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Antisocial personality disorder and pathological narcissism in prolonged conflicts and wars of the 21st Century. (2016)

“…once in power, a leader with an Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) thrives on continuing conflict and never seeks peace.”

Frederick M. Burkle, Jr, MD, MPH, DTM, FAAP, FACEP. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard School of Public Health; Senior International Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC; National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC.
Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness: February 2016 Feb

“…The end of the Cold War was the “perfect storm” of chaotic circumstances that either perpetuated those in power or gave birth to unprecedented opportunities for individuals, (including Muammar al-Qaddafi, Kim Jong Il, Pol Pot and Slobodan Milosevic) many of whom evidenced various degrees of antisocial behaviors, to take advantage of the power vacuum to seek leadership roles in some of the most vulnerable and lawless countries of the world.

“Incompetent leaders, unlike at any time in history, were often assured tenure by the easy availability of sophisticated lethal weaponry in large numbers and the ready access to eager followers fueled by massive numbers of bored, unemployed, disadvantaged, and disaffected youth looking for a cause in life.

“…once in power, a leader with an Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) thrives on continuing conflict and never seeks peace.

“…This article (1) describes the characteristics of narcissism in society, which at its most pathological level drives the destructive behaviors seen in ASPD; (2) describes how ASPD has managed to play a major role in prolonging post–Cold War conflicts and wars in both the late 20th and into the early 21st centuries and has led to predictable failures; (3) discusses what countermeasures are available or could be enhanced; and (4) provides both field-level examples and recommendations of how decision-makers and international organizations, by incorporating an improved knowledge base of ASPD, may improve ways of mitigating the prolonged impact of these offenders on vulnerable populations.

“…Recognition of ASPD should be a leading tool for debate among diplomats, security personnel, and others who engage in negotiations and discussions at the transnational and international level.

“…International decision-makers must be prepared to recommend military intervention and force when necessary to thwart the highly predictable narcissistically driven objectives of leaders with ASPD.”

Access the full opinion piece here: Antisocial personality & Narcissism In Leaders

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