Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Niccolo Machiavelli was right

I like Arnold Kling's column on confronting Iran.

The problem for Western politicians is that their constituents will not allow them to act as they must act in order to be effective with the Iranian government or Hamas or the Syrian government.

Everything I experienced from Morocco to Pakistan left me believing that the people there are always testing, always confronting. If you do not respond in kind, you lose. Period.

If you do respond in kind, screaming right back and spewing spittle in THEIR faces, you may not win, but you are accepted as a man.

They do not respect diplomacy. They do not respect apologies from the more powerful. They do not respect compromise by the more powerful, for that is an expression of weakness of will. They do not respect expressions of remorse, or of guilt. They respect only power and the willingness to use it overwhelmingly. Machiavelli said "It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both." Machiavelli was right.

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