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domingo, 16 de febrero de 2014

Capítulo 21 de "El Príncipe" de Maquiavelo


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Capitulo XXI



COMO DEBE COMPORTARSE UN PRÍNCIPE PARA SER ESTIMADO


Nada hace tan estimable a un príncipe como las grandes empresas y el ejemplo de raras virtudes. Prueba de ello es Fernando de Aragón, actual rey de España, a quien casi puede llamarse príncipe nuevo, pues de rey sin importancia se ha convertido en el primer monarca de la  cristiandad. Sus obras, como puede comprobarlo quien las examine, han sido todas grandes, y algunas extraordinarias. En los comienzos de su reinado tomó por asalto a Granada, punto de partida de sus conquistas. Hizo la guerra cuando estaba en paz con los vecinos, y, sabiendo que nadie se opondría, distrajo con ella la atención de los nobles de Castilla, que, pensando en esa guerra, no pensaban en cambios políticos, y por este medio adquirió autoridad y reputación sobre ellos y sin que ellos se diesen cuenta. Con dinero del pueblo y de la Iglesia pudo mantener sus ejércitos, a los que templó en aquella larga guerra y que tanto lo honraron después. Más tarde, para poder    iniciar empresas de mayor envergadura, se entregó, sirviéndose siempre de la iglesia, a una piadosa persecución y despojó y expulsó de su reino a los “marranos”. No puede haber ejemplo más admirable y maravilloso. Con el mismo pretexto invadió el África, llevó a cabo la campaña de Italia y últimamente atacó a Francia, porque siempre meditó y realizó hazañas extraordinarias que provocaron el constante estupor de los súbditos y mantuvieron su pensamiento ocupado por entero en el éxito de sus aventuras. Y estas acciones suyas nacieron de tal modo una tras otra que no dio tiempo a los hombres para poder preparar con tranquilidad algo en su perjuicio.

También concurre en beneficio del príncipe el hallar medidas sorprendentes en lo que se refiere a la administración, como se cuenta que las hallaba Bernabó de Milán. Y cuando cualquier súbdito hace algo notable, bueno o malo, en la vida civil, hay que descubrir un modo de recompensarlo o castigarlo que dé amplio tema de conversación a la gente. Y, por encima de todo, el príncipe debe ingeniarse por parecer grande e ilustre en cada uno de sus actos.

Asimismo se estima al príncipe capaz de ser amigo o enemigo franco, es decir, al que, sin temores de ninguna índole, sabe declararse abiertamente en favor de uno y en contra de otro. El abrazar un partido es siempre más conveniente que el permanecer neutral. Porque si dos vecinos poderosos se declaran la guerra, el príncipe puede encontrarse en uno de esos casos: que, por ser adversarios fuertes, tenga que temer a cualquier cosa de los dos que gane la guerra, o que no; en uno o en otro caso siempre le será más útil decidirse por una de las partes y hacer la guerra. Pues, en el primer caso, si no se define, será presa del vencedor, con placer y satisfacción del vencido; y no hallará compasión en aquél ni asilo en éste, porque el que vence no quiere amigos sospechosos y que no le ayuden en la adversidad, y el que pierde no puede ofrecer ayuda a quien no quiso empuñar las armas y arriesgarse en su favor.

Antíoco, llamado a Grecia por los etolios para arrojar de allí a los romanos, mandó embajadores a los acayos, que eran amigos de los romanos, para convencerlos de que permaneciesen neutrales. Los romanos por el contrario, les pedían que tomaran armas a su favor. Se debatió el asunto en el consejo de los acayos, y cuando el enviado de Antíoco solicitó neutralidad, el representante romano replicó “Quod autem isti dicunt non interponendi vos bello, nihil magis alienum rebus vestris est, sine gratia, sine dignitate, praemium victoris eritis”.

