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Unable to become an on-air political analyst for a television network or a syndicated news columnist, he wrote a book. But what a book The Prince is! Its essential contribution to modern political thought lies in Machiavelli's assertion of the then revolutionary idea that theological and moral imperative have no place in the political arena. "It must be understood", Machiavelli asserts, "that a prince...cannot observe all of those virtues for which men are reputed good, because it is often necessary to act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religions, in order to preserve the state."
With just a little imagination, readers can discern parallels between a 16th-century principality and a 21st-century presidency.
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The Prince and the Art of War by Machiavelli are must reads for any DOD or DOS member. One does not have to like his conclusions but his observations are right on. Plus it is a must read to understand the realist point of view.