In the international system, the state is considered as the most fundamental unit of governance. The realist argues that the state has the ability to make its own decision regarding the international system. As much as this concept might be true, the fact remains that the state today is faced with the challenge of balancing both domestic and international politics. This is because the world today has become interconnected such that there is no single nation that can operate on its own. Therefore, it is important to look at how leaders influence in shaping national institutions that have both domestic and international responsibilities. Looking at states as unitary actors, one cannot help noting that the state is a complex structure. Before any decision is achieved, especially in democracies, it has to through a series of institutions. For example, national decisions in the United States have to go through Congress and the presidency before being approved for public dispatch and implementation. It is at this juncture that leaders come in. National decision is made up of leaders whose decisions are shaped by their own interests, ambitions, public pressure, and partisan politics. This essay intends to explain how much leaders have in shaping national institution. This paper also aims at looking at how this influence differs by regime type.
One thing that is important to note is that though leaders come from different political parties in democracy, the decisions that they help to reach have an impact to the polity that they represent. Therefore, there are standards that leaders have to meet in order to be considered s national leaders. Leaders whose decisions are aimed at fulfilling partisan interests at the expense of the state at large should not be concerned as focused officials. Leaders are elected by the people with the hope that they are going to address the problems facing their electorate.
This power that they are given by the people to represent them is known as a social contract. If leaders yield to the people’s need they are most likely to be elected in future elections in that people would like to have leaders that exercise accountability to represent them. However, it is important to understand that national institutions have a political culture. In some cases, certain parties within national institutions like the Congress or the Senate tend to vote in a given way pertain to a certain issue. This partisan culture has been around for a while and therefore the failure of a leader to work towards following the normalcy of their sponsoring parties may put them at logger heads with their party leaders. Therefore, the extent to which leaders are able to influence national institutions depends on the ability to be able to balance between partisan politics and inclusive politicking (Lijphart 171). In the case of an authoritarian regime the ability of leaders to influence national institutions depends on their ability to balance their politicking between their loyalty to the monarchy and the interest and needs of the population that they govern.
The second way in which leaders are able to influence national institutions is through their ability to maneuver between the arts of politics. The politicking process has two faces. There are those who argue for what they believe to be moral and ethical to the populations that they represent. This kind of politicking is known as moral politicking. On the other hand, there are leaders who believe that politics should be addressed in its real reality without caring whether the circumstances that they are addressing are either ethical or not. This kind of politicking is known as real politics. In a situation where a national institution is dominated by leaders who value moral politicking, most of the decisions that are reached by such national institutions tend to have an ethical inclination to their approval or dismissal. On the other hand, national institutions that are dominated by political leaders who have a value for real politics mainly address issues without bringing issues of ethical in the context. Though the electorate in most cases considers morality as an important characteristic in electing leaders to power, the fact remains that that it is not all issues that need to be approached using a moral framework. In such a political topography, leaders who can be able to excellently both extremes are likely to gain more influence in national institutions. This phenomena works in both in democracies and in authoritarian regimes
The third important way in which leader influences national institutions is their ability to strongly condemn actions of impunity and corruption. The success of national institutions in being able to address vices facing the society like cases of corruption depends on the efforts of elected leaders (Mann 58). Leaders act as a channel of communication between the general public and national institutions. Therefore, when leaders fail to act in case actions of impunity arise, they continue to encourage more actions of corruption to dominated national institutions. Therefore, the ability of leaders to timely address cases of corruption in national institutions influences national institutions to become more transparent and accountable in their operations.
Fourth, it is important to note that citizens elect leaders to power on act on their behalf. This is framework that is applicable in any political framework whether it is democratic or authoritarian regime. However, it is in some cases the leaders that are elected into power are not capable in terms of performance. However, they are always able to get back to power through mobilizing the public using methods like bribery. This is usually the case in most authoritarian regimes. Leaders are able to attain power on the bases of the material wealth. Therefore, wealth and not capability turn out to be the key element that governs leadership. In this case, the performance of national institutions is determined by the quality of leaders that are elected to power. In the an authoritarian regime whose leadership is based on wealth, it is more likely that national institutions will not work towards dealing with the problems surrounding the general public but work to the best interest of the people in power (Ertman 221).This accounts for the reason why motions to increase salaries has been brought in the parliaments of some countries. This is an indication that such leaders are not interested in using national capital to improve the lives of the general public but aim at using the funds to personally enrich them. This is a characteristic that is more evident in countries that have authoritarian regimes or those that have unstable democracies.
The fifth important way in which leaders are able to influence national institution is though their support of national institutions. It is through leaders that the general public can develop a positive or negative impression about national institutions. Therefore, leaders who oppose the decisions that are reached by nation institutions paint a negative picture to the general public with regards to gave institutions. The ability of the public to be supportive of national institutions depends on the effort of the leaders to assure their electorate about the capacity on national institutions to meet the needs their needs.
In conclusion, leaders in both a democracy and in authoritarian regimes play a great role in influencing national institutions. First of all, leaders determine whether performance with national institutions depends on the ability of national leaders to balance between partisan and all-inclusive politics. The second way in which leaders influence national institutions is through their ability to balance between real politicking and moral politicking. Leaders with the ability to shift effectively through the morality spectrum allows national institutions to be able to make decisions that do not inclined to one side of the public sphere.
The third important way in which leaders are able to influence national institutions is through their ability to be able to combat corruption and impunity within the national institutions, therefore, the transparency of these institutions deeps on the effort of leaders both in a democratic and authoritarian regime. Fourth, leaders who have a low ability to perform their tasks set a lower bar for the performance of national institutions. Finally, since leaders are a bridge between the public and national institutions, their portrayal of national institutions to the general public determines the success of national institutions. This is because public confidence in national institutions depends on leaders.
Ertman, Thomas. Birth of the Leviathan: Building States and Regimes in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Print.
Lijphart, Arend. Patterns of democracy: government forms and performance in Thirty Six Countries. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1999. Print.
Mann, Michael. Fascists. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.