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elipson
11th October 04, 05:32 PM
Due tomorrow: Two 4 pages essays, one on the relevance of machiavelli in todays world, the other one comparing a bunch of essay we've read in class.

Here's the deal. Some of the best political debates I've had have been from this forum, so I figured I would post my machiavelli paper and see what everyone thinks of it. Its short, 4 pages max (I could write way more, but 4 is all I'm allowed).

Basically I've compared Bush's actions in Iraq/Afghanistan to Machs teachings.

If ppl could read it and let me know what they think, that would so rock! The paper is due tomorrow, and I'm going to be online all night working on the second half (compare 5 essays in 4 pages, WTF!!!), so I'll be checking for advice every little while. You can also msn me at [email protected]

Any feedback is appreciated! Hijack this thread and I'll fucking kill you though!! Thanks all!

Removed at elipson's request.

Love,
Dai

Osiris
11th October 04, 05:42 PM
I don't even see how this is valid comparison seeing as Machiavelli's suggestions were to be applied to taking and maintaining power, while Bush is taking over and delegating authority. I think if you did feel the need to utilize that text however, it would be more sensible to discuss Bush's acquistion and maintenance of power HERE. Compare the way Bush came into power (luck, legacy, crime) and his actions once in power (duplicity, war), to what Machiavelli has recommended. Its far more applicable since Machiavelli didn't really deal with this type of action.

ICY
11th October 04, 05:46 PM
Machiavelli's suggestions were to be applied to taking and maintaining power

You don't think that's what's happening here? That's the whole point.

elipson
11th October 04, 05:48 PM
Maybe I should be more specific. I'm using "the prince" as a reference, not "the discourses". Bush is in control of a republic, "the prince" doesn't deal with republics. The prince mostly deals with taking over and controling other countries. How doesn't that apply to taking over and controling Iraq and afghanistan? (although you are right about the end result being different, both countries moving towards their own self rule. For the mean time, the US is trying to keep control over the population, as well as the different power groups)

Osiris
11th October 04, 06:20 PM
You don't think that's what's happening here? That's the whole point.

Bush has not interest in maintaining power in the manner that Machiavelli spoke of.


I'm using "the prince" as a reference, not "the discourses".

I saw that.


Bush is in control of a republic, "the prince" doesn't deal with republics.

Im aware of that, but the basic principles of maintaining power are still the same. Bush has to pretect the people from outsiders, satisfy the population, eliminate opponents and carry out the rest of the actions detailed in The Prince. The Prince is primarily a book of ethics, so it really is universal in a way.


The prince mostly deals with taking over and controling other countries. How doesn't that apply to taking over and controling Iraq and afghanistan?

Because The Prince deals with personal rule for the long term. All Bush has to do is keep the country for a few years. He has no responsibilty towards them as Machiavelli's prince does. He doesn't RULE exatly, but police, and he has no intentions of changing that. Our Prince is a ruler.

elipson
11th October 04, 06:24 PM
How are the principles of maintaining rule in the short term different than the long term? Especially seeing how he is trying to turn both countries into pro-western countries.

DJeter1234
11th October 04, 06:30 PM
what level of education is this? if in college, what level of a class?

ICY
11th October 04, 06:32 PM
I think Bush is trying to establish control over Iraq and Aghanistan for America...he wants to pass that control on to the next president, but I think that doesn't change the way he needs to act to accomplish that goal.

elipson
11th October 04, 06:34 PM
Second year poli sci. It's not a research paper. The prof says he wants 50% of it to be our own opinions on the readings. No outside sources are required, although I used one from the class reding list.

