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Leadership style and regime type

Leadership Style, Regime Type, and Foreign Policy Crisis Behavior: A Contingent Monadic Peace? By JONATHAN W. KELLER, Southern Methodist University

Review of the paper and reflection by Adera legesse Tulu, 1801111925

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To be honest, this study widens our scope of understanding on how leaders behave systematically in dissimilar ways to domestic constraints. The author introduces a new theoretical framework seeking a key insight by explicitly integrating decision makers’ perceptions and beliefs into the conventional model to examine how domestic constraints shape foreign policy behavior. From the paper it is clear to point out that the author develops his theoretical framework by combining theory and research from political science, psychology, and management science based on the fascinating and premise of ‘contingent monadic model’. The contingent monadic model builds on the democratic peace theory which assumes “democratic constraints will affect all leaders similarly- regardless of variation in their leadership styles, beliefs, and perceptions.” According to this view, “if democratic institutions and norms have greater pacifying potential than autocratic ones, but generally require decision makers’ assent to shape policy behavior, then one should expect consistently peaceful monadic behavior by democracies only when leaders who are particularly sensitive to these constraints are in power.”

The author classified regimes and leadership styles and their perceptions based on the above thesis into ‘constraint respecters’, and ‘constrain challengers’. He then applied an empirical analysis to test this hypothesis or to examine his mix model based on 154 foreign policy crises. He finally come up with a conclusion contrary to most conventional empirical evidences. According to the author’s finding “democracies led by constraint respecters stand out as extraordinarily pacific in their crisis responses, while democracies led by constraint challengers and autocracies led by both types of leaders are demonstrably more aggressive.” From this conclusion, it is interesting to note that his finding correlated with the contingent monadic thesis.

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Are these findings be generalized to the broader issues of democracies? or leadership in action in response to violence during crisis? For me yes! Based on this finding when we look at what is happening or prevailing in the real world or when we evaluate leadership in action of the real world it is possible to site many substantial examples which are consistent with this finding.

For instance, if we compare how Barack Obama and Donald Trump respond to the nuclear dispute of Iran it is possible to realize the two leaders respond to this situation differently. Barack Obama respond to the dispute in a pacific manner in the way that he tried to resolve the problem in a win-win style and hence, he was constraint respecter, while Donald Trump respond with aggressive and conditional method, that is win- loser, hence he was constraint challengers on similar issues. If we consider the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein and costs the U.S $2.2 trillion and resulted with the death of over 4000 troops as a case point, the decision of bush administration and his willingness to challenge both domestic opposition and his international alliance can be explained as Bush was a constraint challenger. If it was a Bill Clinton imagine what could be the decision would be?

If we consider Ethiopia as a case point, we can find a number of similar situations. For instance, under the Derg regime led by Mengistu Hailameriam as presidency, the economic growth of the country is in between -1 and 1 % for 17 years in average, whereas under the rule of Meles from 1999- 2004 economic growth was in between 5 and 10.9 % in average. The two leaders can be explained as Mengistu was constraint challenger and Meles was constrain respecter.

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If we ask a question, why different leaders made different decisions and interpretations of the same objective structural factors differently? We might raise many things to answer this question, but according to this study it is because of “leaders’ beliefs and perceptions of these structures, rather than the structures themselves, that are the proximate determinants of choices”. The major determinant factors for the causes of leader’s variations in belief and perception are two, according to the author and democratic peace theory. The first cause is leaders’ risk-taking preferences or attitudes toward the legitimacy of opposition in specific cases. The second cause is leader’s perception of vulnerability to exploitation by autocratic adversaries. Nevertheless, this assumption is rejected by monadic theorists, which ‘‘question the logical basis for assuming that democratic leaders believe they are exploitable’’. Though adherents of the monadic thesis rejected this notion, the authors logical conclusion is that both the dyadic and the monadic explanations are correct under certain circumstances. I agree with the logical conclusion of the author. If we look at the real world and leaders in action it’s not difficult to find tangible practices to substantiate those arguments. However, the author should also consider Contextual matter as it is critical in in affecting leadership practices and effectiveness.

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