Fateful Scene – Marcus Brutus and coconspirators assassinate Caesar in the Aquila Theatre Company’s production of “Julius Caeser.” Richard Termine/Courtesy photo.

Did you know this maxim was attributed to Philip II of Macedonia and was heavily used by both Caesar and Napoleon?

Also, did you know that it covers a lot more than ‘divide and conquer’?

For instance, a rather successful computer game and a problem solving methodology  that recommends the original problem be divided into smaller, and hence easier to manage, sub-problems.

Going back to the original meaning I must admit that both the ancient Macedonians and the ancient Romans made ‘good’ use of it. Alexandre the Great had conquered everything between Greece and India while the Ancient Rome had become one of the most powerful empires known to man.

In more modern times the same strategy has been used by Germany, with relative success. During WWI the Kaiser had facilitated Lenin’s access to Russia and by doing so he had split the coalition that was fighting against Germany – as a result of this manoeuvre Russia had concluded a separate peace treaty at Brest Litovsk. During WWII Hitler took great care to keep Russia at bay while he conquered the Western part of Europe.

Now the same strategy is being used by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the current Czar of Russia.

On Sunday, March 22, 2015, Sankt Petersburg – Putin’s birth place and political trampoline – hosted the Russian Conservative Forum. It was attended by a “a motley crew of representatives of fringe right-wing political organizations in Europe and the United States” which “including Hitler apologists, Holocaust deniers, apartheid fans, and a Russian skinhead who once decapitated a puppy as a publicity stunt, gave it an air of dark surrealism. Speakers condemned the U.S. as the enslaver of Europe and sang the praises of Russian President Vladimir Putin, holding up Russia as the last fortress of Christendom in the war waged on it by liberalism and multiculturalism.
“In the West, we are brainwashed to hate Vladimir Putin,” said British anti-abortion-rights campaigner Jim Dowson. He went on to say that Russia is blessed to be ruled by “a real man” while the U.S. is led by the “feminized” Barack Obama.”

On Tuesday, March 24, “The UN General Assembly’s budget committee … rejected a proposal submitted by Russia that called for withdrawing a July 2014 administrative ruling by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He ordered the world body to recognize same-sex unions of any of its 60,000 global staff who wed in countries that legally recognize such partnerships.
The dispute turned an internal UN personnel policy into a microcosm of the differences that pit the U.S. and EU nations against more socially conservative countries over recognizing rights of those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”

If we put two and two together and then add the result to what has already become evident – that the Russian (more exactly Putin’s) Propaganda machine has been revved up in a massive way for quite a while now – things do get in shape.
Putin is ‘doing his worst’ to convince those uncomfortable with the spread of ‘liberal values’/globalization that if they want to ‘preserve their national traditions’ they have to ‘unite closely around’ the only leader that can save them from being engulfed by the ‘decadence of the West’. Around him, that is.

In fact this is exactly what the ’emperors of old’ I mentioned at the beginning of the post used to recommend. Instil as much fear in your opponents, individually, as you can and try to rekindle the smallest differences that ever existed between them.

There is a small problem though with this line of thinking.
No matter how much we respect/admire some of them or hate/despise the others none of those who had used this strategy ended up in a ‘comfortable’ manner.
And all of them had brought great misery to the people under their rule. Including Caesar. A civil war is no small thing, not now, not then!

While we ponder what to do in order to counter this nefarious propaganda we need to keep in mind that Russia is not Putin and that the Russian people has never had a taste of what real democracy feels like. Blaming the entire people, wholesale, for what Putin does in their name ‘is worse than a crime, it’s a mistake’.

PS. Same counter-strategy should be applied to all would be ‘dividers’ who try to become ’emperors’.

http://scarlet.unl.edu/scarlet/archive/2008/02/28/story9.html
http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royinterface/12/104/20141335.full.pdf
http://history.stackexchange.com/questions/14608/did-the-germans-purposefully-arrange-to-send-lenin-to-russia-to-start-a-revoluti
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/treaty_of_brest-litovsk.htm
http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/a-hateful-sort-of-love
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/23/world/europe/right-wing-groups-find-a-haven-for-a-day-in-russia.html?ref=europe
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-23/is-russia-against-fascism-or-isn-t-it-
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-24/russian-bid-to-block-same-sex-benefits-for-un-workers-rejected
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/17/crimea-crisis-russia-propaganda-media
http://www.unrv.com/fall-republic/caesars-civil-war.php