Osiris
11th October 04, 06:38 PM
Rule in the short term allows the ruler a lot more leeway in terms of choosing a style. He took over through a criminal route as Machiavelli describes. Duplicity is how he got in there. Machiavelli's criminal prince who rules by supressing opponents is held accountable. He has to be. The people will eventually get fed up hold him accountable for it. So what does this prince do? He puts it one someone elses head. Remember in the example where he puts a brutal man in power and then has him executed to make up for it? Bush doesn't have to do that. They know who's responsible and he doesn't give a fuck. Why? Because he's getting out of there. Now, conversion to a Western friendly state would require appeasement. However, they have no intentions of creating such as state. Lets look at the region. We can count Israel and Saudi Arabia as western friendly. Israel has a large palestinian population that hates us and the Saudi's are producing all kinds of terrorists. Both of these country's are excacerbating the current mess in the middle east and are detrimental to the regions stability. What we have here is an Africa type situation in which short term rule and ad hoc conflict "resoultion" are masking the underlying chaos. With longterm ambitions the US would have committed serious resources into dealing with things as opposed to the half ass measure we see now. And by serious, I mean WW3 serious. This didn't work in Africa and it won't in the middle east.

elipson
11th October 04, 06:41 PM
Good points Osiris. But seeing how the paper is due tomorrow, I don't think I'll be re-writing the entire thing tonight. Do you have criticisms of the examples I have used in the essay?

He took over through a criminal route as Machiavelli describes.
It's that process that I have largely examined in my paper.

ICY
11th October 04, 06:43 PM
It worked in Africa until there were major wars.

SCO
11th October 04, 06:46 PM
"Removed at elipson's request.

Love,
Dai"

Really? Bit simplistic.
Afghanistan is poverty-stricken country with a long history of blodshed, where tribal structures have been the only thing that ever somehow worked, where people have reason to distrust their neighbours, where other nations have played their "great game" for a long time for selfish interests. Who would hand over their lives and interests as an act of goodwill to someone who hasn`t even proven long-term good intentions and capability?
Pity Shah Massoud is dead while Hekmatyar is still kicking.

ICY
11th October 04, 06:48 PM
Oh, there are a few times in the essay where you use "there" when you should be using "their" and a couple of other little grammatical things.

elipson
11th October 04, 06:57 PM
Thanks Choke.

SCO, 4 page esasy. I know there's way more to that story, but I'm a bit constrained. The source for the second issue you brought up is "AFghanistan Unbound" courtesy of foreign affairs magazine. As to the first issue, this is something I noticed as well.

I find myself explaining to a lot of ppl in my class that M actually preferred republics!

elipson
11th October 04, 07:00 PM
Damn, thanks a lot Choke. I'm almost ashamed at how many times I fucked that up. Chalk it up to fast typing!

Osiris
11th October 04, 07:05 PM
It worked in Africa until there were major wars.

And the cause of the major wars was??? Oh yeh, ad hoc solutions to major problems. The European goals were exploitation, not really control.


Do you have criticisms of the examples I have used in the essay?

No. While I think you're comparing apples to oranges, you're doing it well.

elipson
11th October 04, 07:10 PM
Thanks Os. I agree with a lot of what you're saying, in that this situation is very different than medieval Italy. But still, I find the examples I've used to be very close to the situations described by Mach.

Osiris
11th October 04, 07:13 PM
Oh yeh, its definitely passable. The examples are removed from their original context, but as stand alone examples of Machiavelli's ideas, they work fine here.

ICY
11th October 04, 07:18 PM
And the cause of the major wars was??? Oh yeh, ad hoc solutions to major problems. The European goals were exploitation, not really control.

Exploitation requires control.

Osiris
11th October 04, 07:27 PM
Only a degree however. It does not require the same level of control that long term rule does.

ICY
11th October 04, 07:27 PM
No, but we're talking about long-term exploitation here, and that requires long-term rule.

Osiris
11th October 04, 07:48 PM
Yes, but not to the same degree. You have to be there making money, but you don't particularly need to do anything besides maintain your presence.

ICY
11th October 04, 07:54 PM
To maintain the presense, YOU NEED CONTROL...total control is best, allowing maximum exploitation...the less control you have, the less money you make.

Osiris
11th October 04, 07:56 PM
Not as much as you would if you intended to stay. Look at Africa. They only dealt with the aspects relevant to their money making. Thats not true control.

elipson
11th October 04, 08:18 PM
Is Wastrel still on hiatus from the site?
I'd really value his opinion on this subject.

