Daniel Treisman's Personal Decisions

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The individual level examines how the personal attributes and ideologies of a state’s leader affect foreign policy and their decisions in contrast to systemic or domestic factors. In Daniel Treisman’s Why Putin Took Crimea he argues from the individual level of analysis. While Treisman acknowledges that some systemic factors may have influenced Putin’s decision to annex Crimea, he argues that it is best explained by understanding Vladimir Putin’s personal beliefs. Treisman’s syntax and focus on Putin’s reasoning throughout the writing exemplify the individualist argument. Russell Bova’s Great Man Theory and Margaret Hermann’s personality analysis chart support Treisman’s argument. . The Great Man Theory of history explains that “the course …show more content…
Her study concludes by describing four basic leadership styles, each determined by the leader’s beliefs about control, power, complexity, self confidence, problem solving, trust, and bias (Bova 79). While Treisman doesn’t explicitly define which style Putin falls under, Treisman uses Hermann’s idea that leadership style is personal and influential in his argument. When Treisman writes, “it suggest that Putin has become willing in recent years to take major strategic risks. . . by deploying special forces in Crimea without planning for the region's political future, Putin showed that he is not just an improviser but also a gambler” (Treisman 8). Here, Treisman is arguing that Putin’s individual leadership style led him to annex Crimea. As a further example, Treisman also employs the individual level of analysis when he states that “Russia’s intervention in Crimea demonstrates the need to accurately identify Russia’s key strategic aspects, as seen by Putin” (Treisman 8, emphasis added). In Treisman’s view Russian interest cannot be understood unless Putin’s individual leadership style and goals are …show more content…
He writes: “[i]t is well known that Russia’s leaders are determined to prevent Ukraine from becoming a NATO member. But that does not mean that resisting NATO’s expansion was what motivated Putin” (Treisman 3). Although Treisman acknowledges that in a systematic analysis Putin would have acted in order to maintain the balance of power and keep Ukraine in check, he argues that Putin’s actions were truly dictated by his individual interpretation of Ukraine’s potential NATO status. Here Treisman draws on Bova’s operational code, referring to a leader’s “beliefs about the nature of politics. . . and his notions of correct strategy and tactics” (Bova 77) to explain Putin’s actions. . Treisman states it is Putin’s operational code is paramount to systemic factors. Further,Treisman dismisses systemic analysis as an effective framework for understanding Putin’s actions when he concludes that “all this improvisation makes it hard to see Russia’s intervention in Crimea as part of a systemic expansionist project. Any halfway competent imperialist would have known whom to appoint as the local satrap after the invasion” (Treisman 7). Treisman outright dismisses the move as expansionist, eliminating the domestic level of

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