So far, the War on Terror has lacked a prophet. Wars can be fought without prophets, just as the Allies fought World War II, but the striking feature of the War on Terror is that while it is being fought to defend the American Way of Life, the non-Americans among its fighters are fighting to establish the American Way of Life for themselves, or at least for some of themselves. However, the Americans need a prophet for this War because even more than the Cold War, it is ideological in nature. There is more emphasis on hearts and minds than there was during the Vietnam War, yet at the same time the USA denies that it is at war with the very entity that it is spending all its time and energy fighting: Islam. Because the USA has found itself in a fight with a revealed religion, it must ideologically counter it with a prophet, who can make of its dominant ideology a sort of counter-revelation that will stop Muslims from being so willing to give up their own lives. It seems that the best choice, or rather least bad choice, would be Niccol Machiavelli. Machiavelli might have got a bad press because of his The Prince, in which he propounds that the ruler must not follow conventional morality if he is to be successful, but must be very conscious of raison d'tat (reason of state). The readiness to do whatever is necessary to uphold the requirements of the state is held against Machiavelli, because it implies a different morality for the state's executives. His defenders (and there are many in Academia) never tire of either denying the charge, or of admitting it, but claiming that there is a non-private morality in operation in public affairs. These of course are the same political scientists who hold Third-World politicians to a private standard of morality when they insist that they be free of corruption - freer than politicians of the First World. However, Machiavelli has a number of advantages. The first is his being so old as to be almost ancient. Of course, he is not really all that ancient, dating back to the Italian Renaissance of the 16th century, which incubated many of the ideas that went into the making of America, and which are some of the ideas for which the War on Terror is being fought, like democratic government and modern capitalism. That brings up the second advantage, that Machiavelli devotes himself to defending some of the pivots of the modern War. More specifically, he defends the democratic form of government. However, perhaps more important, he gives a formula for generating that type of government. And perhaps irresistibly, he does so in his Discourses on Livy, rather than in The Prince. Therefore, he can be approached through a fresh book, one in which he is not so much to blame. Apparently, all he does in this is comment on the first books of Titus Livius, the Roman historian who wrote about the early history of Rome, long before it became the Empire, and when it was still a city-state similar to the Italian city-states on which Machiavelli was such an expert. However, while he sets out to show why Rome evolved as a democracy, much of his critique is of the First World towards the Third, which helps explain why the 'native' is feckless and gormless, and why he fails to get it right. This explanation is important, for it explains the failure to adopt the American Way of Life not in terms of its rejection and its intrinsic defects, but of the people's Third-World origins and their intrinsic defects. This fits in with the analysis of the people made by successive military rulers, who have all come in upon a civilizing mission, which also implies that the masses are somehow uncivilized. Very pithily encapsulated, Machiavelli prescribes as prerequisites of republican rule the following six conditions: (i) respect for custom and tradition (ii) the town dominates the country (iii) a large middle class exists (iv) popular power is institutionalised (v) civic spirit has not decayed and (vi) there is a knowledge of these things. Machiavelli may have been right, but it cannot escape the Pakistani observer that supporters of military rule bemoan (i) and (iii) as existing, and military rulers usually do their best to work on these aspects. When Machiavelli said republican rule, he meant a state which was not a principality, or monarchy, but which was in short a democracy. The list above deals with a question that has bothered the makers of Pakistan from its inception, why Pakistan has not become a democracy. The answer had been that it lacked some of the essential ingredients, which the military has tried to impose. The first condition would be reflected if the judiciary was not constantly (well, at least at what seem to be regular intervals) being badgered to make decisions justifying the most blatant departures from the Constitution. The second condition was only tried for by the Ayub Martial Law, which carried out a land reform. Machiavelli believes that only the strongly urban can produce a republic. What about strongly rural countries like Pakistan? Well, though Machiavelli does not say so, land reforms seem really needed. However, the Zia martial law actually reversed some land reforms, while the Musharraf martial law did not touch the subject. Then there is the middle class. This does not exist to the extent it should. Military rule apologists would probably argue that the last Martial Law saw the middle class expand along with the spreading of general prosperity, but the previous era saw banking reforms which give the impression of the creation of a larger middle class. The military also likes to claim the decline of the civic spirit, even though anyone who witnessed the popular pro-judiciary movement which backed the lawyers' community cannot but bear witness to its existence. Machiavelli also lays down as a prerequisite that the above pre-conditions be well known. Another point he mentions, against which military regimes keep on trying to work, is that such regimes are noisy, though that apparent instability reflects a vitality missing if stability is truly achieved. While Machiavelli's Discourses fit the bill, he does not, for he does not in any way allow for military regimes. Military regimes are supposed to come on top in Pakistan, if for nothing else to prove the superiority of the American Way of Life, but mainly because the USA should have a clear interlocutor in Pakistan, where US interests so often lie. Machiavelli proposes that unless all of his prerequisites are satisfied, there will not be a democracy. In that case, there remains a search for the right system of government, rooted in the traditions of Pakistan, rather than a system imported from abroad with a prophet also imported. This is a task which faces the government, rather than a slavish following of American dictates. E-mail: maniazi@nation.com.pk