Osiris
11th October 04, 08:27 PM
Wastrel will be glad to help you. Send it here. [email protected] He's headed to lift at the moment, but Im sure he'll get back to you.

Sun Wukong
12th October 04, 02:06 AM
dude, edit that and space it apart a bit. those solid blocks of text are killing my eyes.

Jolly_Roger
12th October 04, 02:20 AM
Originally posted by I Choke You
To maintain the presense, YOU NEED CONTROL...total control is best, allowing maximum exploitation...the less control you have, the less money you make.

I think that this point is a investment/benefit one.
Over a certain point, gains do not become noticeable. I mean, to really control a country, you need a lot of resources, in media, religion, etc. For economic control, you only need military control of the area, and a way in/out.

Nice paper, Elipson!
When you have time, read the Arthashastra, from Kautaliya. It's an Indian treaty from Chandragupta's time, which has often been compared to the prince. It also deals with the ways of keeping power on your hands, and it's even closer to what we see today.

Shug
12th October 04, 09:57 AM
Originally posted by elipson
Maybe I should be more specific. I'm using "the prince" as a reference, not "the discourses". Bush is in control of a republic, "the prince" doesn't deal with republics. The prince mostly deals with taking over and controling other countries. How doesn't that apply to taking over and controling Iraq and afghanistan? (although you are right about the end result being different, both countries moving towards their own self rule. For the mean time, the US is trying to keep control over the population, as well as the different power groups)

"The Prince" has nothing to do with "taking over" other countries, it is, just as Osiris said, about mataining power by all means necessary. The ends justify the means is the best concept in that book I could use to describe it.

And truthfully, Bush is a very "the ends justify the means" person. He did everything he could to take power (his brother phoning into Fox that he won in Florida, when in fact, he didn't) and does everything he can to gain and mantain that power.

Patriot act taking away right of due process, propossing the indecency act, which would have given both the executive branch and FCC power to fine any broadcasting system for anything (both opinion, or anything considered super christianly offensive), the way in which he came out and said that if Congress didn't approve the move to fight Iraq, he would overule their decision as commander and chief (something I'm still not sure he can really do).

Bush and his administration are trying, consistantly, to gain as much control, over as many facits of society in the US as they can, playing it off with an "its for your own good" kindof attitude. He's always wanting to moniter opinions, keep support, mantain respect (machiavelli said fear is the best way to mantain respect, and Bush definately did that with all of his Terrorist propaganda. They had a channel devoted to "the war on terrorism," that stupid color code bullshit, just about a million and a half things to scare people into giving their support, and in the process gaining respect for "protecting" US citizens).

Look deeper into it man

Osiris
12th October 04, 10:16 AM
Bush is an "ends justify the means" person, but not in the sense Machiavelli discussed. Exploitation is not part of the ethics of The Prince. In The Prince, Machiavelli puts life above pretty much all other concerns. Yes, he is concerned with maintaining power, but in a manner that minimizes the bloodshed. The prince himself and the harm he does is a neccesary evil and is therefor not evil at all. Now, one might argue that Bush really did intend to "save" the people from Saddam's rule. However, someone in tune with the teaching of Machiavelli would realize that Saddam's cruelty is morally acceptable. In fact, they'd realize that that Saddam was actually showing weakness in not having killed all of his internal enemies and not having taken a stronger stance. After all, cruelty is best done once and finally. What seems to be mercy is in fact drawing out the conflict and costing more lives and is true immorality. If Saddam was morally wrong, it was for being far too weak for the path he was taking.

SLJ
12th October 04, 10:25 AM
Uday, is that you ?