Y siempre verás que aquel que no es tu amigo te exigirá la neutralidad, y aquel que es amigo tuyo te exigirá que demuestres tus sentimientos con las armas. Los príncipes irresolutos, para evitar los peligros presentes, siguen la más de las veces el camino de la neutralidad, y las más de las veces fracasan. Pero cuando el príncipe se declara valientemente por una de las partes, si triunfa aquella a la que se une, aunque sea poderosa y él quede  a su discreción, estarán unidos por un vinculo de reconocimiento y de afecto; y los hombres nunca son tan malvados que dando prueba de tamaña ingratitud, lo sojuzguen. Al margen de esto, las victorias nunca son tan decisivas como para que el vencedor no tenga que guardar algún miramiento, sobre todo con respecto a la justicia. Y si el aliado pierde, el príncipe será amparado, ayudado por él en la medida de lo posible y se hará compañero de una fortuna que puede resurgir. En el segundo caso, cuando los que combaten entre sí no pueden inspirar ningún temor, mayor es, la necesidad de definirse, pues no hacerlo significa la ruina de uno de ellos, al que el príncipe, si fuese prudente, debería salvar, porque si vence queda a su discreción, y es imposible que con su ayuda no venza.

Conviene advertir que un príncipe nunca debe aliarse con otro más poderoso para atacar a terceros, sino, de acuerdo con lo dicho, cuando las circunstancias lo obligan, porque si venciera queda en su poder, y los príncipes deben hacer lo posible por no quedar a disposición de otros. Los venecianos, que, pudiendo abstenerse de intervenir, se aliaron con los franceses contra el duque de Milán, labraron su  propia ruina. Pero cuando no se puede evitar, como sucedió a los florentinos en oportunidad del ataque de los ejércitos del papa y de España contra la Lombardía, entonces, y por las mismas razones expuestas, el príncipe debe someterse a los acontecimientos. Y que no se crea que los Estados pueden inclinarse siempre por partidos seguros; por el contrario, piénsese que todos son dudosos; porque acontece en el orden de las cosas que, cuando se quiere evitar un inconveniente, se incurre en otro. Pero la prudencia estriba en saber conocer la naturaleza de los inconvenientes y aceptar el menos malo por bueno.

El príncipe también se mostrará amante de la virtud y honrará a los que se distingan en las artes. Asimismo, dará seguridades a los ciudadanos para que puedan dedicarse tranquilamente a sus profesiones, al comercio, a la agricultura y a cualquier otra actividad; y que unos no se abstengan de embellecer sus posesiones por temor a que se las quiten, y otros de abrir una tienda por miedo a los impuestos. Lejos de esto, instituirá premios para recompensar a quienes lo hagan y a quienes traten, por cualquier medio, de engrandecer la ciudad o el Estado. Todas las ciudades están divididas en gremios o corporaciones a las cuales conviene que el príncipe conceda su atención. Reúnase de vez en vez con ellos y dé pruebas de sencillez y generosidad, sin olvidarse, no obstante, de la dignidad que inviste, que no debe faltarle en, ninguna ocasión.

Capítulo 5 / Chapter 5 "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu


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CHAPTER 5



ENERGY

1. Sun Tzu said: The control of a large force is the same principle as the control of a few men: it is merely a question  of dividing up their numbers.  [That is, cutting up the army into regiments, companies, etc., with subordinate officers in command of each. Tu Mu  reminds us of Han Hsin's famous reply to the first Han Emperor, who once said to him: "How large an army do you  think I could lead?" "Not more than 100,000 men, your Majesty." "And you?" asked the Emperor. "Oh!" he  answered, "the more the better."]

2. Fighting with a large army under your command is nowise different from fighting with a small one: it is merely a  question of instituting signs and signals.

