The election of Donald Trump may be a sign of something much scarier than we thought
by Narjas Zatat
United States President Donald Trump’s first 100 days, like his campaign trail, has been filled with fiery rhetoric.
New political research has found an interesting link between the perception of conflict and the likelihood of choosing a dominant leader.
Professor of Political Science Michael Bang Petersen and Assistant Professor in Political Science Lasse Laustsen, both of Aarhus University, studied how people choose the type of political leader they want.
They based their research on a real-world conflict: Crimea.
Taking 1,000 Ukrainians and 1,000 Poles, they were presented with small economic games as well as a number of other problems, in order to distinguish to which degree they perceived an aggressive strategy as beneficial.
Results found that the more the participants saw benefit in an aggressive move, the more they preferred a dominant leader. Which makes sense.
The participants were asked about experiencing anger, hatred or fear during the week.
The more that Ukrainians who lived in conflict areas had experienced anger or hatred, the more they liked a dominant person as a leader.
What has this to do with Donald Trump?The study implies a correlation between perception of conflict and aggressive strategy towards conflict.
Michael Bang Petersen said:
Our research indicates that supporting a dominant leader is a sign that you are prepared to solve conflicts by offensive rather than defensive means.Donald Trump, who has previously vowed to “bomb the s---t” out of terrorists, presents as an aggressive and dominant leader.
Thus, it can be a cause for concern when dominant leaders emerge on the world stage.
Behind the dominant leader stands a public who wants to escalate conflicts aggressively.
You might infer from this that his supporters are very much inclined towards solving conflicts using aggression.
In a geopolitical landscape filled with issues – the matter of Iran and its nuclear capabilities, North Korea’s encroachment on South Korea and the emerging power of Isis – aggression may not be the most productive strategy.