Jimmy Carter and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

A Psychological Perspective
  • Betty Glad
  • Brian Whitmore


Political scientists, when analyzing decision making at the highest levels of government in the area of foreign policy, usually emphasize rationally perceived national interests and domestic politics as the primary motivations. Obscured in such scholarship are the idiosyncratic personality traits of the decision makers themselves. A comprehensive explanation of high-level decision making, however, requires that scholars look below the surface to discern the particular world-views and the psychological factors that interact with broader concerns of national interests and domestic politics to form governmental policies. These factors are most important for top decision makers in situations where they are facing crises (see Greenstein, 1967; Holsti, 1971). When major national and personal value are at stake, the ego defensive characteristic of those with the most responsibility for the national response are apt to be triggered and relevant to the policy response.


Foreign Policy International Olympic Committee Domestic Politics World Peace Soviet Leader 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Betty Glad
    • 1
  • Brian Whitmore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Government and International StudiesUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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