OK pretty easy. Will re-print this as a poll after we’ve had mucho discussion.
Who do you feel is the BEST LEADER EVER - ON PLANET EARTH: Dictator, President, Pseudo-God, Caesar, Prime Minister, Army Coup’deTat, Regime (in case just one person isn’t responsible), Warlord, Church, Bank, Parliament, etc… Remember this is the best leader. So your best leader might not be the benevolent best leader I choose. You could vote Vlad the Impaler because of his effective techniques for holding off the Turks at impossible odds.
Who do you feel is the anti-thesis who you wrote above? Or simply the worst, shittiest President/leader ever?
Dictator, President, God, Caesar, Prime Minister, Army Coup’deTat, Regime (in case just one person isn’t responsible), warlord, church, bank, mega- corp, etc…
This is a topic that … i cannot approach. There are so many possible choices but much turns on your interpretation of history. Do you take a Western view and see Pericles as the great turning point in “saving” Western civilization? Or do you see in Ghenghis Khan the marks of true greatness? Even if his empire dissolved into oblivion a few decades later, leaving even his original homeland prostrate? Is Muhammed the greatest military leader of all time, despite his unimportant and minor skirmish victories, because of the example they set for a thousand years to spread his name by force? And how much of a leader’s success is determined by the socio-economic situation that allows the leader to expand. Caesar might have been a great leader, but wasn’t Rome already on the uptick, with no important enemies remaining?
That’s the point. The are a million ways to look at this and NONE are wrong. But one caveat. What did the conquests of Genghis Kahn do for his people 100 years down the line? Destitution or prosperity? Because it’s not “just” about who they kicked ass on while he was alive, it was, “what legacy did he leave behind”
Best:Ataturk; when Time Mag was doing their Person of the Century poll, AttaTurk. The range of things the man did for Turkey is remarkable from winning military victories, to inventing a new language, to putting Turkey on a path to modernity is remarkable. The guy was no saint but amazingly effective leader, and worship to this day by Turks.
Honorable mentions: Queen Elizabeth and George Washington
Worse: There may have worse leaders in ancient times but from the shear misery caused, and gruesome death toll it is hard to beat Hitler, Stalin and Mao.
Here is my list for Greatest Leaders: (i can’t really choose one)
Columbus and Cortez Their long influence over world affairs is almost incalculable. These are men that in many ways look very ordinary and common from the historic perspective, or that their actions were to some extent inevitable events in the socio-economic world in which they lived (America could have just as easily been discovered by anyone else, and it was probably destined that it would be a European discoverer at that point). Yet they are the ones that did what they did, at the time they did, for whatever subtle reasons. And by doing so, irrevocably changed world history.
Shi Huang Di Probably the greatest indirect leader, though this might seem a fashionable choice. By creating the ideal of a unified China that has lasted until today, he helped create a massive nation that would influence the pattern of world history, though, as i said, indirectly.
1)Stable China means that the not only did the Turkic/Mongolian peoples grow wealthy (more or less) as neighbors, but that their constant growth fueled the mass migrations that for 2000 years punctuated Asian and European history. Europe would be unrecognizable today had not the “pressures from the steppes” caused massive migrations of Germanic, Slavic, Turkic, and other national ethnic groups that completely changed European civilization. These pressures came not only because these peoples (Turkic/Mongolians) grew numerous and rich by contact with China, but because they often couldn’t invade China itself due to it’s massive centralized authority (granting that they did still often invade, that China’s central authority was often punctuated by centuries of dissolution and decline, and that the Hepthalite Huns and similar groups often had profound influence on India and Persia as well).
Stable China = East-West road, one of the defining economic aspects of virtually the whole Central Asian/Middle Eastern world for much of the last 2000 years.