Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World: The Psychology of Political Behavior / Edition 1

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Overview

"Post is a pioneer in the field of political-personality profiling. He may be the only psychiatrist who has specialized in the self-esteem problems of both Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein."—The New Yorker "Policy specialists and academic scholars have long agreed that for U.S. leaders to deal effectively with other actors in the international arena, they need images of their adversaries. Leaders must try to see events, and, indeed, their own behavior, from the perspective of opponents. . . . Faulty images are a source of misperceptions and miscalculations that have often led to major errors in policy, avoidable catastrophes, and missed opportunities. History supplies all too many examples."—from the ForewordWhat impels leaders to lead and followers to follow? How did Osama bin Laden, the son of a multibillionaire construction magnate in Saudi Arabia, become the world's number-one terrorist? What are the psychological foundations of man's inhumanity to man, ethnic cleansing, and genocide? Jerrold M. Post contends that such questions can be answered only through an understanding of the psychological foundations of leader personality and political behavior.Post was founding director of the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior for the CIA. He developed the political personality profiles of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat for President Jimmy Carter's use at the Camp David talks and initiated the U.S. government's research program on the psychology of political terrorism. He was awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit in 1979 for his leadership of the center.In this book, he draws on psychological and personality theories, as well as interviews with individual terrorists and those who have interacted with particular leaders, to discuss a range of issues: the effects of illness and age on a leader's political behavior; narcissism and the relationship between followers and a charismatic leader; the impact of crisis-induced stress on policymakers; the mind of the terrorist, with a consideration of "killing in the name of God"; and the need for enemies and the rise of ethnic conflict and terrorism in the post-Cold War environment. The leaders he discusses include Fidel Castro, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, and Slobodan Milosevic.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It is no surprise to Jerrold M. Post, the founder of the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior at the C.I.A., that Saddam Hussein grew up to be one of the world's most dangerous dictators and a member of President Bush's axis of evil. . . . As Dr. Post recounts in his new book, Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World, Mr. Hussein's father died, probably of cancer, in the fourth month of his mother's pregnancy with Saddam. Mr. Hussein's 12-year-old brother died, also of cancer, a few months later. The trauma left Saddam's mother, Sabha, so desperately depressed that she tried and failed to abort Saddam and kill herself. When Saddam was born, she would have nothing to do with him and sent him away to an uncle. . . . 'Most people with that kind of background would be highly ineffective as adults and be faltering, insecure human beings.' But there is, Dr. Post said, an alternative path that a minority of wounded selves take: 'malignant narcissism,' the personality disorder that Dr. Post believes fueled Mr. Hussein's rise in Iraq. Perhaps most important, Dr. Post says, is that Mr. Hussein is a 'judicious political calculator,' not a madman."—The New York Times, May 15, 2004

"The crucial role of personality in shaping the political behavior of leaders of states and movements has been amply demonstrated in recent events, ranging from the Soviet demise to the 9/11 cataclysm and the Iraq war. In this seminal book, Post presents a variety of psychological theories, models, and methods to explain the behavior of leaders in times of crisis. . . . Clearly, these essays are pioneering contributions and essential reading for leaders, policy makers, intelligence analysts, academic specialists, and the thinking public."—Choice, March 2005

"A study of the effects of the ways in which social background, childhood trauma, illness, cultural conditioning, and more influence the behavior of leaders. The author draws upon a broad variety of largely modern examples."—The NYMAS Review, No. 30 Spring 2004

"Understanding our opponents is vitally important in a world of terrorism. Jerrold M. Post has done many psychological profiles of foreign leaders for our presidents. In this book, he gives us valuable insights as to what we should be looking for."—Admiral Stansfield Turner, USN (ret.), Former Director of Central Intelligence

"Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World is a highly sophisticated psychoanalytic exploration of famous political leaders as well as lowly assassins and terrorists. The rich collection of examples makes extraordinarily stimulating reading, illustrating the variety of psychic factors that drive the people who shape history."—Fred C. Iklé, Distinguished Scholar, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

"At a time of urgent need to understand the motivations of bad as well as good leaders around the world, Jerrold M. Post offers acute insights and sophisticated analysis drawn from his mastery of leadership theory and his extensive experience in government. Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World is a must-read in the age of Hussein, Kim Jong Il, bin Laden, and Milosevic, whom he analyzes among others."—James MacGregor Burns, Williams College

"This is an extremely important book that all top U.S. national-security decision makers and students of international relations ought to read closely. Post's chapters on Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il and the mind of the terrorist are each worth the price of the book alone. Post is a singular talent who shows why this very important forgotten art needs to be brought back to full strength in the U.S. government."—Barry R. Schneider, Director, USAF Counterproliferation Center

"In today's world, where high-tech industry and weaponry give individuals enormous power, it is more important than ever to understand the purposes and dynamics of leading personalities. We are fortunate that Jerrold Post has led the way in assessing the personalities of those who have shaped contemporary history. Post's insightful psychological profiles have informed a generation of policymakers. They should also inspire political scientists to advance the techniques of analyzing the psychodynamics of leaders who shape the lives of millions."—Richard H. Solomon, President, United States Institute of Peace

"This book is an important and timely reminder of the complex interweave between personality and politics. Jerrold M. Post sheds light on how some leaders and their followers develop the capacity to gravely injure the common good."—Barbara Kellerman, Research Director, Center for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801441691
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Series: Psychoanalysis and Social Theory Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
1 9/11: The Explosive Force of Personality and Political Behavior 1
2 When Personality Affects Political Behavior 11
3 The Psychopolitics of Illness in High Office 50
4 Terminal Leadership: Effects of Mortal Illness on Political Behavior 68
5 The Impact of Crisis-Induced Stress on Policy Makers 100
6 The Mind of the Terrorist 123
7 The Loss of Enemies: Fragmenting Identities and Ethnic/Nationalist Hatred in Eastern Europe 162
8 Hate-Mongering Leaders in the Former Yugoslavia: Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic 172
9 Narcissism and the Charismatic Leader-Follower Relationship 187
10 Fidel Castro: Aging Revolutionary Leader of an Aging Revolution 200
11 Saddam Hussein: "Saddam Is Iraq, Iraq Is Saddam" 210
12 Kim Jong Il of North Korea: In the Shadow of His Father 239
13 Concluding Observations 259
App The Role of Political Personality Profiles in the Camp David Summit 265
Notes 273
References 281
Index 293
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