The Modern Prince

The theory of democracy tell us that the people rule. In practice , we have leaders who rule the people in a manner not altogether different from the princes and potentates of times past .
The ability of a supreme leader to inspire confidence in the nation at large and communicate resolution and seriousness to allies and adversaries is as vital to success in war today as it ever was .
Americans look to their Presidents - to ensure that the nation's mighty economic engine remains in good repair and that its benefits are distributed with tolerable fairness to all .They also look to Presidents as guardians of the laws and symbols of national values . In these other respects , they look at presidents not only for competent management of the nation's affairs , but for justice and a measure of inspiration.
Some twenty five years ago James MacGregor could write ;
 " The crisis of leadership today is the mediocrity of irresponsibility of so many of the men and women in power , but leadership rarely rises to the need for it .The fundamental crisis underlying mediocrity is intellectual .If we know all to much about our leaders , we know far too little about leadership .We fail to grasp the essence of leadership that is relevant to the modern age and hence we cannot agree even on the standards by which to measure , recruit, and reject it ".

The fundamental -and rarely posed - question :What is exactly thet politicians today must know in order to lead effectively?. I shall call- using a patently old fashioned but nevertheless indispensable term - statecraft .
Leadership is less necessary in times and places where state and society are in good working order .
This is a book about leadership and statecraft , not about leaders as such .
What should leaders today know? ,
-First , their own political environment-states and regimes or form of government , and the national elites that both enable and limit their power .It is surprising to what extent these elemental realities are not fully grasped even by sophisticated modern politicians .
-Second , the goals that states and leaders pursue - these too can be opaque to leaders schooled in the narrowly rationalistic outlook of contemporary political science .
Further , the tools or instruments available to leaders in pursuit of their goals .Contrary to a view that is too common even among politicians , these institutions are largely supple and responsive instruments .
Political leaders are not infrequently the lonely guardians of national strategy , and face fearsome responsibilities in undertaking strategic action in crisis situations . They face baffling difficulties in structuring mechanism for advice and decision , as well as in shaping the political environment to support their policy goals. And for all of these reasons , they rise with difficulty , if indeed at all , to the fundamental challenges of our times .
It is not obvious that leadership is actually possible in contemporary democracies . Constitutional democracy is supposed to rely in the rule of law rather than the rule of men .

Especially , but not only , in the developing world , political leaders today complain that their freedom of action at home is increasingly constrained by global economic and technological trends .
In some advanced democracies there is the near-crippling impact on leadership of the news media and the political culture .
Demagoguery - let us define it as the art of political pandering- is as old as democracy itself( the word comes from a classical greek term meaning simply "leader of the people") Critics of the Athenian democracy of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. thought it dangerously vulnerable to unscrupulous politicians who played on the hopes and fears of the people to advance their own careers .Such people were usually highly effective orators who could arouse passions and sway decisions in large popular assemblies .
Political campaigns increasingly rely on extravagant if not simply fraudulent promises to various constituencies .This development might be dismissed as the price that must be paid for politicians to gain access to an office they will thereafter use in the disinterested pursuit of the national interest . In fact , what we have experienced in every recent years is a tendency for our leaders to view governance as a merely extension of political campaigning .It is hardly surprising that the result has been a marked decline in trust in government - and not only in America . The combination of overpromising and underperforming by governments and their leaders is a problem throughout the advance democracies today and raises serious questions about the attachment of ordinary citizens to democracy over the long run .

In the Progressive vision , the President is uniquely representative of the people as a whole , and the sole forge for real change in a system in which the people's elected representatives tend to be the prisioners of party bosses , special interests , and local or regional perspective . To play this role , however , presidents needed to become more directly concerned with the adquisition and exercise of personal power than they has in the past . To begin with , they needed to become masters rather than creature of a party . They needed to develop their own program , take the initiative in placing it on the legislative agenda , and use the resources of their office and prestige to influence congressional action in support of it .And they needed to strengthen and extend the reach of the instrument of governance most readily available to them - presidential rhetoric and the federal bureaucracy.

