Posted on Nov 30, 2015
SPC Dr. Ernest Rockwell
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http://www.au.af.mil/au/ssq/digital/pdf/Winter_15/Coletta.pdf

by Damon Coletta and Paul Carrese

The end of Pres. Barack Obama’s first term coincided with the five
hundredth anniversary of The Prince (1513) by Niccolò Machiavelli.
Some analysts combined these milestones and praised the president’s
foreign policy performance as heeding Machiavelli’s classic advice: the
president, impressively, adapted lessons of The Prince in crafting a realistic and prudent first-term grand strategy. Avoiding major war or new commitments, he never agonized over legal or moral niceties when focused violence was necessary, as in the operation to eliminate Osama
bin Laden. In the second term, however, the president’s highly cautious
strain of defensive realism fared poorly—a verdict upheld by commentary from his former lieutenants. This unwelcome turn of fortune calls into question whether strategy pundits and scholars correctly interpreted Obama’s overcorrection, much less Machiavelli’s imprimatur, during the first term. Contrary to the administration’s recent justifications for “common sense” risk avoidance, Machiavelli’s sophisticated notions of realism and statesmanship demand a strategy that more astutely blends daring and caution, including the articulation of an ambitious public purpose for US power. A genuinely prudent strategy, according to Machiavelli, accepts some near-term military risk to do good—and do well—in the long run.
Edited 7 y ago
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Col Joseph Lenertz
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SPC Dr. Ernest Rockwell , your analysis is excellent. I think you may be giving the administration too much credit, however. The young staffers are chosen primarily for their undying devotion to their boss and their demonstrated willingness to do anything that supports his agenda, rather than their understanding of foreign policy, let alone Grand Strategy. I would be surprised if any beyond his military advisors have read a single page of Machiavelli, who is known for his depth but not for his ease of reading. While his actions have sometimes aligned with Machiavelli's lessons, I think it was fortuitous rather than planned.
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SPC Dr. Ernest Rockwell
SPC Dr. Ernest Rockwell
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Thank you for the feedback. I do want to point out, however, that I am only the content editor for the journal in which this was published, not the author of the article.
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1SG Claims Assistant
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Edited 7 y ago
I would bet all of the tea in China that the President never read Machiavelli, much less incorporate that into his worldview. While the parallels are apt, the notion that he would take a page from old Niccolo when crafting his foreign policy is a stretch.

Love the literary reference, though.
If I were to select one, I would say that "Don Quixote" fits nicely.
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1SG Claims Assistant
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Both of them love windmills...
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Col Joseph Lenertz
Col Joseph Lenertz
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1SG (Join to see) LOL, a very timely observation, with our Pres in Paris attempting to blame terrorism on global warming.
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SPC David Stephenson
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Obama's foreign policy has far been removed from the proactive approach of Machiavelli. If anything it has been a reactive nightmare. There is a legitimate use for all of the terms -- "necessity," "raison d'état," and "Realpolitik" -- and Machiavelli himself knew the difference. Obama not so much.

in either case -
"Put not your trust in Princes."
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