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An Analysis Of Pol Pot's Regime In Light Of Machiavelli's The Prince

1571 words - 7 pages

It was the year of 1984 when the movie “The Killing Fields” shocked, bothered, and awed the world. The movie tells us of what happened in Cambodia during the time of the American-Vietnam war and the seizing of Cambodia’s government by the Khmer Rouge. It showed us the real scope of the disaster that fell upon the Cambodian government and society by using the experiences of three journalists namely: Dith Pran, Sydney Schanberg and Jon Swain. And though I would want to argue that there might have been certain events that were left untouched by this movie that could have lend us more valuable information about the Cambodian Genocide and the Khmer Rouge regime, I would leave that point be and ...view middle of the document...

In order to attain that, he utilized “fear” as a weapon to make Cambodians obey him and denounce all their former beliefs, for as Machiavelli said: “A prince, must not mind incurring the charge of cruelty for the purpose of keeping his subjects united and faithful (Ebenstein, 2000: 294).”

Both Pol Pot and Machiavelli knew that human beings hold their properties, rights, and especially their lives and that of their loved ones very close to their hearts. Given that nature of man, he will obey anything that you ask him to do in fear that the consequence of not doing so will cost him one or more, if not all of the above-mentioned things he holds dear. He then devised ways on how to continually impose fear into the hearts of his subjects. He did not hesitate to impose ways what many will consider “immoral” to keep his subjects loyal and dependent to him. And in in his extremely ruthless campaign, Pol Pot used iron fists in the form of force, propaganda, re-education, and threats and even came to the lengths of ordering his soldiers to kill anyone who dares to oppose their governments and ideals. The Western Culture was treated as a mud stain on white shirt in a sense that it firmly believed that goodness and righteousness are inadequate to win and maintain the kind of political power and the right kind of society that Pol Pot was craving for. Another admirable characteristic of this “prince” is that he led his army with a mixture of cruelty and liberality. One scene in the movie that poked my attention was when a group of journalists were captured by the Khmer and right there and then, without even flinching, the soldiers executed one Cambodian citizen by shooting him in the face. Wow, what brutality! Such brutality can only be acquired by making someone undergo a very strict disciplinary routine that involves pain and brainwashing to the point that they cannot be perturbed by their conscience anymore. Despite this, his liberality still showed as he allowed his soldiers to basically do everything they like while on a mission or on duty provided that they still adhere to the morals of the organization and are by no means slacking off. Machiavelli is most famous for his statement that morals and ethics have absolutely no association to the process of gaining, expanding, and retaining power. In the Machiavellian concept, “Power is the end of politics, goodness thus coincides with efficiency; and inefficient means bad (Ebenstein, 2000: 286).” This film is filled to the brim with this kind of philosophy. Let’s take for example

the bombing of Cambodia in order to hunt down the Vietnamese guerillas. If we are to look at it in a moral perspective, the bombing is immoral and therefore condemnable; apply the Machiavellian philosophy and you’ll see the bombing in a different way. True, the number of casualties is regrettable, but then again the bombing is an efficient method to eradicate the guerillas without compromising the lives of American soldiers....

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