Personality and foreign policy: Tony Blair’s Iraq decisions. (2006)
“..from his responses to foreign policy questions in the House of Commons the author finds Blair has a high belief in his ability to control events, a low conceptual complexity, and a high need for power.
Stephen Benedict Dyson, Wabash College
Foreign Policy Analysis (2006) 2, 289–306
The British choice in Iraq has been characterized as “Tony Blair’s War,” with many believing that the personality and leadership style of the prime minister played a crucial part in determining British participation. Is this the case?
To investigate, the author employs at-a-distance measures to recover Blair’s personality from his responses to foreign policy questions in the House of Commons.
He finds that Blair has a high belief in his ability to control events, a low conceptual complexity, and a high need for power. Using newly available evidence on British decision making, the author shows how Blair’s personality and leadership style did indeed shape both the process and outcome of British foreign policy toward Iraq. The research reemphasizes the importance of individual level factors in theories of foreign policy, as well as offering a comprehensive explanation of a critical episode.
Access the paper here: Personality and foreign policy