Shug
12th October 04, 10:40 AM
Originally posted by Osiris
Bush is an "ends justify the means" person, but not in the sense Machiavelli discussed. Exploitation is not part of the ethics of The Prince. In The Prince, Machiavelli puts life above pretty much all other concerns. Yes, he is concerned with maintaining power, but in a manner that minimizes the bloodshed. The prince himself and the harm he does is a neccesary evil and is therefor not evil at all. Now, one might argue that Bush really did intend to "save" the people from Saddam's rule. However, someone in tune with the teaching of Machiavelli would realize that Saddam's cruelty is morally acceptable. In fact, they'd realize that that Saddam was actually showing weakness in not having killed all of his internal enemies and not having taken a stronger stance. After all, cruelty is best done once and finally. What seems to be mercy is in fact drawing out the conflict and costing more lives and is true immorality. If Saddam was morally wrong, it was for being far too weak for the path he was taking.

oh I agree, I was trying to point out a few valid parallels. Bush isn't completely Machiavelian, but you can see a bit of the mentality there

elipson
12th October 04, 12:33 PM
Shug, I think you're confused over what I'm doing here. I'm not comparing the entire bush strategy to the Prince; I am comparing his actions in Iraq and Afghan to the appropriate selections in the prince.

Comparing everything bush has done would require much more effort and a much larger paper (4 page max). I'm not really an expert on the whole Bush at home thing anyways, so it would require a great deal of research.

I'm only talking about Iraq and Afghanistan here ppl, and even then in a condensed version.

Shug
12th October 04, 01:53 PM
eeeehhhhhh, you would need to do some more research reguarding how the area is being policed, our government's relationship to whatever... ermmmm..... body of authority (if you can call it that) Iraq has (might be easier for Afganistan) etc., etc.

Machiavelli's philosophy had to do with a ruler/leader/governement and their methods of retaining authority

elipson
12th October 04, 03:02 PM
Well the paper is in, thanks for the opinions everyone. I really would have prefered to do a more in depth report on this subject, but the paper was such a small one. Maybe I'll do that in later years.

Osiris
12th October 04, 03:16 PM
Next up, Bush's domestic policy in relations to the ideas of Machiavelli's Art of War.

Shug
12th October 04, 06:21 PM
wow..... an italian Szun Tzu

Osiris
12th October 04, 06:29 PM
You didn't know he wrote that? Better than Sun Tzu's IMO given that Machiavelli actually wrote about war as opposed to vauge generalizations.

Shug
12th October 04, 07:39 PM
actually no, I didn't. I was under the impression that "The Prince" was his only work, because they were written in compilations of letters he never expected to go public. Was this done in the same context, because like everyone else at the time, he was deathly afraid of the Catholic Church

Osiris
12th October 04, 07:46 PM
Machiavelli wrote The Prince, The Art of War and The Discourses, which I do not yet have. The Art of War is written dialouge style, simulating a conversation between several men regarding war.

This is the style:

Some fictional Italian: So, what is your opinion on raising militias from the citizenry?

Fictional Italian badass: Its best to do so blah blah blah...

And a lengthy conversation is carried out through the course of the book, the details being laid out during the discussion as they argue.

Shug
12th October 04, 07:50 PM
interesting, I'm going to have to look into that

Osiris
12th October 04, 08:03 PM
Its not nearly as interesting or as good as The Prince, but it offers a lot of hisorical insight on the basic workings of a war during his time and before that. Machiavelli was apparently something of a historian so he referenced alot of ancient techniques.

elipson
26th October 04, 03:00 PM
77% on the paper, for those interested.

If I were to rebut my own essay, I would say what Os was saying. Bush never intended on staying in Afghan or Iraq; he went into Afghan to get Osama, stabilizing the country is just a PR thing, he doesn't really give a shit. Iraq he just wants the resources and a sympathetic gov't, not to be accutually in control.

Sorry for reviving this so late, I'm never online anymore.

Osiris
26th October 04, 03:02 PM
What was your teachers reasoning in giving such low marks?

Tef-the-Persian
27th October 04, 10:04 AM
I greatly dislike schools.

Anyhow, the Prince was written as a commentary too. "Look at how you all are acting, you fucking retards."

elipson
3rd November 04, 04:36 PM
Actually my prof had nothing bad to say about the mach paper, it was the other have of the essay that lost some marks. Comparing a bunch of readings we had in class. Really stupid subject. It's the only place i lost marks on.

Also, my prof says that in his class, an 80% means you're acheiving excellence, so i didn't get that bad. I really like my mark.