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Abstract

Machiavelli has long been held as one of the inventors of international realism who separated politics from ethics. This article questions this conventional view and argues that Machiavelli is in fact a highly ethical thinker who reconciles ethics with realism in a coherent international relations theory. Acknowledging the desires for freedom innate in human nature and understanding men’s consent to rule based on free will as a part of political power, Machiavelli views the two ethical standards – respect for desires for freedom and rule of law – as constitutive of state power that is indispensable for balance-of-power politics between states.

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