PLS 220 Chapter 6 Summary - Chapter 6 Summary I...

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Chapter 6 Summary I. Foreign-Policy Elites: Individuals Who Matter Liberals are adamant that leaders do make a difference. Whenever there is a leadership change in a major power, speculation always arises about possible changes in the country’s foreign policy. Ample empirical proof has been offered that individual leadership matters. From Nicolae Ceauescu to Mikhail Gorbachev, leadership made a difference in starting and sustaining foreign policy reforms in their respective countries. Constructivists attribute policy shifts in the Soviet Union only to Gorbachev, but also to the networks of reformists and international affairs specialists who promoted new ideas. For realists, individuals are of little importance. States are not differentiated by their government type or personalities of leaders, but by the relative power they hold in the international system. The Impact of Elites: External Conditions When political institutions are unstable, young, in crisis, or collapsed, leaders are able to provide powerful influences. When they have few institutional constraints. In dictatorial regimes, top leaders are free from constraints such as societal inputs and political opposition and thus can change policy unfettered. The specifics of a situation. Decision makers’ personal characteristics have more influence on outcomes when the issue is peripheral rather than central, when the issue is not routine, or when the situation is ambiguous and information us unclear. The Impact of Elites: The Personality Factor Political psychologist Margaret Hermann has found a number of personality characteristics that affect foreign-policy behaviors. 1. Leaders with high levels of nationalism, a strong need for power, and a high level of distrust of others, tend to develop an independent orientation to foreign affairs. 2. Leaders with low levels of nationalism, a high need for evaluation, and low levels of distrust of others, tended toward a participatory orientation in foreign affairs. Personality characteristics affect the leadership of dictators more than that of democratic leaders because leaders because of the absence of effective institutional checks. Betty Glad analyzed the personalities of tyrants like Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam Hussein and labeled them as having malignant narcissism syndrome-those who rule without attention to law, capitalize on self-presentations, and utilize cruel tactics.
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