Leadership and Foreign Policy

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LEADERSHIP AND FOREIGN POLICY: Contrasting between the liberalist and realist views, discuss the role of a leader in influencing foreign policy.

In foreign policy, decision making is guided by different a leader that is from presidents, cabinets, parliaments and groups such as communist party of Soviet Union and the standing committee of the communist party of china and Central Intelligence Agency of USA. One cannot run away from the fact that a leader’s personality can affect foreign policy. Maoz and Shayer believe that one cannot underrate or ignore the role of personality in decision making as it plays a huge role. By examining ones foreign policy, we can understand foreign policy better (Jensen, 1982). If a leader is aggressive then there are certain traits he will exhibit such as paranoia, manipulation, thirst for power high intensity of nationalism, (Hermann, 1980). Hitler was one leader who led to world war when he challenged the treaty of Versailles by adopting an aggressive foreign policy. The opposite is true for a mild leader for example George Washington who told Americans to avoid entrapping alliances.

Realists disregard the fact that moral values guide ones foreign policy. They also believe that even though one might deceive themselves about considering democracy and morals, the matter of the fact is that people will always put their self-interest before anything else thus governments act upon things such as geopolitical, economic interests for example. According to realists, there is no higher authority to punish those countries that misbehave so a country can just do whatever it pleases.

On the other hand, liberalism’s main principles emphasise, human rights, individuality, equality before the law...

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...ny. In the UN, China has been known for voting against resolutions such as interventions and imposing of sanctions.


From all that has been mentioned above, one has to conclude that personality does have an effect on a countries foreign policy. A leader will have an impact on how his or her country relates with other nations. Liberals and realists also have different views when it comes to foreign policy. However both views agree that peace has to establish though they may not agree on the means. Today, most of the conflict in the world is as a result of leaders failing to agree on certain decisions for example whether intervention is justified. There is no doubt half of the problems would be solved if there was only one ideology followed by all statesmen. However this cannot happen and therefore conflict is and will continue to be inevitable.
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