Saturday was Machiavelli’s birthday (May 3rd, 1469). While much reviled by some as a ruthless political animal, there are many that believe him to be the master of political observation and strategy– based on the realities of human nature as it exists, not fanciful utopian wishes. His best known work, The Prince, is a book about the attainment and preservation of power and a stable state. It contains good advice about the need and use of military force in order to protect nations.
Consider the war in Iraq and the larger overall threat posed against America by the Islamo-fascist world, led by Iran and Al-Qaida. Given the ongoing rhetoric of the various enemy leaders, the verbal threats of Iran’s president backed by the mullahs, and the very real attacks of September 11th and others, there is no doubt that the intent of our enemies is to bring war right into the heart of our country. What do we do? Do we wait till until more Americans are dying on our streets? No. You do what Machiavelli points out. You do what President Bush is doing: You bring the war to them…
[T]he Romans saw when troubles were coming and always took counter-measures. They never, to avoid a war, allowed them to go unchecked, because they knew that there is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others. They made up their minds to wage war with Philip and Antiochus in Greece, in order not to have to do so in Italy.
This is a point we mustn’t forget as we head into a presidential election where the Democratic candidate (whoever it might be) promises withdrawal and retreat. Click here for a more extensive post I wrote back in November about this subject. I know I’m repeating myself here, but some of these points cannot be stressed often enough given the realities we face today. There is no better teacher than history. There is nothing new in the world that hasn’t been seen in some form or fashion in the past. Happy birthday, Niccolo!