The Cold War is a period that many politicians and global leaders continue to study and analyze today. It created tensions between the Soviet Union and the West. The events, happenings, and decisions associated with this political tension have become powerful models or lessons for many analysts, historians, and formulators of foreign policies. This paper uses the case of Nikita Khrushchev to describe and discuss the issues of foreign policy and leadership. It is goes further to draw comparisons between this Soviet Union’s leader and the current U.S. President, Donald Trump.
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Leader’s Foreign Policy
After examining the developments associated with the infamous Cold War, any scholar would agree that Nikita Krushchev applied an ingenious leadership style that kept the allies guessing. With his erratic and provocative actions, he created a scenario whereby uncertainty remained a major concern. Nonetheless, no war was recorded during his period as the president. This is a clear indication that a leader’s unpredictable foreign policy emerges as a source of both strength and liability. Firstly, it is evident that Krushchev managed to prevent war through his philosophy (Khrushcheva 39).
Different politicians and leaders in the West remained unsure of his intentions and only waited until he launched an attack. This approach also encouraged or compelled the allies to consider new ways of improving their weaponry, armies, and artilleries. Krushchev’s strategy made it possible for the Russians to pursue their national aims, thereby supporting economic expansion and development. Additionally, different countries in the West were tricked to invest massively in various fields, including military operations, aviation, and space research.
Secondly, this kind of unpredictability can become a liability for any given leader. This is the case since many developed countries are unwilling to allow emerging states to develop nuclear weapons or establish hegemonies in their respective regions. When leaders try to replicate this kind of model, chances are high that they will be attacked and have their critical infrastructures destroyed. For example, Saddam Hussein and Muhammad Guaddafi embraced similar foreign policies (Khrushcheva 39).
The end result was that they were toppled from leadership and eventually killed. The Americans and other superpowers have been keen to object any form of military establishment that has the potential to affect global peace. The invasion of Afghanistan and the eventual capture and murder of Osama bin Laden is attributable to the adoption of such unpredictable or deceptive foreign policies. The case of North Korea is a developing story that will contribute significantly to this area of leadership.
Being Predictable or Unpredictable?
When it comes to diplomacy, various theories have emerged that guide political leaders to make informed decisions and protect their countries against any form of harm from foreign states. A good example is the realism model or concept (Firoozabadi and Ashkezari 97). From a personal perspective, I believe that it is strategically appropriate or beneficial for a president to remain unpredictable. Such a strategy is critical since it will leave others guessing his or her next move.
With this practice, chances are high that the country will pursue its economic and security objectives without interference. The emerging uncertainty makes it impossible for enemies to forecast their military strengths and capabilities. Consequently, states will be unwilling to launch an assault or attack against such a leader since they cannot predict his or her level of preparedness. The example of Krushchev can support this argument since he managed to sustain the Cold War during his presidency while at the same time preventing any major global upheaval.
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When a leader is predictable and stable, chances are high that his enemies will be aware of his or her foreign policy. They will successfully guess what his or her next action could be and make appropriate preparations. Although this kind of practice is appropriate when countries relate positively with each other, the uncertainties and developments recorded in the past indicate that rivalries will always exist. Being unpredictable becomes the better option for pursuing diplomatic goals and ensuring that the intended economic aims are realized (Iandolo 131). The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese became a learning point for pursuing foreign policy.
Some analysts and historians of the Second World War acknowledge that such many Americans could not have guessed such a move. This occurrence continues to guide the U.S. and other countries to remain unpredictable, protect their territories, and pursue policies that favor their own people and protect them against any possible attack (Loader 1763). Leaders who consider this approach will record more benefits than those who pursue stable foreign policies and diplomacies.
Comparisons: Nikita Khrushchev and Donald Trump
During his tenure, Nikita Khrushchev managed to engage in dialogues that prevented a possible global war. A good example of this kind of practice occurred during the infamous Cuban Missile Crisis. He held talks with the American president and both agreed to the terms of the withdrawal. Despite being unpredictable in terms of his leadership philosophy, Khrushchev was keen to support the welfare of his people. The recent meetings between President Trump and the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, reveal the striking similarities between the two.
Donald Trump has been keen to do what his predecessors were afraid or unable to achieve (Stewart). His dialogues with the North Korean leader have created a scenario whereby this militarized country could reduce its nuclear warheads and focus on the most appropriate measures to open its borders to other countries.
Khrushchev engaged in unpredictable behavior by presenting erratic and even belligerent statements throughout his reign. He would occasionally retract them when the time was right or when he wanted to achieve something. This kind of practice has been observed or recorded under Trump’s presidency. Nonetheless, the American president has remained a controversial figure over a wide range of issues, including media freedom, gun control and politics, and healthcare policy (Stewart).
He has also remained unpredictable whenever formulating or pursuing his foreign policies. He has always been ready to describe how he would launch attacks on unfriendly governments. At the same time, Trump has been focusing on the developments recorded in other countries before making his decisions. These practices and philosophies echo those of Khrushchev.
The above discussion has presented the case of Khrushchev to explain how leadership and foreign are inseparable. The paper supports an unpredictable approach since it leaves other countries and enemies guessing, thereby presenting a new opportunity for pursuing national aims. The theory of realism encourages politicians to focus on actions and ideas that can protect people’s lives. The paper has concluded by explaining why Donald Trump has specific similarities with Nikita Khrushchev in terms of their leadership and foreign policy approaches.
Firoozabadi, Jalal Dehghani, and Mojtaba Zare Ashkezari. “Neo-Classical Realism in International Relations.” Asian Social Science, vol. 12, no. 6, 2016, pp. 95-99.
Iandolo, Alessandrio. “Beyond the Shoe: Rethinking Khrushchev at the Fifteenth Session of the United Nations General Assembly.” Diplomatic History, vol. 41, no. 1, 2017, pp. 128-154.
Khrushcheva, Nina. “The Enemies of those People: Nikita Khrushchev’s Great-Grandchild Considers Life in Trump’s USA Compared to her Soviet Upbringing.” Index on Censorship, vol. 46, no. 2, 2017, pp. 38-40.
Loader, Michael. “Beria and Khrushchev: The Power Struggle over Nationality Policy and the Case of Latvia.” Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 68, no. 10, 2016, pp. 1759-1792.
Stewart, James B. “Why Trump’s Unusual Leadership Style Isn’t Working in the White House.” The New York Times. 2019. Web.