The chief lesson is that our need for strong Presidents- leaders in the Progressive mold - should not simply be taken for granted . In the first place , the need for such leaders has to be balanced against the risk of overreliance on them . Second , and less obviously , the need for such leaders cannot be adequately assessed without paying some attention to the alternative leadership resources available to democratic societies at a given time .These resources fall into two categories . To the first belong the other institutional structures that make up the modern state - the legislature, the judiciary , the administrative bureaucracy . To the second belong the various elites who staff these institutions and dominate other key sectors of civil society - the higher civil service , the military , lawyers and judges ,the captains of industry , commerce and finance , journalists of the national media and the higher profesoriate , to name the most important .

Another basic point needs to be made here . In its most expansive sense , leadership is about ruling . It describes relations of initiative and response , of authority and subordination ,of command and obedience , that are common to societies throughout history . But the term leadership is also used in a more restricted sense to refer to a particular type or style of rule, one relaying on persuasion or example rather than coercion or command ; leadership of this type is at home especially in democracies or republics . Yet this still fails to capture fully the positive flavor of leadership as a term of art today . In politics as well as in business , leadership is associated above all with energetic individuals who seek to impose their own "vision" on an organization and to initiate or oversee "change" in pursuit of that vision . True leadership is :transformational" - leadership that seeks to change the rules of the game and perhaps the course oh history , not the messy bargaining and accommodation that is what most political leaders do most of the time .
Do we need leadership?The answer to this question has to be yes .Plainly , the fact that leadership has its dark side is not an effective argument against it . The dangers of demagoguery , corruption , and tyrannical ambition cannot be avoided in any political system if leadership is to be given reasonable scope . As Aristotle once said , all good things can be misused , except virtue .
It is good in the first place for symbolic reasons .

Second, leadership is good because it provides an essential locus of authoritative decision making .All societies need some mechanism for arbitrating disputes among powerful interests and distributing scarce resources .
Third , leadership is good because it is indispensable in times of trouble .Leadership certainly involves democratic-style persuasion , but also involves command - in democracies as in  other regimes . 
Finally , leadership is good because leaders are a vital mechanism for bringing political knowledge to bear on the business of politics .
What is the essence of leadership? What political leaders have that set them apart from ordinary people is rather a kind of personal dynamism , an ability to inspire trust in their integrity and confidence in their ability to perform . A convenient term for this personal quality or set of qualities is " charisma ".
The notions of charismatic leadership derives from Max Weber's well-known distinction between "traditional ". "rational-legal". and "charismatic" form of governance .
On the other hand, charisma has its limits . Speaking of prophets who found states , Machiavelli famously observes that " all the armed prophets conquered the unarmed ones were ruined . For.... the nature of peoples is variable : and it is easy to persuade them of something , but difficult to keep them in that persuasion . And thus things must be ordered in such a mode that when they do not longer believe , one can make them believe by force ". Talk , no matter how inspiring, is a wasting asset.
The theory- and, indeed much of the practice- of leadership today brings Aristotle's observation about the sophists who tried yet failed to invent the discipline of political science . " For the most part ," he says , " they do not even know what sort of things it is or what things it has to do with , for otherwise they would not have laid down that it has to do with , for otherwise they would not have laid down that it is the same as rhetoric or even inferior to it . or believed it is easy to legislate by collecting the most renowned laws - they think it is possible to select the best laws , as if the very selection were not a matter of understanding , and correct judgment were not the most important thing here ".
Carl Von Clausewitz , the great theoretician of the art of war ,once observed that war and politics have the same logic , but different grammar .Like strategy in war , statecraft is an art of coping with an adversarial environment in which actions generates reactions  in unpredictable ways and chance and uncertainty rule .Like strategy, too, statecraft is also an art of relating means to end . if , in Clausewitz formulation , strategy is the art of using battles to achieve the objectives of the war , stacraft is the art of using wars and other instruments available to political leaders to attain national goals .
