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THE ANALYTICAL TOOLS C H A P T E R S I X 45 C ertain analytical tools can be used only in specific countries. Many of these are obvious—for example, knowledge of the country’s laws and governmental structures—and I do not discuss them here. Two tools warrant additional attention : (1) political culture and (2) personalities and charisma. Much of this chapter deals with underlying political forces that operate in any society. Understanding them provides a framework that the analytical craftsman can use as he approaches each new job. The political forces I have found important are ideology, the process of social change, the intensity and violence of conflict, rigidity or flexibility of the political structure, and probability analysis versus risk management. We deal first with these general concepts and then with those that are country specific. ANALYTICAL TOOLS OF GENERAL APPLICABILITY Ideological Conviction and the Right to Rule One of the perennial debates among students of international affairs concerns the relative roles of ideology and realpolitik in determining a country’s behavior in the international arena. Westerners often think of ideology in terms of a visionary or fanatical belief system. It is traditionally defined more broadly and more correctly as the body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture, or as a set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.1 An ideology does not have to be extreme to lead to extremism. The core values of Enlightenment ideology were reason and tolerance. The ideas of the Enlightenment led to the American and French revolutions, with very different short-term outcomes. 46 ———— THE CRAFT OF POLITICAL ANALYSIS FOR DIPLOMATS Rational outside observers, a group which presumably includes the preponderance of diplomats, tend to distrust ideology, particularly in its more extreme forms. They may even doubt that it exists, except perhaps as a tool used with deliberation by the ruling class to maintain power and manipulate the populace.This may sometimes be true. More often, it is not. The operative ideology of the ruling class may not be the same as the one it conveys to the masses, but it almost certainly has one. A ruling class is sustained by an ideology, by a core set of beliefs that convince its members that what they are doing for their own good is also for the good of their society. A stable society contains a ruling class that rests on a strong ideological base. If one considers stability a virtue, one should wish for a society with a widely accepted ideology that legitimizes the class in power. This is not the case in much of the Third World, which is governed by ruling cliques, devoid of any ideological base or commitment. This leads to a dreary succession of coups, with each new leader and his cronies motivated by little more than a desire to get rich as quickly as they can, stay in power for as long as they can, and get out alive when they have to. Third World regimes with staying power, whether Muammar elQadaffi ’s in Libya, Ruhollah Khomeini’s in Iran, or Fidel Castro’s in Cuba, are likely to either import or create an ideology that justifies their right to rule to both themselves and the populace. It would be difficult to find an example of a ruling class that did not wish to remain in power, but that wish must be distinguished clearly from a belief in its right to rule. A ruling class bereft of a belief in its right to rule will not long endure, no matter how overwhelming its power appears to be. Consider the trajectory of ideology in the former Soviet Union. Lenin created a convincing ideological structure, well adapted to the Russian political culture. The first generation of Soviet leaders, affirmed by the success of the 1917 revolution, internalized this ideology and conveyed it successfully to enough of the populace to defeat the ancien régime’s counterrevolution. Stalin’s purges of the ruling class during the 1930s superimposed a culture of fear on the ruling Marxist-Leninist ideology . World War II grafted elements of an old ideology, defense of the Motherland, onto this mix and brought a young, new generation into the ruling class, a group that had risen rapidly during the late 1930s as their elders were purged and that now led the country to victory in what their...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781597977302
Related ISBN
9781597977296
MARC Record
OCLC
966875429
Pages
174
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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