to love him, and wishing to be otherwise, to fear him.”

Proximity to employees of the acquired company will go a long way in allaying their fears and insecurities. Needless to say, this is of utmost importance when you wish to leverage the resources of the acquired firm to the fullest.

As always, comments welcomed.

Posted in Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Joke of the Day: Of Nobel Peace Prize

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 14, 2012

In 2009 I thought that the Nobel Committee was on the verge of insanity when it awarded Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. I was not a member of the blogging world then, hence I have no recorded remnants of my reasoning at that time. Now I am, and with no hesitation do I say that the Nobel Committee has completely and absolutely lost it!

Which brings me to the joke of the day.

“This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the EU.”

Justification:

European Commission President Manuel Barroso said on Friday it is a “tremendous honour” for the European Union to be awarded with the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. It is the “strongest possible recognition of the deep political motives behind our union: the unique effort by ever more European States to overcome war and divisions and to jointly shape a continent of peace and prosperity,” he said in a statement in Brussels.

My Response:

Are they nuts! Did they really think that nuclear powered countries like France and Germany would go to battle again! Please kill me, if they truly believe that the EU was formed only to avoid military conflicts and give peace a chance. So the selfish economic motives of Germany and France had nothing to do with forming a bloc that would allow free trade, expand the market for German and French manufactured goods, create an illusory sense of prosperity for the smaller countries, pump money into Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy so that they could buy German and French goods and services and in turn, pile on a heavy debt!

What did the EU countries do when right in their neighborhood, the Balkans were burning? Ask the common Greeks how much love they have for their EU counterparts. Remove all the weapons from the EU and open the borders allowing a free for all, hand to hand brawl. Then lets see how much peace remains between the EU citizens.

The Euro zone too was a result of France feeling jittery over the German Mark’s rising influence. The only way to counter it was to push for a common currency. Its funny how the German constitution did not require a referendum to shun the Deutsche Mark and adopt the Euro. Soon enough, we had a zone that had a common monetary policy, but no common economic and fiscal policy. This was a disaster and yet no one did anything about it. Why? Because it was in France and Germany’s interest to keep it like this. It allowed them to exploit the smaller countries in the EU to fill their own coffers. Had they formulated a strict fiscal policy, countries like Greece, Italy and Spain would not have been able to borrow as heavily as they did. This would have reduced their ability to buy German and French products and in turn reduce the latter’s revenues. While Greece is being blamed for its fiscal indiscipline, the truth is that Germany and France wanted it to be like that.

People of Europe have always been for peace with each other. All wars and conflicts have been results of political and economic greed and opportunism. Similarly, peace too is slave to political and economic opportunism. The minute peace ceases to be politically or economically beneficial, EU leaders will show no hesitation in resorting to violence. If the Nobel Peace Prize is deserved by the citizens of the EU, then every citizen of the world has an equal claim to it.

As always, comments welcomed.

Posted in News, Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

Can Iran be Won?

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 1, 2012

No.

About a month back I published a post presenting an argument for the outcomes of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In it I applied Machiavelli’s thoughts to these countries. Let’s see if we can predict the outcome of an attack on Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, erstwhile Persia, is for all practical purposes, ruled by the Supreme Leader and a Guardian Council that consists of twelve members nominated by the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. The official religion is Shia branch of Islam and 90-95% of the population belong to this religion.

After the Supreme Leader, the Constitution defines the President of Iran as the highest state authority.The President is elected for a term of four years. Presidential candidates must be approved by the Guardian Council prior to running in order to ensure their allegiance to the ideals of the Islamic revolution.

So why do I think Iranian authority cannot be overturned?

Firstly, Iran is one of the few Arab countries where the ruling authority belongs to the same religion as the majority of people. Iranians hold the Supreme Leader in very high regards, almost divine. His authority is absolute and justified by God. The members of the Guardian Council do not hold sway over any territory or any clan of people. So, the Supreme Leader’s authority is unquestionable and does not depend heavily on his ministers. To defeat such a system is difficult.

