The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don’t just go away, they are only postponed to someone else’s advantage.

The Prince (1513)

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More from Niccolò Machiavelli

Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.

The Prince (1513)

A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent.

The Prince (1513)

In judging policies we should consider the results that have been achieved through them rather than the means by which they have been executed.

undated letter to Piero Soderini

Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts. But let this happen in such a way that no one become aware of it; or, if it should be noticed, excuses must be at hand to be produced immediately.

quoted in Arthur Koestler's Darkness At Noon (1941)