David Cameron: Leader Profile

Today we look at David Cameron, Prime Minister  of The United Kingdom. The United Kingdom (UK) is important to look at because:

  • The UK is inheritor of the great power status held until the 20th Century
  • The UK is a nuclear power
  • The UK holds a seat in the UN Security Council
  • The UK maintains cultural linguistic and legal ties with the other (colonial) inheritors of the British Empire, namely the commonwealth this includes Canada, India, Nigeria, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • UK Elections are scheduled for May 2015

The UK has experienced a steady decline in the power and influence that it can project since the days of the Victorian era. With the union of Europe, American foreign policy, Chinese ascendency, Russian belligerence and Demographic rise of Brazil and India, the UK has less and less to say to its partners as a country. Despite the loss of governmental influence, London’s financial sector never the less holds significant influence on the global financial system and the wealth and commerce that other countries engage in. The english language is still the default lingua franca of business and Britain’s government is active in its pursuit of making the island nation a hub of travel and trade. Britain remains a constitutional monarchy, and the parliament including Mr. Cameron and public sector serve at the nominal pleasure and permission of the crown held by the Windsor family and the reigning Queen Elizabeth II. This arrangement between monarchy and democracy is part of the aesthetic appeal that makes the UK a significant tourist destination despite the absence of either sunny beaches or snowy mountains.

Background of The United Kingdom

The Leader Profile

dcameronName: David William Donald Cameron
Born: October 1966
Religion: Christian Anglicanism
Family: Wife, 4 Children (1 deceased)
Languages: English,

Education:

  1. Heather down School, Berkshire
  2. Eaton College
  3. University of Oxford, Brasenose College (BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics)

Career:

  • 1988-1993 Researcher- Conservative research department
  • 1994-2001 Director of Corporate Affairs – Carlton Communications(PR)
  • 2001- Member of Parliament
  • 2003 -2005 vice chairman of the Conservative Party
  • 2005-2010 Leader of the Opposition
  • 2010- Prime Minister

Extra Curricular:

  • Cycling
  • Travel and holidays
  • Faith
  • Family
  • Bullingdon Club
  • White’s Gentleman’s club
  • Dementia friend

Opponents:

  • Edward Milliband (leader of Labour Party)
  • Nigel Farage (head of UK Independence Party)
  • Zac Goldsmith (Conservative powerbroker)
  • Norman Tebbit (traditional Conservative)

Allies:

  • Lord Ashcroft (Conservative Power Broker)
  • William Hague (Conservative MP)
  • Boris Johnson (Conservative Mayor of London)
  • Rebecca Brooks (former News UK)
  • Jeremy Hunt (Conservative Minister)
  • George Osbourne (Chancellor)
  • Grant Schapps
  • Nick Boles
  • Ed Vaizey
  • Patrick McLoughlin
  • Michael Gove
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg
  • Nick Clegg (Liberal democrat leader)
  • Ed Llewelyn
  • Steve Hilton

David_Cameron_portrait_2013Prime Minister Cameron describes himself as “a modern compassionate conservative”. He does not see himself as a deeply ideological person. Perhaps a significant indicator of Cameron’s ideological ambivalence is the failure to launch of the UK austerity programme of 2009 which took a back seat to gain political popularity and electability. David Cameron often references political polling and “what the people think” rather thank his own convictions. He expresses economically liberal and social conservative values but has liberal views on  sexuality and personal freedom. After the 2010 election, David Cameron was forced into an alliance with the Liberal Democrats lead by Nick Clegg. This coalition was smoother than anticipated perhaps because of the common liberal values shared by the leaders and main body of the parties.

Analysing David Cameron proves difficult because he is a very scripted person. This is an interesting sign in itself. Most of his speeches are written by professional speechwriters and he will always be seen, peering down at his script. British politics is now a notoriously stage managed affair and interviewers show some indicators that there are media handlers hovering nearby. British politicians also have a very fractious relationship with the British press and despite the stage management and soundbite culture, Cameron and other politicians show visible signs of strain when being interviewed. A lot of Cameron’s “tells” are sometimes in reference to the interviewer rather than the topic. Cameron is very media savvy. He spent his political career as a speechwriter/special advisor and non-political career as a director at a media company. He also has special relationships with media owners and people within the media sector.