Secondly, people of Iran are religiously connected with the Supreme Leader. An attempt to overthrow the Iranian authority will be perceived as an attempt to overthrow the Supreme Leader. This is completely unacceptable to a big majority. The religious string that is used by the Supreme Leader to rule Iran is stronger than the heavy handedness Saddam used to rule Iraq. An attack on Iran will be perceived as an attack on Shia Islam. The Iranians will not revolt against the Supreme Leader. I repeat, the Arab Spring type revolt will not happen.

And lastly, the provision to have a democratically elected President is a “clever” ploy in the Constitution. All ills of the society including a poor economy can be blamed on the President. This ensures that people never raise their fingers towards the Supreme Leader and his Guardian Council. A lot of the Iranian anger is diverted towards the President and abated by giving Iranians and illusory hope that they possess a democratic right to change the President in the next elections.

Hence, I do not think that Iranian authority can be overturned by force.

Comments welcomed.

 

 

 

Posted in Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

He Will,He Wont…He Will,He Wont…He Will,He Wont…He W…

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 28, 2012

Factors that will affect his decision to attack Iran.

He Will, if these are the thoughts that run in his brain:

1) Iranians are as extreme and fundamentalist as they come. They believe in the coming of the last Imam who will rule the world. To enable that return, they must wipe out the Zionist from the face of the Earth.

2) Once Iran has the nuclear deterrent, Israel will lose its influence in the region. Its Arab neighbors, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq will be emboldened to dictate their terms. They might even form an alliance to attack Israel from all fronts.

3) Iran may give a few Nuclear warheads to Hezbollah to launch at Israel from Syria or Lebanon. This way Iran is not held accountable and saves its arse in the global circus, namely the U.N.

4) The Saudis will covertly support Israel. If there is one country that makes the Saudi king shit himself, its Iran.

5) I will let Iran drop a bomb on Saudi Arabia. To save Saudi interests, the US will jump into the war.

6) Once Israel attacks, the Iranian people will revolt against their own regime.

7) Iran’s most technologically advanced weapon system is the “Suicide Bomber”!

8) Old and unused artillery is rusting and it is time Israel uses it.

9) This is a Crusade and I am Richard the Lionheart!

10) Iranians do not bathe regularly, are a stinking lot and I just hate them.

He Won’t, if his brain is still running.

Your thoughts?

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Hampi: Of a Great Empire and a Foolish King who really pissed off his enemies…

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 25, 2012

…and pissed them off so much that three kingdoms, that were mortal enemies, joined hands to raze the Vijayanagar Empire to ground.

Hampi, blessed with an out of this world and mesmerizing landscape, is surrounded by the ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire. The Empire in the Deccan Plateau spanned over three centuries (14th century AD to 17th century AD) and was ruled by four dynasties. At its peak, the empire was the seat of excellence in administration, governance, commerce,technology, literature and culture. This zenith was reached under the reign of King Krishna Deva Raya who ruled in the first half of the sixteenth century. Excavations around Hampi speak of the power and wealth of the empire. But peaceful existence could never be taken for granted. The first two centuries of the empire saw the Kings adopt an aggressive strategy to keep its enemies at bay. Military excursions against neighbors were frequent, and this ensured an efficient army of hardened warriors.

Towards the middle of the 16th century, the Empire found itself surrounded by three hostile dynasties. The Muslim Sultanates of Ahmednagar (Nizam Shahi), Golconda (Qutb Shahi) and Bijapur ( Adil Shahi) bordered Vijayanagar and were a constant threat. Surrounded by Muslim enemies, the strategy for survival was altered, “Divide and Live” became the new mantra.  In 1542, Aliya Rama Raya ascended to the throne of Vijayanagar. During his rule, the Muslim Sultanates were constantly involved in fighting each other and requested Rama Raya on more than one occasion to act as a mediator. Rama Raya exploited this role to not only aggravate misunderstandings between the Sultanates, but also to expand his own territory. Rama Raya constantly changed sides  between the Sultanates. He was foolishly flirting with danger. And he paid for it.

In 1565 the unthinkable happened. The Muslim Sultanates that were mortal enemies, awakened to the connivance of Rama Raya and joined hands to bring down the Vijayanagar Empire. The Battle of Talikota resulted in a rout of Vijayanagar.

What followed was a victorious army along with dwellers falling upon the great city. With axes, crowbars, fire and sword the victorious armies went about the task of bringing to rubble the city of Vijayanagara which never recovered from the onslaught.”

