Personality Characteristics of Individual Leaders–Hugo Chavez and George W. Bush

In class on Wednesday, we’ll be analyzing the individual level of analysis in international relations. Do individuals matter? In other words, do they have an effect independent of the state and systemic levels, or do individuals lie at the periphery of international relations? Margaret Hermann–a political psychologist–has found that that leaders can be characterized based on a host of personality characteristics. Some of these are nationalism, need for power, need for affiliation, distrust of others, etc. On the basis of a composite of these characteristics, Hermann believed that leaders were more likely to have one or the other of two foreign policy orientations–independent leader, participatory leader. Watch these two clips and think about how you would characterize Chávez’s and Bush’s foreign policy orientations, respectively.

The Global Perspectives box on p. 146 in Mingst, asks the following questions:

  1. Is it personality or policies that have made Chavez popular and powerful? Using Herman’s personality characteristics, how would you classify Chavez?
  2. How has the person of Chavez augmented the power of the Venezuelan state?

The same could be asked of President Bush:

  1. Is it personality or policies that have made President Bush popular and powerful? Using Herman’s personality characteristics, how would you classify Bush?
  2. How has the person of Bush augmented the power of the US state?
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U.S. Formally Recognizes Kosovo Independence

We discussed in class today that of the four characteristics of a state, the only one that Kosovo had, at that point, not fulfilled was international recognition by other states. According to this Washington Post story, the United States has begun to change that:

kosovo_independence1.jpgPresident Bush hailed the newly independent Kosovo and officially recognized it as a state and a “close friend” on Monday, expressing strong support for the new Balkans nation even as he rebuffed protests by Serbia and Russia.

The formal announcement came in a statement issued by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is traveling in Africa with the president. “The United States has today formally recognized Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state,” she said. “We congratulate the people of Kosovo on this historic occasion.”

I understand what it feels like to be a Kosovar Albanian today as it takes me back to 15 January 1992, when European and other states, including the United States, formally recognized the independence of the Republic of Croatia. I can also sympathize with Serbs, who must feel like their heart has been ripped out of their body given that Kosovo is integral to history and spirit of the Serbian nation. Ivo Banac has written that “the history of the Balkans is a history migrations, not only peoples, but of lands.” The Serbian nation was founded on land that the Serbs no longer control politically as a result of the vicissitudes of politics in that part of the world and the drift of the center of gravity of Serb political northward over the centuries. It is incumbent upon the new Kosovo government and the international community to allow Serbs to continue to have access to the sacred religious and spiritual monuments of their past.

You can see a comprehensive slide show of photographs marking the situation here.

Below is a photograph of the famous Serbian Christian Orthodox Gračanica Monastery in Kosovo.

gracanica1.jpg

Percentage of the World’s Denizens who Live on Less than $2/day

Using data from the United Nations’ Human Development Index, I put together this table of the thirty states in the world with the highest percentage of residents living on less than two dollars per day. After we have covered (international) political economy later this semester, you’ll know to ask whether the two dollar a day statistic is PPP-adjusted or not. The HDI rank is the Human Development Index rank (out of 177 countries ranked in 2007).

Using Country Watch (you can find a link to it at the course’s page at the library’s website, or click here), we see that Nigeria’s 2006 estimated (ethnic tensions in Africa’s most populous state prevent it from ever completing a census that is acceptable for all interested parties) population is approximately 132 million, meaning that fully 122 million persons in Nigeria survive on less than two dollars per day.

[UPDATE: “A world where some live in comfort and plenty, while half of the human race lives on less than $2 a day, is neither just nor stable. Including all of the world’s poor in a expanding circle of development–and opportunity–is a moral imperative and one of the top priorities of U.S. international policy.

-President George W. Bush, The National Security Strategy of the U.S.A. 2002]

Country

Below 2$/day (%)

HDI Rank

Nigeria

92.4

158

Tanzania (United Republic of)

89.9

159

Rwanda

87.8

161

Burundi

87.6

167

Zambia

87.2

165

Niger

85.8

174

Madagascar

85.1

143

Bangladesh

84

140

Central African Republic

84

171

Zimbabwe

83

151

Gambia

82.9

155

India

80.4

128

Nicaragua

79.9

110

Ghana

78.5

135

Haiti

78

146

Swaziland

77.8

141

Ethiopia

77.8

169

Cambodia

77.7

131

Sierra Leone

74.5

177

Lao P.D.R.

74.1

130

Mozambique

74.1

172

Benin

73.7

163

Pakistan

73.6

136

Mali

72.1

173

Burkina Faso

71.8

176

Nepal

68.5

142

Mauritania

63.1

137

Malawi

62.9

164

Kenya

58.3

148