Christianity itself— its imagination of another world beyond the so-called real world—completely transformed the real politics of Europe. It is better for a prince to be feared than loved, because love is fickle, while fear is constant.
Was he arguing that the ends justify the means, or is that assessment too simple? Machiavelli writes about man as mainly concerned with power and self-assertion, while Aristotle desires a society of individuals, of honorable men.
It comes unexpectedly. How much has the political behavior Machiavelli described changed and how much remains the same? They describe the correct way a prince should rule when rising to power.
It was a hard fight, with battles on many fronts. Poisonous inequalities, citizens who hate each other, government that lacks legitimacy: these are what make states vulnerable. It failed to achieve its ends.
In sum, human beings are wretched creatures, governed only by the law of their own self-interest. It leaps out at him from the shadows as the last trick or trump card of a fortune he thought he had mastered.