isocratesWhen Barack and I first came out with the idea for an IS fight, I was, as then and now, very inspired by the Peloponesean war. That war, was a war between Athens (democracy) and Sparta (communism). One of the really interesting occurrences of that war, was an incidence that happened in the mid of the war. Sparta was quite famed for their strict respect for the law, they saw justice as something final. In fact the feared the law more than they feared death.

This made for a culture with a few outstanding individuals. Among them Leonidas, the Spartan king that sacrificed himself at the famous battle at Thermopylea. But there was another less known spartan captain that won over several cities just because the cities respected his sense of justice.

Now, I have pondered this strategy a bit more. It seems clear to me, that fighting with honour and doing the just thing has made a huge alliance. Now the Islamic state believes it fights 80 nations. That is a huge league.

Isocrates, a lesser known, but nonetheless very influential philosopher who was a contemporary of Plato, made a speech encircling the same theme.

At the time of his speech, Athens had lost its empire, and it seems to me, that it had become quite unpopular. According to Isocrates because it had taken advantage over its status as protector of its empire, abusing those it was supposed to lead.

His advice is the same as mine, I think he must have thought about the same incident as me, about the spartan captain, because he refers a lot to Sparta in his speech. But what he says is; in order for Athens to regain its leading role, it must stop abusing its powers and humble itself. He says that leading by example and with a clear conscience is both cheaper and will ultimately bring peace, because the allies and everybody else will have less to fight about.

I did not see this perspective, but it makes sense, if the powerful becomes humble and fights for its values, it will becomes less prone to be attacked.

Isocrates was the one that advised king Philip to rise against Persia, and was the brainchild behind Alexander the great. So, he has proved his advice to be good.

So the strategy rests upon solid ground, it has been advised before, by some of the best minds in the world.

So far it works, and I hope it will outlive the work Obama and I do together. It should be a testament to the genius not of us, but of democracy, as we rest our ideological ground on some of the finest thinkers the world has ever witnessed.

G-d bless the United States of America, and may it be inspired by the glorious city of Athens, the cradle of democracy.

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