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Does individual leadership only matter in crisis situations? 'Crisis' refers to problems so acute that they are believed by most governments concerned to carry

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Introduction

Tutor: Su Dutta Student: Euan Robert Clark School of International Relations Date: Monday, March 14, 2005 Title: Does individual leadership only matter in crisis situations? 'Crisis' refers to problems so acute that they are believed by most governments concerned to carry a serious risk of war. It will probably have a variety of sources but nevertheless be publicly focused on a specific issue1. Leaders in these situations have choice in considering what to do, and it is this choice which ultimately matters most - they matter not only in crises, however but in all other situations also (as in trade agreements, political/social/economic sanctioning and in war, to name but a few). While there is only time here to allow for a brief overview of this type of situation, it will become apparent that leadership is not theoretically concurrent - that is, it does not follow either one or another theory of International Relations - in all situations, or even in only one but rather that the outcome of a situation is heavily dependant upon the specifics of that situation. Leadership does indeed matter, in all situations, but leadership is merely a means to an end, in a specific 'style', itself dependant on the personality of the particular leader. ...read more.

Middle

The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.5 In times of crisis then, it seems that an individual's convictions with regard to his leadership do indeed matter a great deal - especially in the contemporary context of crisis and management of war. However, the most important point to bear in mind here is that situations are vastly complex, and just because a state is considering/at war with [an-] other state/s, this does not mean that the subsequent actions taken will be of any specific character. I.e. the tactics used in one war may not be useful, in any size shape or form, in that of another. However, the question remains whether or not we must say the same for non-crises situations: For example, we could take the case of some hypothetical bilateral agreement. We could say it was on the issue of arms deals between two friendly states. The only goal, we shall assume, is to establish arms deals of as much mutual profitability as possible - furthermore, the productive capacity for these weapons is owned by the respective states themselves. The exact dates of this are immaterial, as it is hypothetical, but let us imagine that one state can produce land mines (to choose a suitably controversial topic) ...read more.

Conclusion

The different beliefs of different leaders in different situations will determine the different policies and ways in which goals are met. However, leadership matters not only in crises and war, but also in all other matters and situations of statecraft - no matter how obscure or unimportant those matters my seem to the outside, indirectly concerned world. The situations encountered will always bear more importance than a leader's 'way' of dealing with a situation, as it is not the leader's wellbeing that is at stake, but ultimately, that of the state itself6. Individual leadership does not only matter in crisis situations. 1Berridge and James, p.61 2 The list is huge, and to include all possible theoretical outlooks would prove monstrous, if only in terms of words - but nevertheless, I am confident that to list but a few will suffice for our needs at this time. 3 George W. Bush, and Tony Blair seemed to be extending the compassionate hand to Saddam Hussein prior to the outbreak of the Iraq War, however, history has shown us that that hand was withdrawn, and another, more fierce and lethally decisive hand was to replace it. 4 Kaplan, p.53, commenting on a Machiavellian outlook. 5 See: The White House website reference 6 However, this is not to say that a leader's 'way' of dealing with a situation, for example his/her negotiating style, will not influence the outcome of a particular situation. (See Kissinger, 1994). ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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