The Personal in the Political

The following title from a NYT story turned my mind to a topic that political scientists tend to ignore.

Turning Bush-Abe Alliance Into Friendship

The story also uses the ubiquitous statement by Bush on Putin:

“I looked the man in the eye,” Mr. Bush said then, adding, “I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

Bush’s policies and statements towards Russia reflect that the facts of the matter have changed – namely that high oil prices have allowed Russia and Putin a stronger position. I know that elections are won and lost based on personality, and it would not surprise me that wars are fought for the same reason. Clearly people matter, but we know so little about the way that political forces work in the world (especially outside of rich democracies) that focusing on what we can count is the best that we can do. We have to crawl before we can walk.

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