Statecraft must be concerned both with the goals of a nation pursues and with the ways and means necessary to achieve them .The exercise of leadership may amount to articulating a " vision " ,but statecraft properly understood is also about something more - and something arguably more difficult : "the ways visions are implemented". Effective statecraft requires an understanding of the various instruments actually or potentially available to statesmen and an ability to use them in coordinated fashion in differing circumstances to achieve the objectives of state policy .
What is missing in the contemporary understanding of political knowledge is an appreciation not merely of the scope of its subjects matter , but also of its peculiar character or mode . The mode of knowing that it is at the core of statecraft in its traditional sense is political judgment , or to use another old fashioned term ,"prudence". At its simplest , this notion implies that there is a kind of intellectual discernment or cognition that it is specially suited to political decision making .It implies that politicians , because of their greater experience of political matters , develop an intellectual ability that enables them to make sound political decisions - sounder than the decisions that are apt to be made by these lacking such experience , whatever their raw intellectual capabilities or store of relevant knowledge might be .
According to Aristotle , prudence or practical wisdom is the mode of knowing proper to political science .Prudence differs fundamentally from scientific or theoretical knowledge. It is the faculty we use in applying general principles to particular circumstances that require decision and action .It thus requires both general knowledge of a certain kind and an understanding of circumstances that can come only from experience ; an important implication of this is that prudence tends to be found mostly in mature and experience people , not in the young .
What exactly is a regime? Aristotle defines it as; " an arrangement in cities connected with the offices , establishing the manner in which they have been distributed , what the authoritative element of the regimens , and what the end of the partnership is in each case ".
There are two distinct aspects to this definition . The regime is , first , a set of fundamental rules or laws regulating the most important offices or functions of the government of a state - establishing which they are ,  , what matters they deal with , which persons may hold them and how they are selected , and, above all , designating the body that has the final or sovereign authority over all the rest .This may be describe as the institutional or procedural side of the regime . Equally important , however , is the second aspect of the definition , that relating to the "end" the state or society pursues .Implicit in this remark is Aristotle's view that the ruling or authoritative element in every regime stands for something beyond itself - for a principle or set of priciples reflecting a particular substantive vision of " happiness " for the community as a whole .Let us call this the substantive aspect of the regime .
Aristotle indicates that every regime is constructed around an " authoritative element " - an identifiable person or group that is ultimately in charge . This he calls the " governing body ". " For laws should be enacted - and all are in fact enacted - with a view of the regimes , and not regimes with a view to the laws . Regimes , he tell us , are run by one , few , or many ; and they are run either for the common good of the city or for the private benefit of the ruling element .
Al " oligarchy " is a regime dominated by the wealthy few , but wealth , not the fewness of the ruling element , is what give this regime its distinguishing features .
A "democracy " is a regime dominated by the many , who also happen to be poor and lacking in education .What makes it truly distinctive , though, is its embrace of the ideals of freedom and equality .
Similarly " aristocracy " is not merely rule of the few in the common interest but rule of the few who are well-bred , educated , and habituated to public service ; its distinctive feature is its embrace of the ideal of honor or gentlemanly virtue .
An " polity " is a form of popular rule build around a relatively prosperous , well-armed , and public-spirited class of farmers - a far cry from the resentful urban proletariat .
Finally " one-man" rule takes very different forms according to whether it is the legitimate and long-established rule of a hereditary monarch or the rule of a tyrant who is oppressive at least in part because of his very lack of legitimacy .
Aristotle places much more emphasis , in the first place , on ideology - or to remain closer to his own language , on the various claims to political justice that are advanced by the contending parties in the city .
Among oligarchies, for example ,Aristotle identifies a variant he calls " rule of the powerful "- essentially , government by a committee of the heads of a few powerful families or clans with little regards for settled the law .
The " mixed regime "represents an accommodation between the two most powerful elements in the city of his days, the people and the wealthy few , giving both a share in offices and honors and creating institutional structure that ensures their participation .
We tend to equate a regime with a " constitution " that is , a formal written document that has the status of fundamental law . Yet constitutions never tell the whole story about how a state is run - and sometimes the story they tell is intentionally misleading .
