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How do world leaders make decisions in important foreign policy encounters? James Goldgeier argues that modern leaders come to power trained not as diplomats but as politicians, and their experiences as the most successful politicians at home provide the "schooling" for how to deal with friends and foes in the international arena. In Leadership Style and Soviet Foreign Policy, Goldgeier explores this important and understudied connection between key domestic political experiences and foreign policy decisions in case studies of four Soviet leaders of the Cold War era--Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, and Mikhail Gorbachev.
Drawing connections between the domestic political experiences of these leaders and their behavior toward the United States during key foreign policy events, Goldgeier offers fresh interpretations of the Berlin blockade crisis of 1948, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the Middle East war of 1973, and German reunification in 1989-90. He argues that the defining moment in the development of a Soviet leader's style came during the period when that leader acted to consolidate power and neutralize adversaries in order to succeed a dead or deposed leader. Success in this period confirmed the effectiveness of the leader's first truly independent political action and shaped his distinctive political style--a style that reappeared in international bargaining. While the past may be arational guide in helping leaders reach foreign policy decisions, Goldgeier concludes, it may also be a poor one: lessons from home can backfire in foreign policy, as they did at several key moments for these four important world leaders.
"James Goldgeier offers an imaginative and original argument: leaders' bargaining style, developed in domestic politics, affects the way they bargain and manage international crises. This analysis is significantly different from other `domestic politics' arguments that focus on coalition-building, log-rolling, or cooptation of representatives of powerful domestic groups."--Janice Gross Stein, University of Toronto
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James M. Goldgeier teaches political science and international affairs at George Washington University.Perspectives on Security.Richard Ned Lebow, Series Editor.Review:
"A rewarding and pleasurable read... Goldgeier clearly labored to pare his empirical chapters down to their essentials, sparing his readers all unnecessary details and superfluous footnotes... Future researchers will owe an intellectual debt to this slim, pathbreaking volume." -- William C. Wohlforth, Political Science Quarterly
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