History's End

History will end only when Man does

Location: United States
Blogroll Me!
  • E-Mail me
  • Friday, May 14, 2004

    What Machiavelli would say about Rumsfield Resigning

    Despite having been written centuries ago, there is still a great deal of good advice to be found in Niccolo Machiavelli's realist treatise "The Prince." The issue of Donald Rumsfield and whether he should resign or not finds a great deal of correlation in "The Prince," as Machiavelli realized just how important Secretaries and advisors are for a Prince.

    THE choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.

    People will judge someone by those whom he surrounds himself with. President Bush is no exception. Rumsfield, Rice, Powell, all of the President's close advisors and cabinet officers reveal a lot about George W. Bush.

    But if a prince who is not experienced should take counsel from more than one he will never get united counsels, nor will he know how to unite them. Each of the counsellors will think of his own interests, and the prince will not know how to control them or to see through them. And they are not to be found otherwise, because men will always prove untrue to you unless they are kept honest by constraint. Therefore it must be inferred that good counsels, whencesoever they come, are born of the wisdom of the prince, and not the wisdom of the prince from good counsels.

    Here we get to the crux of the matter. Rumsfield was chosen by Bush to be the Secretary of Defense. As the person in charge of the DoD, he was largely responsible for keeping our nation safe from military threats. If Rumsfield is forced to resign, because of the Abu Ghraib, then we must question all of his past judgments. That includes both Iraq and Afghanistan. And then of course we must look at the person who decided Rumsfield was fit for the job. Ultimately, that it what matters most. George W. Bush trusted Donald Rumsfield to do the right thing, and to do a good job. If Rumsfield turns out to be incompetent, what does that say about President Bush? To steal a line from George Lucas: "Who is the more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?" It is the wisdom of the prince which is responsible for good counsel, and thus if Rumsfield was giving bad counsel, than it must be the fault of George W. Bush. Machiavelli would strongly urge the President to not fire Donald Rumsfield, not only because he is doing a good job at what is essentially an impossible task, on the order of the Augean Stables , but also because to fire Rumsfield would be to admit error, and leave yourself vulnerable to attack.

    Listed on BlogShares Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com