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date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

While international security research used to be too leader-centric, in the era of “great man history,” the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction over the last two generations as international security research increasingly removed leaders from having any agency in the decisions their countries make. This chapter will explore the potential importance of leaders across a variety of theories of international politics, in particular the interaction between leaders, domestic political institutions, and material power. It will then discuss how improving our understanding of leaders can improve our ability to understand both the key international security issues of the past and those that seem likely to be at the forefront of the next generation.

Keywords: leaders, international security, personality, psychology, war, politics

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