Aristotle assumes that the abstractly best regime is one that holds its citizens to such a high standards that it is unlikely to be realized except under the best imaginable conditions .
Today we are much more inclined to see the liberal democracy as a practical model for most if not all nations on the world scene , one that can be exported with only minor adjustment to societies that have had no experience with it .
Contrary to Aristotelian regime analysis , democracy tends to be treated simply as a collection of institutions and procedures rather than as substantive ideal . One of the most profound challenges contemporary statements face is coping with the dangers this development poses to the future of democratic governance .
We have seen that knowledge of the character of regimes is an essential component of the political knowledge leaders require. But regimes cannot be understood properly without paying due attention to the elites that so largely control and define them .
Are elites actually necessary ? ,Is it possible to have political leadership without political elites ? ,If elites are necessary , are they necessary malign ?.
If political elites are inevitable , indispensable , menacing , yet also malleable , the key issue becomes how to manage them effectively . Some laws have a direct and potentially critical impact on the shape , composition , and behavior of an elite class - for example , those affecting land ownership and inheritance .
Machiavelli's fundamental point is that elites can be managed effectively only by princess who do not have to depend upon them for their political survival .Hence the strategy of leaders must be to curry favor with the people , while employing elites for the tasks of governance in ways that minimize the threat they pose to the basis of princely power .
In extraordinary circumstances , however , prince or potential prince can survive and prosper only if they possess the appropriate qualities af mind and personality - the comprehensive political excellence Machiavelli calls " virtue ". These sorts of circumstances provide the critical arena and the true test of statecraft .To quote Machiavelli again on this key point ;
 " It should be considered that nothing is more difficult to handle , more doubtful of success , nor more dangerous to manage , that to put oneself at the head of introducing new orders .For the introducer has all those who benefit from the old order as enemies , and he has lukewarm defenders in all those who might benefit from the new orders " ,
For Machiavelli , then , the act of " founding " is the pinnacle of statecraft .
What is the primary requirement in a founding prince ? ,  Machiavelli put it this way;
 " The principal foundations that all states have , new ones as well as old or mixed , are good laws and good arms .And were cannot be good laws where are there are not god arms , and were there are good arms there must be good laws , I shall leave out reasoning on laws and shall speak of arms ".
Indeed , part of what makes Machiavelli a revolutionary thinker in the modern sense of the term is precisely his grasp of the power of belief or opinion as an instrument of statecraft .
" A prince should those take great care that , to see him and hear him , he should appear all mercy , all faith , all honesty , all humanity , all religion . And nothing is more necessary to appear to have than this finally quality . Men in general judge more by their eyes than by their hands , because seeing is given to everyone , touching to few . Everyone see how you appear , few touch what you are ; and these few dare not to oppose the opinion of many , who have the majesty of the state to defend them ".
The soundness of Machiavelli's analysis of founding ultimately rests on his depreciation of the rule of law .
The modern political executive has to be understood in the broader context in which he operates .
This context consists of a particular institutional setting and the wider cultural outlook that lends it fundamental legitimacy . The institutional setting is of course the familiar one of constitutional democracy . Hare law , not man , is king . and government consist of partly autonomous and competing institutions - representatives assemblies , courts , bureaucracies - that greatly limit the field of action of those who must visible "rule ".But even more important is the political culture - the often unspoken set of beliefs and attitudes - that underpins these institutional mechanism .
That all men are created equal and endowed with fundamental rights ;
that government or the states exists or ought to exist primarily to secure those rights ;
that government is therefore the servant not the master of the people ;
that government cannot be trusted to act accordingly unless it is controlled by the people's elected representatives - such are the political axioms that shape the expectations of people and the ambitions of politicians today - certainly in the developed West , but even in many parts of the world that do not yet enjoy stable constitutional democracy .
Liberal Constitutionalism is not the same as the ideology of Contemporary Constitutional Democracy . It is a theory not of a democracy as such but of limited government .Its central concern is nor empowering people but limiting the ability of governments of whatever sort - democratic ones included - to dominate society .
