Providing Examples (of BOTH events and individuals) explain the degree to which the personality and mental state of decision-makers impose themselves onto the foreign policy of states and how is this explained by our study of Foreign Policy
Word Count: 3,071
INR 6415: Foreign Policy Analysis
Dr. James D. Boys
5th November 2013
The aim of this essay is to analyse three individuals who have all shaped foreign policy in their own, very distinct ways; Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and Henry Kissinger. Firstly, this paper will discuss the state of mind of Tony Blair throughout his premiership and just before he won leadership of the Labour Party. As well as this, the concept of Blair’s ‘Messianic’ complex will also be analysed to discover the degree to which that affected any, if not all, of his foreign policy decisions. Secondly, this paper will discuss the way in which Margaret Thatcher’s unique position affected her decisions with specific focus on the Falklands invasion and her motives for not allowing the island to fall. Thirdly, this paper will discuss the ways in which Henry Kissinger carried out his role as NSA advisor, and later Secretary of State, under the Nixon administration. There will be a specific analysis of Kissinger’s thought process and they ways in which this would have had an impact on the way in which he worked. The question of whether Kissinger was carrying out US foreign policy or a version of his own will also be discussed. Finally, this essay will conclude with an analysis of how there are a number of different factors which can all have a substantial impact upon an individual, regardless of how insignificant they may at first appear.
To properly be able to understand the topic of foreign policy decision making, it is crucial that we are first able to understand the individual at the centre of that process. It has been suggested by some theorists that the state is the base level of study in foreign policy1. However, we know this to not be the case. The key question that we must ask within Foreign Policy Analysis is who, what, when and why? Different individuals will all make different decisions from one another due to a number of different factors. These can vary from their upbringing, past careers and experiences, their advisors and even the layout of the room that the decision is being made in2. For an example, it is important to look at the time in which the event occurs, who is making the decision and why that particular decision had to be made. By answering each of these questions, it will be possible to gain a greater understanding of how foreign policy decisions are made. This essay will also utilise methods of psychological analysis to discuss the state of mind of decision makers in order to find if there foreign policy decisions were, if at all, affected by their state of mind. However, the main task of this essay is to analyse the state of mind of key figures within foreign policy such as Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom.
As previously mentioned, the first individual whom this paper will be discussing is Tony Blair, British Prime Minister from 1997 until his resignation in 20073. Blair proves to be an interesting case study for a number of reasons. Firstly, Blair’s chance at the leadership position within Her Majesty’s Opposition came about suddenly with the unexpected death of the former party leader, John Smith4. However, despite the sudden change in leadership, Tony Blair was able to lead the party to win Labour a landslide victory in 1997. It is possible to conclude that from the speed at which Blair claimed the Party Leadership, that he would be a very spontaneous and reactionary leader with regards to his foreign policy decision-making. One such example of this could be seen to be Blair’s decision to invade Iraq. One trait that has been identified in Blair, found by Dyson, is that of a ‘[n]eed for power’5. Dyson...
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