One of my favorites pastime is reading military tactics and history. Call me an armchair strategist I don't mind. But thit is my favorite. Again, I have to quote one of the greatest military commanders in history: Napoleon Bonaparte: "Read and re-read deeds of the great commanders, that is the only way to learn the art of war".
But we are in no war right; so what is our business engaging those military minds? The creator of Red Army, Leon Trotsky reminds us: "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."
In war, we learn that the nation who prepares can thrive in the most difficult circumstances. You need to be well organised, disciplined and most important of all, making a crucial decision to determine win or lose in battlefield. Unlike politic or business, the real warfare involves human life.
Clausewitz identified the distinctive qualities of the 'martial genius'. Courage, fine judgement, resolution and coolness, the ability to 'hit at once upon a truth that is invisible to the normal mind or becomes visible only after long consideration and reflection'.
Can we use this qualities to evaluate the qualities of political genius? Hitler was once being labeled as an 'evil genius', but he also a political genius. Some author makes fun of the 'evil genius' definition. Certainly he was evil, but genius? doubtful. But I can assure you he was a political genius.
My point is simple. The one who makes the difference is a leader. Whether he is a military leader, dictator, politician, business leader and so on, the 'crucial decision' is his. So the buck should stop at the leader on top, the one that we entrusted with our faith, loyalty and destiny.
Like Napoleon was once told his commanders: It's not Prussian who defies Austria, France and Russia in Seven Years War but Frederick the Great. When political genius of Hitler failed to shine in the last days of WW2, it was Germany who suffered a terrible fate.
The leader who has qualities of martial genius like fine judgement, courage and resolution must see the problem with his own eyes and must listen with his own ears. "Commander who sees through other people's eyes cannot command an army that he supposes to command." Again, this brilliant truth came from the Great Napoleon.
I remember how Malaysian being mould effectively by a statesman name Tun Mahathir. And he was the one who did the right thing even unpopular decision. But he has the courage, not only physical but moral courage. His resolution becomes the habit of mind.
And he acts beautifully managing the pressure from every single unpopular decision he made. He managed to silence his critics with the results he achieved by doing a right thing. His ability to do the right thing came from his fine judgement. And most of all, he doesn't listen without thinking to his advisers. He managed to impose his 'persona' to the administration.
He never ever even try to develop this nation through the eye of foreign consultants. He did it his way. Sadly, after he retired, his successors seem cannot manage the new Malaysia, a wild beast can only be tamed by Tun Mahathir. Even when he left, they inherited modern Malaysian, armed with experiences, knowledges and good educational system.
"An army of lions led by a stag would never be an army of lions."