More successful , and more interesting for our purpose , is the American model .In fact what the founders created was a uniquely powerful republican executive . The office they designed was intended to impart energy, unity , and force to the machinery of government - qualities notoriously missing in the makeshift confederacy of the revolutionary period.
Executive energy presuppose two things . The first is unity , and the second , duration .
If the modern prince is a peculiar compound of weakness and strength , though , how stable is that compound ? ,Or to put it in another way , how successful has modern constitutionalism proven in practice in maintaining the dynamic equilibrium prescribed by its own theory ?,  Has separation of powers , checks and balances , and the rest of the machinery of modern constitutionalism actually worked ?
It is far from clear , however , that the parliamentary systems are generally superior to tha American model as reliable providers of leadership .
Switzerland it is closer than any nation in the contemporary era to a regime of direct democracy , where fundamental policies decisions are routinely made through popular referendums , and executive power is sharply circumscribed .
Japan offers another example - baffling in many ways , but potentially instructive - of an advanced democracy that seems culturally allergic to strong leadership .Virtually all observers agree that Japanese political culture puts a very high premium on consensus, conformity , and the avoidance of confrontation .Leadership itself therefore tends to be seen as part of a process of consensus formation .In the second place there is also much evidence that Japanese culture is not immutable .
In his famous history of the Peloponnesian War , Thucydides says of Athens in the age of Pericles that it was a democracy in name only , in actuality rule by a single man
In fact , the general rule trend in democracies today seems to be in that direction , if anything , of a further strengthening of the executive element , especially at the expense of the legislature .
In a penetrating critique of the governance of France in the Mitterand era , Jean-Francois Revel attemps to unravel the paradox at the heart of the French politics - the "ineffectuality " of the all-powerful presidential office ." The President of the Republic " he claims , " is today what is responsible for France not being governed. The presidency does not work , and prevents all the rest from working ".
Statecraft , like strategy , is about the relationship of means and ends .
Most political leaders are preoccupied most of the time with questions of means and trouble themselves little over questios of ends . this is hardling surprising. Statement tend to be practical people . They focus on matters that urgently demand their attention and respond to their actions . they see little point in worrying about ultimate issues , partly because such issues seem too remote , partly because they are too difficult to do anything about . Lack of clarity about goals , however , can sometimes have unfortunate practical consequences .It is therefore worth thinking about them more carefully than is usually done .
Security and order are convenient shorthand expressions to designate these ends or goals of statecraft .
That statements do and should concern themselves with the economic well-being of their societies would also be very generally agreed .Most people and politicians today would not doubt identify prosperity as one of the fundamental goals of national policies .
The idea that government is competent to manage the economy to produce prosperity and its attendant social and political benefits is most directly associated with the socialist tradition of modern times .The problem is that politicians too often find it difficult to resist taking credit for good economic news , thus reinforcing this dynamic - and setting themselves up for political failure down the road .
Today , it is sometimes asserted that the fundamental challenge of leadership , whether in business or politics , consists in identifying and articulating ends - in crafting a "vision " that can inspire an organization or a nation .
The day -to-day management of the machinery of administration is the single most important thing that the government do most of the time , and whether it is done well or badly directly affects the fortunes of regimes and those who rule them .
Enforcing the laws , to be sure , is a function of the executive but one that hardly seems to involve great issues of statecraft .What role do political leaders legitimately have here ? First , the most obviously , political leaders can exercise legislative leadership .Leaders can play a role in safeguarding the rule of law in constitutional democracies in several critical respects.
This brings us to the question of law and culture . Tocqueville observes that there are three factors that maintain a democractic republic in America : the unique history and configuration of the country ; its laws ; and its manners , morals , and intellectual outlook in the broadest sense.
 In arguing that the last of these - let us call it "political Culture "- is actually the most critical . As Aristotle once put it : " law has no strength apart from habit". Culture is what creates and sustains the habits that centrally condition human behavior and shape men's attitude toward law .
