No one can afford to fight everyone else. If the Medo-Persian Empire had taken cognizance of this truth, it would have accepted tribute from the Greeks, not insisted on homage. Insistence on homage, as opposed to a profitable alliance, which in politics is tantamount to friendship, led to demise of the Medo-Persian Empire.
If Alexander the Great had left Asia alone, he would have lived longer, and the Greek Empire likely would have survived much longer. Consequent on death of Alexander the Great — who in fact was a Macedonian , but who along with his father, Philip of Macedon, was willing to recognize superiority of Greek culture — frictions induced amongst Greeks, and between Greeks and Macedonians created room for emergence of Rome as ruler of the then known world. Hubris evident in ill fated decision of the Roman Empire to extend itself all the way to the modern day United Kingdom, and unwillingness of Roman Senators to treat Roman Generals (Julius Caesar) as equals, was in part contributory to demise of the Roman Empire. Silliness of Roman Senators is evident in the fact that subsequent to assassination of Julius Caesar (from 27 BC), and up until demise of the Roman Empire in 476 AD (over 500 years), the Senate would be subjugated to Roman Emperors.
Every entity — Individual, Organization, or Country — needs some friends — some Individuals, Organizations, or Countries — whom it voluntarily chooses not to fight.
Sometimes, friendship is perhaps, rather ignorantly deemed impossible. This sort of ignorance is evident in the history of the Roman Empire, and history of Carthage.
Carthage was extremely prosperous, ruled trade on the seas with it’s merchantmen, who of course were protected by it’s military might. With ascendancy of Rome, Carthage knew the world was not likely to be large enough for each of Rome and Carthage to together rule the then known world. Carthage knew it only was a matter of time before it would be considered a threat, as such suffer an invasion from the Roman Empire.
With Carthage a huge civilization that was surrounded by water, only an extremely large naval force, the sort of which was available only to the Romans, posed a real threat. In presence of such a large naval force, Carthage would be vulnerable. With realization of it’s vulnerability in mind, but without consideration of feasibility of friendship as solution, Carthage chose to take the fight to the Romans.
With one of the greatest generals of all time — Hannibal — at helm of affairs, Carthage invaded Rome for 13 years, and gained the upper hand in the conflict. Were it not for the fact that it suffered an attack that necessitated recall of Hannibal and his troops from invasion of Rome, it perhaps is the case that the course of history is altered, that Carthage defeats Rome.
Suppose, however, that Carthage chose not to become a world power, chose rather to focus on maintenance of it’s prosperity. Boiled down to it’s nitty gritty, all that really mattered was for Carthage to continue to freely dominate trade on the seas, not be hampered by the might of the Roman Empire. Rome’s dominance of the world, on the other hand, was essentially a military and engineering dominance, a dominance that was not rooted in trade and merchantmen.
Clearly, Rome had much more to lose from defeat in war than Carthage had to gain from victory, for Carthage could not replace Rome’s engineering prowess, a prowess that was a huge component of it’s civilizing effect on the rest of the then known world.
By the same token, Carthage had much more to lose from a loss at war than Rome had to gain, for Rome could not replace Carthage as merchantmen of the high seas.
In presence of differences in their strengths, clearly there was opportunity for institution of a synergistic friendship between Rome and Carthage.
In the focus on the fact that militarily it was as competent as Rome, Carthage focused on a comparison of power, as opposed to a comparison of strengths and objectives.
Clearly, the most productive remedy for the ensuing rivalry between Rome and Carthage was for Carthage to be willing to give up some of it’s profits to Rome, and to cease to want to rule over the rest of the world. In response, Rome would not consider Carthage a threat, and in fact could open up additional trade opportunities for Carthage. While Carthage would give up some profits, in presence of increase to trade opportunities, it in fact could become more prosperous. It remains true, however, that even if trade would remain the same, that Carthage was better off with a truce and alliance, as opposed to all out war.
If it is wise to give up some of income for protection against loss in context of insurance, it cannot be unwise to give up some income to protect against war that can cost everything.
If Carthage had given up thoughts of military dominance of the then known world, had negotiated a treaty with the Roman Empire — a treaty within which they would continue to ply the seas as merchantmen protected by their great army and navy — it perhaps is the case that Carthage survives to this day. On the contrary, subsequent to return of Hannibal to Carthage, Carthage was invaded by the Romans, who would go on to win that second round of war. Whatever it was that rubbed them wrong, the Romans got so angered at Carthage that subsequent to their victory, they burnt all of that great civilization to the ground.
Whenever Individuals, Organizations, or Countries focus on comparisons of power, as opposed to the best path to attainment of objectives — the path that makes the most of their strengths — they are liable to manifestation of hubris, as opposed to the best realizations of common sense.
Maintenance and/or achievement of objectives is more important than demonstrations of power. ‘Tis the reason it is much accepted that wisdom (as symbolized by a wisely wielded pen) is more powerful than might (as symbolized by a sword).
If you make friends on basis of power, if you are to impress your friends, you always will have to demonstrate power, meaning you always will seek some individual, organization, or country to oppress. It is true then that friendships that are rooted in power always transform into cooperatives of oppression. Given jealousies can erupt in context of cooperatives of oppression, cooperatives of oppression always can break down into internecine war and oppression.
If you make friends on basis of wisdom, that is, on basis of friendships that are supportive of your moral, good, and right objectives — all of which are rooted in your strengths — you build up and reserve power for dealing with attacks on your objectives. Power becomes a deterrent to attacks on your person and objectives, as opposed to a means of oppression. Given friendships that revolve around moral, good, and right objectives ought never to break down, friendships that are rooted in wisdom ought to be stable, ought to extend for eons of time, ought to be perpetual.
Friendships rooted in power are wont to break down, are wont to devolve into internecine war and oppression.
Friendships rooted in pursuit of moral, good, and right objectives — friendships that are rooted in wisdom — have stability, can be perpetual.
Having established necessity of some friendships, clearly you need a rubric for pursuit and arrival at friendships.
If you seek friendships on which you can depend, friendships which will not have you scrambling for new friends every once in a while in perpetuity, you need friendships that revolve around commonality of moral, good, and right objectives, friendships that are built on wisdom.
Friendships that are built on wisdom revolve around comparisons of, and synergism of objectives. Whenever character of objectives becomes dissociated from power, all that is left is opportunity for internecine war and oppression. Whenever power serves for protection of objectives that are moral, good, and right, prosperity is produced in context of peaceful and synergistic coexistence. Given synergies evolve over time in response to innovations that occur within cooperatives of wisdom, friendships that are rooted in wisdom tend towards generation and sharing of innovations for maintenance of mutual prosperity.
So then, internecine war and oppression vis-a-vis peaceful, synergistic, and innovation sharing coexistence? Seems like a no-brainer to me.