Towards a Pax Corleone
THE STRATEGY that ultimately saves the Corleone family from the Sollozzo threat and equips it for coping with multipolarity comes from Michael, the youngest and least experienced of the don’s sons. Unlike Tom, whose labors as family lawyer have produced an exaggerated devotion to negotiation, and Sonny, whose position as untested heir apparent has produced a zeal for utilizing the family arsenal, Michael has no formulaic fixation on a particular policy instrument. Instead, his overriding goal is to protect the family’s interests and save it from impending ruin by any and all means necessary. In today’s foreign-policy terminology, Michael is a realist.
Hulsman argues that it’s Michael’s “realism” in dealing with the Corleone’s enemies that America should emulate, as opposed to the “liberal internationalism” of Tom Hagen or the “neoconservativsm” of Sonny.
It’s a fun article, but I think the points that Hulsman wants to make are too constrained by the metaphor. I love The Godfather as much as anybody, but let’s not forget how Michael ends up–alone and friendless, with no more power in the world, an ocean of blood on his hands, and only a little dog who cares that he’s gone.
Maybe we should consider better role models for our actions.