Leadership and Transformative Ambition in International Relations
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Leadership and Transformative Ambition in International Relations

Mark A. Menaldo

This enriching book explores a theoretical gap in international relations and the role of leader ambition. It presents the idea that some leaders transcend political constraints and as a result, they fundamentally reshape their domestic polity while introducing change to the international system.
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Mark A. Menaldo


This book improves on the way current theories of international politics and leadership studies understand statesmanship by showing how leaders with transformative ambition confront the perennial issues that nations face in foreign affairs. Transformative ambition is a unique concept that helps us understand change in domestic and international politics. Leaders are the catalysts for change as they translate their ambition into policies that seek to shape the moral opinions and behaviors of their followers. In essence, these leaders override and transcend political structures and constraints, which results in new political practices. The changes they inaugurate do not translate into a wholesale transformation of the international system. In other words, they do not restructure the anarchic system into something altogether different. Leaders with transformative ambition aim for changes in their regime’s domestic and foreign policy, and thereby alter the conventional rules of international politics of their day. As a result, these particular changes have system wide ramifications.

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