According to another source,

“After three days, Muslim troops entered the city. There was no one to stop them. They looted, plundered and destroyed the city. Men, women and children were killed without any mercy. Shops, temples and houses were burnt and the sacred Hindu idols were destroyed. This destructive episode continued for six months relentlessly. The havoc was complete. The scenes showed the magnitude of hatred Muslims had for Hindus.”

Alas, one of the greatest Hindu Empires of India was thus reduced to rubble. Hampi, a UN World Heritage site is a must visit for anyone traveling to India. The beauty of its landscape is stunning, and the ruins echo the sounds of a once supreme Empire.

 

 

 

Posted in Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Why Iraq will be won and Afghanistan lost

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on August 30, 2012

“…principalities of which one has record are found to be governed in two different ways; either by a prince, with a body of servants, who assist him to govern the kingdom as ministers by his favour and permission; or by a prince and barons, who hold that dignity by antiquity of blood and not by the grace of the prince. Such barons have states and their own subjects, who recognize them as lords and hold them in natural affection. Those states that are governed by a prince and his servants hold their prince in more consideration, because in all the country there is no one who is recognized as superior to him, and if they yield obedience to another they do it as to a minister and official, and they do not bear him any particular affection.

The examples of these two governments in our time are the Turk and the King of France. The entire monarchy of the Turk is governed by one lord, the others are his servants; and, dividing his kingdom into sanjaks, he sends there different administrators, and shifts and changes them as he chooses. But the King of France is placed in the midst of an ancient body of lords, acknowledged by their own subjects, and beloved by them; they have their own prerogatives, nor can the king take these away except at his peril. Therefore, he who considers both of these states will recognize great difficulties in seizing the state of the Turk, but, once it is conquered, great ease in holding it. The causes of the difficulties in seizing the kingdom of the Turk are that the usurper cannot be called in by the princes of the kingdom, nor can he hope to be assisted in his designs by the revolt of those whom the lord has around him. This arises from the reasons given above; for his ministers, being all slaves and bondmen, can only be corrupted with great difficulty, and one can expect little advantage from them when they have been corrupted, as they cannot carry the people with them, for the reasons assigned. Hence, he who attacks the Turk must bear in mind that he will find him united, and he will have to rely more on his own strength than on the revolt of others; but, if once the Turk has been conquered, and routed in the field in such a way that he cannot replace his armies, there is nothing to fear but the family of this prince, and, this being exterminated, there remains no one to fear, the others having no credit with the people; and as the conqueror did not rely on them before his victory, so he ought not to fear them after it.

The contrary happens in kingdoms governed like that of France, because one can easily enter there by gaining over some baron of the kingdom, for one always finds malcontents and such as desire a change. Such men, for the reasons given, can open the way into the state and render the victory easy; but if you wish to hold it afterwards, you meet with infinite difficulties, both from those who have assisted you and from those you have crushed. Nor is it enough for you to have exterminated the family of the prince, because the lords that remain make themselves the heads of fresh movements against you, and as you are unable either to satisfy or exterminate them, that state is lost whenever time brings the opportunity.” – Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

In Iraq,  Saddam Hussein, along with his ministers ruled with a heavy hand and ruthless authority. Saddam’s reign over Iraq was total and complete. To topple him, the U.S relied solely on the might of its own alliance. It is evident, that people of Iraq, once they settle their own sectarian issues, will be more ready to accept American presence and dominance in their country. As Machiavelli suggested, Iraq is America’s for the keeping.

Image Courtesy Mikhail Evstafiev

Afghanistan, is equivalent to the “Kingdom of France” in the quotes above.The central Asian republic has always been an unnatural co-existence of several different tribes being ruled by their respective warlords. Every occupation of Afghanistan has been achieved by bribing these warlords towards oneself. The Soviets did it, and the U.S is doing the same. It is evident in the form of government which they have put together. It is a coalition of tribal leaders that helped the U.S fight the Taliban. Beyond this, the leaders have nothing in common. It is a state of affairs that is bound to collapse and Afghanistan, thanks to some medieval curse, is going to return to becoming what it always has been, the land of the dead.

Posted in Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

 
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