David Cameron studied and emulates the successful gesticulations of Tony Blair the Centre-Left Prime Minister who lead Britain in the ’90s and early 2000s. Cameron has expressed admiration for the man and many of his speeches echo the former leaders mannerisms and talking points. David’s grooming for leadership used Tony’s template but pushing more Conservative values. In a way, the Conservative Party used Cameron as a “blank slate politician”, to push “Modern Conservatism” in the same way the Labour Party used “New Labour” under Blair. Unlike Blair, however, Cameron does not exude raw charisma and is much less likely to act in an executive manner without the full support of his inner circle. Blair, Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are typical of the European trend of young leaders.

In interviews and speeches, David Cameron exhibits the follow traits: David will usually have water near by and sip it more often than other political leaders. This could indicate the dry mouth of an extravert or using this action as a ploy to gather his thoughts while remaining active. Cameron will often lean on his left elbow which will come across as aversion when being addressed from the right side. Cameron does not exhibit engagement mirroring with interviewers of other leaders and his body gives very little away except when he is deliberately trying to convey an emotion or point. In fact Cameron tries to keep his body very still, adopting a pre-scripted power pose such as legs splayed (when standing) or foot forward (when at a podium). Cameron usually sits with feet straight down and fingers interwoven. The interwoven fingers suggests anxiety which ties into his role as a performer and his emotive quotes about heartbreak and depression. Cameron will use a chopping motion with his hands to underline his points. This motion is to indicate definitive thought with little room for compromise. Perhaps like many British politicians, Cameron cycles through pre-formulated talking points. Because communication is tightly controlled by himself and his handlers Cameron can become flustered if taken “off script”. Cameron is not a spontaneous speaker in the political arena. He has illustrated in interviews where he will still be thinking about and answering previous questions. This lack of spontaneity is because he is a meticulous planner. It also explains why he would not be keen on public forum debates. In March 2015 he rejected pressure to have a debate where it would be just between himself and the leader of the opposition but made a counterproposal of having a 7 party freeform all debate.

Myers BriggsDavid+Cameron+Campaign+Trail+London+_hErurZHF5yl

David Cameron presents as an Extraverted Sensing Thinker who tends to use Judgment to plan his activities and make decisions early. He derives control through maintaining institutions extensive planning and predictability. This would make him an ESTJ.

If this is the case then David Cameron is a logical, earnest traditionalist who enjoys order and regulation. He is a serious individual who is thorough and dependable. David Cameron is a joiner. He seeks out like-minded companions in politics, charities, civic groups, church and other service organizations. This is Illustrated by his years at the Bullingdon and White’s organisations and his creation of the EU Party (European Conservatives and Reformists) He has a great need for belonging and is reluctant to “go it alone”. David Cameron’s family is a central focus highlighting his wife and children is a genuine reliance on his family.

Tradition is important to the David. He is very proud of his family heritage which goes back to honored ancestors. He is quick to point out his Regal (William IV) Jewish, German, Welsh, English and Scottish ancestry. This gives him  a sense of family respectability and a sense of security and belonging.

Prime Minister Cameron has an acute sense for conservative values. Much of his evaluation of situations reflects their strong sense of what is “normal” and what isn’t. Cameron will use words like “nuts” when dealing with people who’s behaviour is completely off base to what he sees as normal. 

Cameron has a strong work ethic. He is used to working between 12 and 20 hours a day in his role as researcher and dedicates himself to doing the job. He believes that power, position and prestige should be worked for and earned. 

Family

David Cameron is very family focused. These are conservative values which he personally espouses. Cameron has brought his family into the limelight as much as possible and sometimes in a way is not very flattering to him personally. There is an example of him leaving his child at a pub in 2012 His attitude towards family units extends to the Tory stance on gay civil unions which he championed. He also created tax breaks to incentivise marriage. Many of Cameron’s speeches are about putting family first.

“For me, nothing matters more than family. It’s at the centre of my life and the heart of my politics.”

“Here the picture is bleak: family breakdown, drugs, crime and incivility are part of the normal experience of modern Britain.”

“Asian families and communities are incredibly strong and cohesive, and have a sense of civic responsibility which puts the rest of us to shame.”

“I ask myself the question, why is it that we deny gay couples the ability to get married, and I don’t think that’s right.”

