The importance of international politics in Niccolo Machiavelli's thought cannot be denied. Although the familiar ideas expressed in the Prince and the Discourses are obviously relevant, the Art of War, the History of Florence, the dispatches that he wrote during his diplomatic missions, several minor political writings, and the private letters contain a number of additional insights and observations that refine and enrich his views. This anthology gathers together for the first time all of Machiavelli's writing on international affairs.
About 60 excerpts are organized around key themes, such as: the idea that political action takes place in a context that constrains decisions and affects outcomes; the central role played by fear in influencing foreign policy; the ways in which domestic politics and international politics interact; the fundamental functions performed by the armed forces; the similarities and differences in the foreign policy of republics and principalities; the ambivalent relationship between defence and expansion; the curse of neutrality and the ambiguities of alliances; the precariousness of international arrangements and the inherent instability of any settlement. An introductory chapter and accompanying illustrative materials guide the reader through the conceptual world of Machiavelli and the complex political events of his time.