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Machiavelli in practice - Essay Example

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The two quotes chosen from Machiavelli for this paper are “A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways” and “The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is…
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Machiavelli in practice
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The two quotes chosen from Machiavelli for this paper are “A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times,in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways” and “The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.” An explanation of the quotes will be given. Two examples from history and more recent political situations will be presented. The first quote will be compared to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein. The second quote will be compared with The Non- Aggression Pact of 1939 between Hitler and Stalin and the first President Bush’s no tax promise. The success of the quote will be looked at as well.
“A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways.” This quote means that some rulers are stubborn. They feel that their way has worked for years. Their way is right. However as the world changes the ruler is disposed due to his unwillingness to change. Whether a country changes politically, economically, territorially, or otherwise a ruler must be able to rule the changed country. If the ruler does not change to meet the new challenges, the ruler will be overthrown.
An example from history about a man never changing is Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler came to rule Germany during an economic crisis. His policy of a greater Germanic race had an underlying policy of war. Hitler wanted to rule Europe as a pure Aryan race with the Slavic peoples as slaves or dead. When the war begin going against Hitler, he refused to change his policies. Hitler could have surrendered, but he did not want to. His vision of conquering Europe blinded him. If he would have changed, Hitler might not have eventually been defeated.
Saddam Hussein is another example of a man unwilling to change. Hussein ruled Iraq with an iron fist. Iraqis that opposed him were put to death or tortured. Hussein invaded Kuwait. Hussein’s goal was to rule Iraq with an iron fist. After the first Gulf War, Hussein was placed under a monitoring system through NATO. He defied the order over and over. Nothing happened for turning away NATO inspectors or continuing down the path he was on. However, after 9/11 the threat of a nuclear Iraq was intolerable to the United States. It was not true, but even the appearance of the threat was unbearable. Hussein did not change with the times. He kept baiting the United States. As a result America invaded Iraq. Hussein was eventually captured and put to death. If he had complied with NATO’s orders the United States would not have been able to justify invading them. Hussein could not change, so he was deposed.
“The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.” This quote means sometimes to get your way a promise must be made. Sometimes circumstances create a situation where the promise must be broken. It happens daily in normal people’s lives as well as political decisions. Parents promise to take a child to the store in order to placate them for the moment. The next day the parent’s job, car troubles, or something else comes up. The promise gets broken.
An example of promises given and then broken is The Non- Aggression Pact of 1939 between Hitler and Stalin. Both men wanted more territory. Hitler also needed time to conquer the Western front. Stalin did not want the Germans to invade the Soviet Union. However, Hitler’s major goal was to rule all of Europe including Russia. After securing the Western front to the English Channel, Hitler’s word had to be broken to achieve his ultimate goal. The promise was made out of necessity, but broken to achieve Hitler’s present goal.
Another example of promises made and then broken was the first Bush’s campaign promise of ‘no new taxes.’ This promise was made because that’s what Americans wanted to hear. Bush would not have been elected if he promised new taxes. However, when the government needed to have a better budget, new taxes were the only way. The promise had to be broken in the present.
All four of the examples were not successful. Hitler and Hussein not changing led to their fall. Hitler and Bush both broke promises with negative backlash. Hitler got into a war he could not win. Bush lost the next election. Machiavelli’s quotes are advice to leaders, past and present. If the leaders would have heeded Machiavelli’s warnings, maybe history would have turned out differently. If Hitler and Hussein had changed with the times, they might still rule or would have ruled longer. Understanding that promises made in the past will be broken in the present might have made the leaders promise more responsibly. Again history would be changed. Machiavelli’s quotes are common sense, but sometimes leaders to not have common sense. Leaders are humans after all. Read More
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