Opinion polls in the United States show that education is regularly seen by the general public as a political issue of the highest priority , and politicians routinely pay at least lip service to its importance . The reason , of course , is that the quality of public education has immediate and visible effects on people's lives .
As we saw earlier , citizens in the advanced democracies tend to accept in theory the desirability of free markets , while in practice looking to the state as the ultimate guarantor of their prosperity . Economist claim to be the sole guardians of a kind of secret lore that leaders can use to divine and manipulate unseen forces . But this means that politicians are uniquely dependent on economists . The problem is that economists tend to be insensitive to the requirements of politicians and to lack political judgment .
A common misconception concerning economic statecraft is that it pursues economic ends only .Economic statecraft properly understood is the use of economic means in pursuit of any of the ends sought by states and leaders .
Diplomacy today is still widely regard as an arcane art practiced by a professional guild whose expertise derives entirely from its dealings with foreign governments . we tend to lose sight of the unique perspective political leaders bring to this field .In fact , the beginning of wisdom in thinking about diplomacy is to see that there is an inescapable tension between statesman and diplomats , just as there is between statesman and soldiers .
One tradition , the heritage of the trader-states of modern Europe , views diplomacy as an arena og negotiation and compromise in which national differences can and should be composed for everyone's greater good . The other sees it rather as a form of political struggle , where there can be only winners and losers .
What is more , the personal "chemistry " of leaders can become a truly strategic factor in the relations of nations .
National power is now measure as much by economic resources and performance as by military capabilities .
Those who believe that war in general is on the decline today face a significant burden of proof .
It is important not to misunderstand Clausewitz's famous formula . In the first place , it is not meant to imply that the political aim should never be adjusted to the reality of the military means available or to evolving circumstances. nor does imply that war is an instrument that can be wielded with surgical precision by politicians .On the contrary , he emphasizes that war represents a complex interplay of rational direction , chance , and "primordial violence , hatred and enmity " - war's " remarkable trinity ".
What this does imply that the perspective of political and military leaders inevitably - and legitimately - diverge . Military commanders are preoccupied with the means of war and the methods by which they can be combine to carry out effective military operations. Politicians worry about the effects of these operations in public opinion at home and the nation's allies and adversaries abroad .
Clausewitz himself admits that political considerations can rightly influence the planning not merely of a war but of a campaign  or even a battle , and he suggests including the military commander-in-chief in cabinet deliberations in order to facilitate the cabinet's shaping of military decisions - not the other way around .
Intelligence is of the essence in warfare - it is what armies depend upon in their every move .
For Sun Tzu , the importance of intelligence transcends the function often assigned it today as a " force multiplier ". He who knows the enemy and himself will never in a hundred battles be at risk .
Intelligence is probably the least well understood of the instrument of statecraft .
It is customary in the US to distinguish among four so-called elements of intelligence - collection , analysis , covert action , and counterintelligence .
A good argument can be made that the primary utility of intelligence analysis lies not in predicting the future but rather in educating policies makers in the realities of the present and recent past . 
Further , the notion that policy makers have no standing to criticize intelligence judgments is inherently implausible.
That there are built-in tensions in the relationship of leaders and intelligence organizations is undeniable .
We come finally to an area of statecraft that is supremely important for leaders in our media-driven age ."Political communication" is an inescapable leadership responsibility , one that is impossible to delegate and that is increasingly seen in the advance democracies as a key test of political competence .
Leaders communicate , however , as much through deeds as words . The actions of governments are themselves a communications tool , and sometimes they speak louder than words ; they can communicate , for example , resolutions or weakness , seriousness or fecklessness , commitment or the lack of it .
What exactly is rhetoric ? ,  It is the art of persuading large audiences , in political matters broadly constructed .Aristotle , who remains an indispensable guide to its fundamentals , distinguishes rhetoric from three related arts ;" logic "  ; "dialectic " ; and " sophistry ".
In this day , much as in our popular view of rhetoric tended to equate it with sophistry , that is to say , with the use of verbal trickery to sustain or defeat an argument .