European Union

David Cameron has had a fractious relationship with the European Union. Early in his career he was against “Banging on about Europe” and he is very much for maintaining a strategic union with the rest of Europe. Cameron was part of the team that announced that the UK had been forced to withdraw from the European Exchange rate mechanism. Cameron’s line has hardened with the German lead EU especially with Conservatives and right wing parties at home becoming increasingly Eurosceptic. Cameron has no desire for a British exit of the European Union but he is preoccupied with renegotiating the terms of the relationship. Cameron and preceding prime ministers will have to come to terms of the loss of influence in Europe. At the same time Cameron is trying to claw back powers and relieve itself of the burdens of supporting the weaker economies in the EU. Under Cameron, Britain has often disagreed with decisions on leadership, economy, resources and trade. Cameron envisions Britain having a special status within the Union which benefits businesses and special interests. He would like to see flexibility and autonomy and less central planning. Cameron plans to lose the in-out referendum. At the same time he hopes it is enough of a threat to give him more bargaining power.

“Well I don’t think that the right answer is for Britain to leave the EU. I think the right answer is for EU reform and then a referendum.”

“Britain is at the heart of that Single Market, and must remain so.”

“I know that the United Kingdom is sometimes seen as an argumentative and rather strong-minded member of the family of European nations. And it’s true that our geography has shaped our psychology.”

“Britain is going to work with intensity and with grit to reform the EU day in day out over the next few years until we achieve it.”

“The Council nominated to vote Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission. Britain and Hungary opposed.”

Russia

Russia is a cause concerned for David Cameron. In the early 20th century the UK ensured that it developed and maintained a credible nuclear deterrent against a Soviet attack which never came and the UK still maintains trident carrying submarines in order to face Russia in a nuclear war. The United Kingdom also spends 2% of its GDP maintaining it’s military in case conflict was to occur. Despite the UK’s loss of power and influence Cameron maintains that the UK remain a credible counter to Russia, calling on the United States, NATO, G8 and its other leadership positions in international organisations to reinforce his position. While Germany and France attempt to lead diplomatically, Cameron is happy to use military aid and economic sanctions against Russia. This indicates more of the United Kingdom’s traditional stance than Cameron’s own innate convictions. While he leads the United Kingdom in its abhorrence of Russia’s actions in Crimea and support for the separatists, he is not overly preoccupied with international posturing. Before the Ukrainian crisis, Cameron maintained a formal but constructive relationship with the Russian Presidents, both Dimitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin. Instinctually Cameron will tighten the screws of commerce rather than turn to posturing and diplomacy. Russia’s actions have caused great losses of opportunity for British manufacturers and trade.

“And there is rightly anger that a conflict that could have been curtailed by Moscow has instead been fomented by Moscow.”

“First, there has been a clear message sent out from this conference to Russia that what President Putin is doing is indefensible and wrong.”

“Britain is one of only four countries that currently spends 2% of its GDP on defence.”

“This European Council sent a clear and united message to Russia that its actions are in flagrant breach of international law and will incur consequences.”

“President Putin must recognise the legitimate election of President Poroshenko. He must stop arms crossing the border into Ukraine. He must cease Russian support for separatist groups. And third, if these things don’t happen, then sectoral sanctions will follow. The next month will be vital in judging if President Putin has taken these steps, and that is what I will urge President Putin to do when I meet him later today.”

“I very much agree that Britain and Russia have very strong business-to-business relationships; we have very strong people-to-people relationships.  In terms of the government relationship, it’s not been frozen.  President Medvedev and I have had very good meetings over the last year.”

United States

David CameronThe United Kingdom has lost its status of “special relationship” with the United States enjoyed during the 20th Century. Never the less, Cameron uses historical inclusive language emphasises shared language, culture, history and military victories. Cameron  aims to use this relationship as an economic tool but also as a way of increasing relevance and influence in Europe and globally. Dave feels and attempts to portray being “old fashioned” when speaking in the United States and tries to come across as a very approachable person rather than a head of state. Mr Cameron is group oriented and will commit to doing his “part” against ISIS, Russia, Syria and other common threats.

” Like my predecessors, I’m proud of our essential relationship and of Britain’s strong national bond with the United States of America.  I feel it in my bones.”

” America got bin Laden, and together with British and coalition forces, America has fundamentally weakened al-Qaeda.”

