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David Ignatius on Foreign Policy, Spy Novels, and Machiavelli

Washington Post’s David Ignatius fears for the future of U.S. military power in Iraq and Syria.


David Ignatius is a columnist for the Washington Post, an espionage thriller novelist, and a student of Machiavelli–all of which he discussed on today’s episode of the Federalist Radio Hour.

Ignatius shared his thoughts on Obama’s approach to foreign policy and American military power. “I am genuinely worried about what lies ahead in Iraq and Syria,” he said. “I just don’t think the current policy that President Obama has put together is going to be effective.”

Domenech and Ignatius discussed the steps that the next president will need to take in regards to ISIS and whether there would be a difference between the things Hillary Clinton would do, compared to what any of the Republican candidates would do. “I wish President Obama would begin doing now what the next president will need to do,” Ignatius said.

In addition to working on his 10th spy novel, Ignatius also recently wrote a libretto that will premier in Amsterdam with the Dutch National Opera in March 2017. The New Prince, as the project is titled, is a wild way of telling the story of Machiavelli’s life and is set on the 500th anniversary of the publication of The Prince.

“We have to see just how cynical and amoral Machiavelli was,” he said. “Machiavelli did believe that it was better to appear to be good than to be good. If you’re good, you’re just too vulnerable, but if you appear to be good, you get all the benefits plus you can be sneaky and when necessary, stab someone in the back.”

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