Dialectic may be describe as the art of debate .
While the logical or argumentative component of rhetoric is necessary and important , it is not the whole of it . In persuading large and therefore relatively popular or less educated audiences , two other mechanism need to be employed ; " character " ,and " emotion ". Character refers to the personal impression - the " image " that the speaker creates or projects . Emotion is the speaker's appeal to the passions of his audience . Together , these things may be said to be the source of a speaker's " charisma " in the current sense of that term .
Perhaps the single greatest failure of contemporary orator-politicians from this perspective is their incapacity for political argument . Rarely do politicians try to make their case through any substantive argumentation , let alone by sustained references to political first principles or historical context .
 Two rhetorical settings are generally seen as critical for contemporary leaders , providing opportunities for dramatic political gain but also for  sudden political death .
One is the debate ; the other , what might be called the crisis speech .
Leaders of course cannot do all these things by themselves . As with the other disciplines of statecraft , political communication requires support by a class of professionals .
Today , the press is in the driver's seat .
Should leaders attempt actively to shape the news ? The so-called spinning of reporters - trying to influence their coverage of a story - is a well-known practice that , while not always savory , is sometimes a defensive necessity .
Mastery of the various instruments of statecraft is a formidable undertaking for the aspiring leader , but by itself it is not enough . The leader must also be able to use them in coordination with one on other and in operationally effective fashion . We turn next , therefore , to consider the modalities of leadership decision and action - strategy and planning ; crisis management ; and advice and the decision-making process.
What exactly is a strategy ? , The tendency to use this term as virtually a synonym for the art of war remains strong today .Particularly under modern conditions , however , strategy even in this sense must extend deep into the realm of statecraft generally .
The idea of strategy has at least three basics elements .
 It is a plan of action ;
 it applies means or resources to achieve a certain end ;
 and it presupposes an adversary .
Edward Luttwak has argued that strategy in war has a " paradoxical logic " that is unique to itself because it involves the interaction of adversaries . ""It is certainly salutary to be remainded of what is without doubt the cause of the commonest errors in war - the tendency to neglect what the enemy might do"" . Clausewitz himself thought that war and politics share the same " logic" , if a different " grammar ".
Several lessons emerge from all this for the practice of strategy .
-The first is the importance of a clear vision of the desired objectives or end state.
-Another is the need for a realistic assessment of the adversary and the threat that he poses or might pose under various circumstances .
-A third  is the importance of having a good grasp of one's strengths and weaknesses , as well as a sense of how an adversary might perceive them and try to take advantage of them .
-A fourth is the need to ensure that the objectives of policy can be supported by the means available .
-A final lesson concerns the need to coordinate these means and if necessary shape them so as to better serve the requirements policy .
Strategy is sometimes identified- wrongly- with long-range planning . Strategy is as much a continuous process as it is a fixed plan of action ; it can never escape the need for adjustment to the moves of the adversary or to the shifts in the strategic environment more generally . And strategic action can span relatively short as well as longer periods .
Governmental crises , whether caused by scandal , coalition politics , or unexpected international developments , are always preoccupying events for the leaders of states .
Crises in the relations of states can be equally dramatic and demanding of attention at the highest level of government .
While it would be going too far to say that crises exist only in the eye of the beholder , there is surely an important sense in which it is true . Crises are constituted by the perceptions of political leaders -perceptions of both the objective threat and a more or less subjective set of national and personal values and goals .
For leaders who lack judgment , vision  and nerve , ordinary problems balloon easily into crises , And- a point rarely remarked on - political leaders have both incentives and disincentives to identify situations of crises. Casual talk of crises may make a political leader look weak if not followed by commensurate action . All of this is to suggest that identifying crises properly is a more complex exercise than seems to be generally assumed and , indeed , needs to be viewed as an integral aspect of crisis management itself .
In the political arena , what distinguishes a crisis mode of a policy making is the need for rapid judgment and decision by a nation's political leadership .
