Reading Machiavelli in Iraq

Machiavelli’s political analyses on civic life in Italy’s fifteenth-century city-states offer a good starting point for those interested in determining the best way forward for today’s Iraq.

Issue: Nov-Dec 2012

MOST AMERICANS know Niccolò Machiavelli only from The Prince, a sixteenth-century “audition tape” he dashed off in lieu of a résumé to try to land a job. It’s a shame. Not only was Machiavelli the leading advocate of democracy of his day, but his ideas also had a profound influence on the framers of our own Constitution.

It’s even more of a shame because the corpus of Machiavelli’s remarkable work on democracy, politics and international relations is easily the best guide to understanding the dynamics at play in contemporary Iraq and its situation within the wider Middle East.

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