"When I first started in politics, I wanted to please everyone, and you can't please everyone and you learn that the best thing is to do what you think is right and everyone can make their judgment.
"That's the theory of Mr Tony - which I prefer to 'prime minister', let me tell you."
Thus spake Anthony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain, in the United Arab Emirates yesterday.
All in all, a pretty dull theory - "the art of leadership is making decisions"?
Machiavelli, it's not.
I much prefer Richard Nixon's Madman Theory, which held that maximum political and military advantage could be gained by convincing your enemies that you are dangerously irrational and liable to press the nuclear button at any second.
Blair's surely equal to this task, if his behaviour in the last five years is anything to go by. I reckon he'd gain far more political clout with the White House if he stopped nodding and smiling on his visits.
He'd earn more respect if he started liberally sprinkling his speeches before the American media with sexual swearwords, snarling and spitting at low-level functionaries when they displeased him.
If a political heavyweight such as Jacques Chirac challenged him during negotiations on the Common Agricultural Policy, he'd be best to hold his jacket open to make himself appear as large as possible and charge, roaring at the top of his voice.
Let them hate you, so long as they fear you.
Oh, wait. I might be mixing up Richard Nixon with Emperor Caligula here.
You'd be amazed at how often that happens.
Mister T, snorting, preparing to pounce