Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Obama / Our Dark Machiavellian Prince


Prince Obama by Edna Spennato
As Nicolò Machiavelli wrote in the early 1500's ~ The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present ~ and President Obama appears to be an ardent disciple of this cunning and deceitful Machiavellian political tactic: Allen L Roland
Any means to the end is, in essence, a Machiavellian political tactic and President Obama has become a subtle master of this political strategy ~ whereas, as noted Machiavellian Henry Kissinger once said, in the world of politics perception becomes far more important than reality.

Note President Obama's seeming Machiavellian indifference to his broken campaign promises from Renewed Offshore oil drilling, Renewed Nuclear power production, Keeping the Guantánamo torture camp open, Continuing the war against Iraq, Increasing our military presence in Afghanistan, Renewing the USA Patriot Act, Continuing "military commission" kangaroo trials, Reserving the right to torture, and Continuing the NSA's "domestic surveillance" program of spying on innocent Americans' emails and phone calls.

But also note that a key Machiavellian principle is "A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise "

Machiavelli originally wrote Principe (The Prince) (1513) in hopes of securing the favor of the ruling Medici family, and he deliberately made its claims provocative, and that they are ~ " Machiavelli argued that it is primarily the character or vitality or skill of the individual leader that determines the success of any state. The book surveys various bold means of acquiring and maintaining the principality and evaluates each of them solely by reference to its likelihood of augmenting the glory of the prince while serving the public interest. It is this focus on practical success by any means, even at the expense of traditional moral values, that earned Machiavelli's scheme a reputation for ruthlessness, deception, and cruelty."

Writer Mary Rizzo makes the same analogy in her brilliant post Hail to the Prince: Obama, the paradigmatic Machiavellian Leader written on March 4, 2010 ~ " What you “are” and how you are “perceived” is a fascinating topic. It is dealt with mainly in sociology and psychology, but someone very important in the history of thought had a great deal to say about it regarding politics and power .. Machiavelli’s got something of a reputation, evidenced by the fact that his name has become an adjective with largely negative connotations, not really merited, in all honesty. What makes it even more entertaining is that the most scandalous part of his theoretical writing was the analysis of “reputation”, and the necessity of the leader of a State to manipulate the idea and the perception others have of him in order to carry out actions that have as the goal consolidation and maintenance of his own power... In his writing, a true “Prince/President” has to appear “compassionate, faithful, humane, religious” without actually being any of these things. He should go to Cairo to tell Muslims they have a beautiful faith, yet address them in a way only a colonialist could do, using Arabic words to thrill them, a sort of Ich bin ein Berliner in Middle Eastern Sauce.... Machiavelli insisted that the only real force of a State is in an extremely well-armed military, solid and faithful to its leader. Clashes and wars are born out of will to power and desire to control ever greater territories, conquest, in other words, not for abstract principles, though the abstract principles get the consensus required by a democracy."

Now let's note two recent events which show how the use of the Machiavellian principles of Perception versus Reality rule in the Obama Administration .

During his late March surprise six hour Afghanistan Photo Op Drop-In ~ President Obama assured his captive military listeners, and most assuredly Americans at home, that we will “finish the job” and made another promise as well: “I’m looking forward,” he told the troops, “to returning to Afghanistan many times in the years to come” thus contradicting another promise to the American people about withdrawal by 2011 but reinforcing his image as the consummate War President at the expense of the vast majority of Americans who want us out of Afghanistan.

But as columnist Courtland Milloy reported in the Washington Post on April 6th ~ " So President Obama made another surprise visit to a war zone ~ this time to Southeast Washington for Easter services at Allen Chapel AME. But instead of addressing the battle-weary congregation, as he did with the troops in Afghanistan last month, Obama fell curiously silent.... The president neither spoke nor shook hands, didn't wave or even turn around in his pew to smile at the 700 or so churchgoers who began arriving as early as 3 a.m. to see him .. In Afghanistan, Obama thanked U.S. soldiers and civilians for their efforts to "keep America safe and secure " but in Southeast, Washington ~ Obama sent up a private prayer and, with a veritable army of Secret Service and D.C. police officers protecting his motorcade, beat a hasty retreat back to the White House."

And there you clearly see Obama's priorities ~ Obama is our dark Machiavellian Prince whose promises should always be measured in the light of political reality and the preservation of political power versus 'abstract' and traditional moral values.
Machiavelli would be proud of his new disciple ~

Allen L Roland

This weblog is sustained through donations from people like yourself. Please send check or Money Order to Allen L. Roland, PO Box 1221, Sonoma,CA 95476 Also accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover ~ call (707) 935-1908.

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on

Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and psychotherapist Allen L Roland is also available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations ( )



  1. thanks Allen! (I am glad you liked the article I wrote). While I am unfortunately not able to follow all the things happening in the USA, what I see is enough to show me that there is a lot of political theatrics going on, and it would be a good idea for everyone to recognise what they are. Mary Rizzo

  2. Are you ready to fix our democracy?

    Learn how you can help Ctrl+Alt+Del the system:

    Watch Lawrence Lessig's new presentation