... quotes an unnamed Vatican Cardinal as describing PF thus: an ice-cold, sly machiavellian and a liar.
A jolly interesting summary from someone with experience, I thought. His Eminence seems to know what he's talking about. But my wife suggests that a true Machiavellian would not need to tell lies.
I would have to concede that telling lies does expose the liar to perils. Take, for example, PF's lie to the effect that he knew nothing about the Dubia until he read about them in the Media. Easily falsified by those who took care to have the Dubia delivered personally to PF, and then waited some weeks before going public. Nasty, too, because in the course of his lie, PF effectively called the Dubia Cardinals liars.
But my own view would be that the essence of Machiavellianism is the subordination of all ethical considerations to realpolitik.
Quid Domini sentitis?