Generally there are two approaches to politics: politics minus ethics, which is also known as Machiavellian politics; and ethical politics which is Islamic in which violation of ethical rules and values is not allowed. In the former the ends justify the means, while in the latter, the political actor is not allowed to resort to unethical means to achieve his goals.
Obviously, it is impossible to run a country without politics. In the contemporary literature, politics encompasses many issues such as vague attitudes, give-and-take concessions and the like. Hence, it is assumed that one who openly expresses his words, positions and ideas may not be a good politician. Although it is the common attitude of the world politicians, Imam Ali (AS) showed in his behavior that he did not follow the Machiavellian methods and manners. His conduct is indicative of the reality that Imam Ali (AS) expressed his positions openly and while not ignore ethical rules and codes. He did not trample upon ethical values to strengthen his power. The story of his ultimatum to the people before their pledge of allegiance, and rejecting reinstatement of some politicians in preliminary compromise with the ruler of the time are some crystal clear examples of how much importance he attached to ethical rules and codes.
He announced that if the position of rulership would not help him to serve the people, then rulership would be to him as worthless as a worn-out shoe. Imam Ali (AS) who is described by George Jordac or Lebanon as the voice of justice, finally fell martyr at the hands of bigots and fanatics.
Imam Ali (AS) is in fact a symbol of a just ruler who observed all standards of human rights for his citizens, opponents and even enemies. He is an epitome in this regard.