Why this need ? For two related reasons ;
 because of the complexity of the issues raised in crises as well as the governmental instrument that handle them ;
 and because of the consensus style of decision making that is the norm in most contemporary democracies                                                                   .
Crisis management so understood - pace McNamara - is a preeminently strategic function .
Leadership engagement in the management of crises points to a more fundamental issue;
 How do or should leaders make decisions generally ?.
Particularly in contemporary democracies ,What exactly is the scope and character of executive decision making , and what is its relationship to legislature or public opinion ? .
To  what extent can leaders be expected to rely on their own knowledge or instincts in making important decisions , and to what extent should they depend on advice , whether personal or institutional ?.
There  are other possible approaches to the exercise of political judgment . One might be called the fatalist or minimalist approach .Leaders taking such an approach might believe that the knowledge necessary for sound political judgment is rarely or never available , or that history is the plaything
of blind forces .( Machiavelli's fortune ) or a providential God and hence that their actions in the end matter little : on any such view , there is no  reason to make decisions that are not absolutely necessary .
Another approach- let us call it iterative consensus formation -also de-emphasizes the role of individuals in decision making relative to institutions or communities .
A third alternative approach may be called simply deliberation .  This bears some similarity to the one just described but puts greater emphasis on the rationality of the process and the importance and possibility of attaining genuine political knowledge   .It is inseparable from political argument or rhetoric ." Deliberation" is the core of political judgment in Aristotelian political science .                             
 We hasten to concede that the status of reasoning or rationality in the decision process remains a precarious one . This is so for two reasons . The first has to do with the decision environment surrounding political leaders ; the second , with the limitation of leaders themselves .
 The decision environment is one of imperfect information and great uncertainty , compounded by personal and institutional pressures of all kinds designed to shape or force policy choices . Advisers ,staffs, and supporting bureaucracies exist in theory to supply the leaders with policy-relevant information and to reduce the uncertainties he confronts .In practice , they compound his problem .
To ensure that competing voices , outside as well as within government , have some access to tha ear of the ruler . Yet this is easier said than done - given the behavioral pathologies of leaders themselves .
Machiavelli offers this sound counsel :
 " There is no other way to guard oneself from flattery unless men understand that they do not offend you in telling you the truth ; but when everyone can tell you the truth , they lack reverence for you . Therefore , a prudent prince must hold to a third mode , choosing wise men in his state ; and only to these should he give freedom to speak the truth to him , and of those things only that he asks about and nothing else . But he should decide by himself , in his own mode     "
"Advisers" ,always tread a thin line between advising and lecturing the ruler : leaders generally have little tolerance for efforts by their staffs to educate them , even where there may be a plain need for it .
All of these helps to explain why leaders sometimes turn their backs on competent advisers and seek substitutes elsewhere .
Perhaps the fundamental lesson of all of this is that at the end of the day there is no  substitute for prudence in political leaders .Without an appropriate intellectual foundation , however  ,even the best advice on particular policy issues is apt to be unappreciated or misapplied . And leaders will be unable to formulate the questions that will elicit what it is they need to know . At the same time, leaders must resist the tendency of power to corrupt the good judgment and moral sense of those wielding it .
Even in the most autocratic of regimes , leaders are rarely able to rule through simple command .In today's democracies, where the powers of leaders are constitutionally circumscribed and subject to constant political challenge , leadership is very much an art of indirect rule .
It is fashionable nowadays , particularly among political scientists , to disparage democratic politicians as wholly driven by public opinion polls and the quest for reelection .According to an extreme version of this idea :" We should not expect democratically elected politicians to be " leaders".
 No one will deny the vital role of public opinion in contemporary democracies .
The fact of the matter is that leaders regularly seek to mold public opinion rather than simply reacting to it . And they do so for good political reasons .What is more , it often makes more political sense for politicians to be more responsive to the concerns of narrow but hard-core constituencies that to the weakly held view of the majority.
There are differing styles of strategies of leadership available to politicians in their efforts to shape the political environment .Let us distinguish three broad varieties ; Bargaining , opinion leadership and what can be called hidden-hand leadership .