Factors In Why Putin Took Crimea By Daniel Treisman

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The individual level examines how a state’s leader’s personal attributes affects foreign policy and their decisions as opposed to systemic or domestic factors. In Daniel Treisman’s Why Putin Took Crimea, he argues from the individual level of analysis. While Treisman acknowledges a small level of systemic factors may have influenced Putin, he claims Putin’s annexation is best explained by his personal choices. Bova’s Great Man Theory supports Treisman’s analysis, as well as Margaret Hermann’s personality analysis chart. Treisman’s syntax and focus on Putin’s reasoning throughout the writing also demonstrates the individualist argument.

The great man theory of history explains that “the course of human history is determined not only by larger social, political, and economic forces but also by the beliefs and character of the individuals who rise to positions of
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Treisman’s deep focus on Vladimir Putin’s personal actions and personality inherently dismisses other levels of analysis, because if any other level was used, it would not be necessary to investigate Putin’s personality so deeply. Treisman does acknowledge that some systematic or state factors could have slight influence on Russian actions, but his writing explains the main cause of annexation was Vladimir Putin’s personality and operational code. As Bova writes in his great man theory, history could be incredibly different if different people had been in power, such as Gore over Bush or Le Penn over Macron. Treisman would likely believe that Russian action toward Crimea could have been very different had someone less influential and unpredictable than Putin been in power, thus making it critical to analyze the situation on the individual

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