Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Crusader, The Strategist, The Pragmatist, and The Opportunist

When discussing world leaders and classifying their leadership styles based solely on their actions or reactions, it is somewhat faulty in my opinion to over-analysis these characteristics from a psychological level without considering exterior factors, especially capital influence on a parliamentary or representative democracy or international coalitions, from the United Nations to the IMF and World Bank, under capitalist globalization.  While capital and political influences certainly impact, and sometimes force, leadership decisions, there does appear to be some interesting observations in the leadership categories provided in the Hermann, Preston, Korany and Shaw article.  Based solely on the leadership descriptions presented, it seems clear that the two leadership styles most prone to establishing or forcing conflict would be the crusader and the strategist (Hermann, Preston, Korany & Shaw, 2001, p. 95).  While the crusader leadership style focuses on expansion and “persuading others to accept one’s message” (Hermann, Preston, Korany & Shaw, 2001, p. 95), I find Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be a crusader in his constant ideological push for strengthening the “one and only Jewish state” (Netanyahu, December 16, 2013) despite accusations of the ethnic cleansing of Bedouins through the Prawer Plan (Yiftachel, Amara & Kedar, 2014), the expansion of illegal settlements (Kershner, 2014), and consistent military incursions and aggressions into Palestinian territories.  Netanyahu, in crusader fashion, goes before the international community and the United Nations General Assembly attempting to portray Israel as a victim state on the defensive, while attempting to gather military support for international economic and military actions against Syria and Iran (Netanyahu, October 1, 2013).  Netanyahu’s leadership tactics could also be consider to display characteristics of the strategic leadership focus on achieving “agenda by engaging others in the process and persuading them to act” (Hermann, Preston, Korany & Shaw, 2001, p. 95).  Not only does Netanyahu keep pressure on American leaders to support Israeli interests through sanctions and possible regime removal in Iran and Syria, Netanyahu has close ties to pro-Israeli lobbyist organizations that extend influence on United States Congressional voting (Dvorin, 2013).  Another leader with strategic style Characteristics would appear to be Bashar Al-Assad of Syria.  In his recent attempts to hold the current Syrian regime in place, Assad showed a strategic leadership style of “maintaining one’s maneuverability and flexibility” by using heavy handed retaliation methods against (foreign funded) opposition forces while engaging Russia to intercede on Syria’s behalf in the United Nations.  Having the United Nations Security Council split on “Syria since 2011” (Charbonneau, 2013), Assad was able to avoid international constraints in dealing with opposition groups that Ghaddafi in Libya and Mubarak in Egypt were not able to avoid.

The two leadership styles likely to enhance cooperation would be the leadership styles of the pragmatist and the opportunist, although sadly these two leadership styles are also vulnerable to the influences of capital and/or military imperialism.  The qualities that support cooperation within pragmatist leadership identity is the directive focus for “working within the norms and rules of one’s position” (Hermann, Preston, Korany & Shaw, 2001, p. 95), while attempting to “uncover what will and will not work in a particular situation” (Hermann, Preston, Korany & Shaw, 2001, p. 97).  The opportunistic leader, while the label seems misleading, would also suggest enhanced cooperation with an accommodative focus for “reconciling differences and building consensus” (Hermann, Preston, Korany & Shaw, 2001, p. 97) and assessing the “current situation given the nature of the problem and considering what important constituencies will allow” (Hermann, Preston, Korany & Shaw, 2001, p. 95).  The problem with these two leadership styles is that cooperation is not necessarily a positive thing under globalization when it comes to imperialism or state regime removal.

The most important foreign policy issue currently facing the United States is actually originated domestically with the heavy influence of foreign lobbyist organizations on the U.S. Congress, which directly impacts military foreign aid amounts and international sanctions.  An example of this foreign lobby influence would be the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the most powerful lobbyist organizations in the United States, which influences U.S. foreign policy through securing congressional votes through campaign contributions and political support.  It is impossible to find an effective individual leadership style to address this problem of congressional manipulation because the problem itself is disenfranchised into 435 individual votes in the House of Representatives and 100 votes in the U.S. Senate.  In the case of a representative democracy, enough capital and political influence can almost always influence a majority of the votes regardless if it is on behalf of a foreign government or a private sector corporate entity, even if it is detrimental to the state.

Dvorin, Tova.  2013.  Israel to Lobby US Congress to Prevent Iran Deal.  Arutz Sheva Israeli National News, November 10, 2013.  Accessed January 9, 2014.

Hermann, Margaret, Thomas Preston, Baghat Korany and Timothy Shaw. 2001. Who leads matters: the effects of powerful individuals. International Studies Review 3, no. 2 (Summer): 83-132.

Isabel Kershner.  2014.  Settlement News to Wait Until Kerry Leaves Israel.  New York Times, January 1, 2014.  Accessed on January 9, 2014.

Netanyahu, Benjamin.  2013.  Full Text of Netanyahu’s Speech to the Union for Reform Judaism.  Times of Israel, December 16, 2013.  Accessed on January 9, 2014.

Netanyahu, Benjamin.  2013.  United Nations General Assembly Speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, October 1, 2013.  CSPAN Video Library.  Accessed January 9, 2014.

Oren Yiftachel, Amara, Ahmad, and Kedar, Sandy.  2014.  Israel Says Bedouin 'Trespass' on State Land. New study: Not so.  Haartz, January 9, 2014.  Accessed January 9, 2014.

Wachtel, Johnathan.  2014.  Russia again blocks anti-Assad resolution at UN, as Kerry heads for Syria summit.  Fox News, January 9, 2014.  Accessed January 9, 2014.


No comments:

Post a Comment