3. To ensure that your whole host may withstand the brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken -this is  effected by maneuvers direct and indirect.  [We now come to one of the most interesting parts of Sun Tzu's treatise, the discussion of the CHENG and the  CH`I." As it is by no means easy to grasp the full significance of these two terms, or to render them consistently by  good English equivalents; it may be as well to tabulate some of the commentators' remarks on the subject before  proceeding further. Li Ch`uan: "Facing the enemy is CHENG, making lateral diversion is CH`I. Chia Lin: "In  presence of the enemy, your troops should be arrayed in normal fashion, but in order to secure victory abnormal  maneuvers must be employed." Mei Yao-ch`en: "CH`I is active, CHENG is passive; passivity means waiting for an  opportunity, activity beings the victory itself." Ho Shih: "We must cause the enemy to regard our straightforward  attack as one that is secretly designed, and vice versa; thus CHENG may also be CH`I, and CH`I may also be  CHENG." He instances the famous exploit of Han Hsin, who when marching ostensibly against Lin-chin (now  Chao-i in Shensi), suddenly threw a large force across the Yellow River in wooden tubs, utterly disconcerting his  opponent. [Ch`ien Han Shu, ch. 3.] Here, we are told, the march on Lin-chin was CHENG, and the surprise  maneuver was CH`I." Chang Yu gives the following summary of opinions on the words: "Military writers do not  agree with regard to the meaning of CH`I and CHENG. Wei Liao Tzu [4th cent. B.C.] says: 'Direct warfare favors  frontal attacks, indirect warfare attacks from the rear.' Ts`ao Kung says: 'Going straight out to join battle is a direct  operation; appearing on the enemy's rear is an indirect maneuver.' Li Wei-kung [6th and 7th cent. A.D.] says: 'In  war, to march straight ahead is CHENG; turning movements, on the other hand, are CH`I.' These writers simply  regard CHENG as CHENG, and CH`I as CH`I; they do not note that the two are mutually interchangeable and run  into each other like the two sides of a circle [see infra, ss. 11]. A comment on the T`ang Emperor T`ai Tsung goes to  the root of the matter: 'A CH`I maneuver may be CHENG, if we make the enemy look upon it as CHENG; then our  real attack will be CH`I, and vice versa. The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our  real intent.'" To put it perhaps a little more clearly: any attack or other operation is CHENG, on which the enemy has  had his attention fixed; whereas that is CH`I," which takes him by surprise or comes from an unexpected quarter. If  the enemy perceives a movement which is meant to be CH`I," it immediately becomes CHENG."]

4. That the impact of your army may be like a grindstone dashed against an egg -this is effected by the science of  weak points and strong.

5. In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to  secure victory.  [Chang Yu says: "Steadily develop indirect tactics, either by pounding the enemy's flanks or falling on his rear." A  brilliant example of "indirect tactics" which decided the fortunes of a campaign was Lord Roberts' night march  round the Peiwar Kotal in the second Afghan war.]

6. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhausible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and  streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once  more.  [Tu Yu and Chang Yu understand this of the permutations of CH`I and CHENG." But at present Sun Tzu is not  speaking of CHENG at all, unless, indeed, we suppose with Cheng Yu-hsien that a clause relating to it has fallen out   of the text. Of course, as has already been pointed out, the two are so inextricably interwoven in all military  operations, that they cannot really be considered apart. Here we simply have an expression, in figurative language,  of the almost infinite resource of a great leader.]

7. There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can  ever be heard.

8. There are not more than five primary colors (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination they produce  more hues than can ever been seen.

9 There are not more than five cardinal tastes (sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations of them yield more  flavors than can ever be tasted.

10. In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack -the direct and the indirect; yet these two in  combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.

11. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. It is like moving in a circle -you never come to an end.  Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination?

12. The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent which will even roll stones along in its course.

13. The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.  [The Chinese here is tricky and a certain key word in the context it is used defies the best efforts of the translator. Tu  Mu defines this word as "the measurement or estimation of distance." But this meaning does not quite fit the  illustrative simile in ss. 15. Applying this definition to the falcon, it seems to me to denote that instinct of SELF  RESTRAINT which keeps the bird from swooping on its quarry until the right moment, together with the power of  judging when the right moment has arrived. The analogous quality in soldiers is the highly important one of being  able to reserve their fire until the very instant at which it will be most effective. When the "Victory" went into action  at Trafalgar at hardly more than drifting pace, she was for several minutes exposed to a storm of shot and shell  before replying with a single gun. Nelson coolly waited until he was within close range, when the broadside he  brought to bear worked fearful havoc on the enemy's nearest ships.]

14. Therefore the good fighter will be terrible in his onset, and prompt in his decision.  [The word "decision" would have reference to the measurement of distance mentioned above, letting the enemy get  near before striking. But I cannot help thinking that Sun Tzu meant to use the word in a figurative sense comparable  to our own idiom "short and sharp." Cf. Wang Hsi's note, which after describing the falcon's mode of attack,  proceeds: "This is just how the 'psychological moment' should be seized in war."]

15. Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision, to the releasing of a trigger.  [None of the commentators seem to grasp the real point of the simile of energy and the force stored up in the bent  cross-bow until released by the finger on the trigger.]

16. Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all; amid  confusion and chaos, your array may be without head or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat.  [Mei Yao-ch`en says: "The subdivisions of the army having been previously fixed, and the various signals agreed  upon, the separating and joining, the dispersing and collecting which will take place in the course of a battle, may  give the appearance of disorder when no real disorder is possible. Your formation may be without head or tail, your  dispositions all topsy-turvy, and yet a rout of your forces quite out of the question."]

17. Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline, simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness  postulates strength.  [In order to make the translation intelligible, it is necessary to tone down the sharply paradoxical form of the  original. Ts`ao Kung throws out a hint of the meaning in his brief note: "These things all serve to destroy formation  and conceal one's condition." But Tu Mu is the first to put it quite plainly: "If you wish to feign confusion in order to  lure the enemy on, you must first have perfect discipline; if you wish to display timidity in order to entrap the   enemy, you must have extreme courage; if you wish to parade your weakness in order to make the enemy overconfident,  you must have exceeding strength."]

18. Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is simply a question of subdivision;  [See supra, ss. 1.]  concealing courage under a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy;  [The commentators strongly understand a certain Chinese word here differently than anywhere else in this chapter.  Thus Tu Mu says: "seeing that we are favorably circumstanced and yet make no move, the enemy will believe that  we are really afraid."]  masking strength with weakness is to be effected by tactical dispositions.  [Chang Yu relates the following anecdote of Kao Tsu, the first Han Emperor: "Wishing to crush the Hsiung-nu, he  sent out spies to report on their condition. But the Hsiung-nu, forewarned, carefully concealed all their able-bodied  men and well-fed horses, and only allowed infirm soldiers and emaciated cattle to be seen. The result was that spies  one and all recommended the Emperor to deliver his attack. Lou Ching alone opposed them, saying: "When two  countries go to war, they are naturally inclined to make an ostentatious display of their strength. Yet our spies have  seen nothing but old age and infirmity. This is surely some ruse on the part of the enemy, and it would be unwise for  us to attack." The Emperor, however, disregarding this advice, fell into the trap and found himself surrounded at Poteng."]

19. Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which  the enemy will act.  [Ts`ao Kung's note is "Make a display of weakness and want." Tu Mu says: "If our force happens to be superior to  the enemy's, weakness may be simulated in order to lure him on; but if inferior, he must be led to believe that we are  strong, in order that he may keep off. In fact, all the enemy's movements should be determined by the signs that we  choose to give him." Note the following anecdote of Sun Pin, a descendent of Sun Wu: In 341 B.C., the Ch`i State  being at war with Wei, sent T`ien Chi and Sun Pin against the general P`ang Chuan, who happened to be a deadly  personal enemy of the later. Sun Pin said: "The Ch`i State has a reputation for cowardice, and therefore our  adversary despises us. Let us turn this circumstance to account." Accordingly, when the army had crossed the border  into Wei territory, he gave orders to show 100,000 fires on the first night, 50,000 on the next, and the night after  only 20,000. P`ang Chuan pursued them hotly, saying to himself: "I knew these men of Ch`i were cowards: their  numbers have already fallen away by more than half." In his retreat, Sun Pin came to a narrow defile, with he  calculated that his pursuers would reach after dark. Here he had a tree stripped of its bark, and inscribed upon it the  words: "Under this tree shall P`ang Chuan die." Then, as night began to fall, he placed a strong body of archers in  ambush near by, with orders to shoot directly they saw a light. Later on, P`ang Chuan arrived at the spot, and  noticing the tree, struck a light in order to read what was written on it. His body was immediately riddled by a volley  of arrows, and his whole army thrown into confusion. [The above is Tu Mu's version of the story; the SHIH CHI,  less dramatically but probably with more historical truth, makes P`ang Chuan cut his own throat with an  exclamation of despair, after the rout of his army.]  He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it.

20. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.  [With an emendation suggested by Li Ching, this then reads, "He lies in wait with the main body of his troops."]

21. The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals.  [Tu Mu says: "He first of all considers the power of his army in the bulk; afterwards he takes individual talent into  account, and uses each men according to his capabilities. He does not demand perfection from the untalented."]  Hence his ability to pick out the right men and utilize combined energy.

22. When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is  the nature of a log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope; if four-cornered, to  come to a standstill, but if round-shaped, to go rolling down.  [Ts`au Kung calls this "the use of natural or inherent power."]

23. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain  thousands of feet in height. So much on the subject of energy.   [The chief lesson of this chapter, in Tu Mu's opinion, is the paramount importance in war of rapid evolutions and  sudden rushes. "Great results," he adds, "can thus be achieved with small forces."]