Oct 28, 2012

Individuals Matter

Individual leadership matters, and leaders make a difference in international relations. There is some empirical evidence that individuals have played an important role in international relations. In international relations the form of government is not as important as the leadership. For example, Ahmadinejad of Iran has been a controversial figure in international relations.

If Ahmadinejad had not called Israel a “tumor” and had not reiterated the words of former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, by saying that Israel should be wiped off the map, today, Iran might have a different status in international relations. If Ahmadinejad had not used inflammatory rhetoric against Israel, and he has not continued to do so, probably Israel and the United State might not pay so much attention to Iran’s uranium enrichment.

Iran began developing its nuclear fuel cycle infrastructure in 1990. During Muhammad Khatami’s presidency Iran made some progress in its enrichment program. Khatami who was known for his openness to dialogue proposed discussion between civilizations. He was the only president after Rafsanjani who openly called for dialogue between the US and Iran.

The impact of individuals in international relations especially in Middle Eastern politics has always been felt. Had Saddam and Khomeini not been born, the Middle East today could be different. Middle Eastern countries in international relations are in a different circumstance, 66% of global oil reserves are in the hands of Middle Eastern regimes: Saudi Arabia (25%), Iraq (11%), Iran (8%), UAE (9%), Kuwait (9%), and Libya (2%). Any instability in the Middle East could impact the world economy.