“And as fellow leaders, we’ve struck up, I believe, a really good partnership.  It is frank and honest.  We talk through issues very rationally.  We don’t need to remind each other of the basic threats that we face, we know them.”

“So, I am a little embarrassed as I stand here, to think that 200 years ago my ancestors tried to burn this place down.”

NHS

The National Health Service is an institution that a majority of people in the UK is especially proud of. This concept of socialised healthcare is not something that naturally sits within the Conservative ideology. Never the less, free healthcare especially for voting pensioners is a “sacred cow” that Cameron is keen to show reverence to. Despite many overtures to preserving the NHS, the Conservative party has implemented swingeing cuts to the service in order to balance the budget. Cameron has attempted to sell off parts of the NHS including the NHS database to recover the 6.5-6.2% of GDP that it costs the United Kingdom.

“A national asset in the NHS.”

“Compared with 2010, there are over 5,000 more doctors working in our NHS, and there are 6,500 fewer managers.”

“We need to change the NHS to make it work better today.”

“And ours is the first health service in the world where we have introduced a legal duty to promote research.”

“The UK is going to be the world leader when it comes to making this kind of data available and we’re going to do this by harnessing the incredible data collected by our National Health Service.”

“We’re wasting too much money on empty bureaucracy when it could be spent on the frontline.”

“But let me also be clear, no: we will not be selling off the NHS, we will not be moving towards an insurance scheme, we will not introduce an American-style private system.”

“So, for me, it is not just a question of saying the NHS is safe in my hands – of course it will be. My family is so often in the hands of the NHS, so I want them to be safe there.”

David Cameron is a modern traditionalist and a liberal conservative. He wants to be a locally oriented world leader and inside Europe but outside of it’s bureaucracies. He heads the UK which is a democratic constitutional monarchy and a kingdom that is united and strong and yet devolving and diminishing. Cameron will spend an inordinate amount of time squaring all of these circles along with the dichotomy of being an ordinary family guy in an extraordinary position of power. He is a team player, relying on personal relationships and his is an extensive planner, relying on scripted actions and responses. Throughout his leadership he will continue to balance conflicting forces and maintain his public relations face as leader of the Conservative Party and United Kingdom.

References:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/david-cameron-on-families

Similarities to Blair, PR

David Letterman
Conference British chamber commerce
Channel 4 debates
Easy interview with ITV
With Nick Clegg
CBS
BBC1
Conservative Party conference
BBC riots and moral relativism
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King Abdullah II of Jordan: Leader Profile

Today we look at King Abdullah II of Jordan. Jordan is important to look at because:

  • Jordan is seen as a significant US partner in the Middle East
  • Jordan is Israel’s eastern neighbour
  • Jordan currently houses millions of refugees from Syria, Iraq and the Palestinian/Israeli territories
  • Jordan doesn’t have oil
  • Jordan is involved in the coalition against Islamic State
  • Jordan assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2014-15 term

King Abdullah II

Jordan  is a country that could easily be forgotten among the squabbling of Sunni, Shiite, Persians, Arabs, Jews and Muslims, however the country of 7 million manages to find itself in the news and corridors of power far more than counties many times larger and richer. Jordan has been noted as a significant ally of the United States, playing significant roles in modernising, liberalising, intelligence gathering, war fighting and deal brokering. This is due to the actions of the royal family which takes a very active and public role in shaping, not only the fate of the bedouin tribes and former refugees that live in Jordan, but of the wider Middle East.

Background of Jordan

The Leader Profile

  • Name: Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein
  • Born: January 1962
  • Religion: Islam
  • Family: Wife, 4 Children
  • Languages: Arabic, English,

Education:

  • Islamic Educational College, Amman, Jordan
  • St Edmunds, Surrey England
  • Eaglebrook School MA, USA
  • Deerfield Academy MA, USA
  • Sandhurst, UK
  • Pembroke College
  • Georgetown University

Career:

  • 1980- Second Lieutenant in British Army
  • 1986- Captain in Jordanian Army
  • 1998-Major General Jordan special forces
  • 1999- King of Jordan

Extra Curricular:

  • Football (Soccer)
  • Skydiving
  • Scuba diving
  • Boating
  • Cars and motorcycles
  • Rally racing
  • Scifi (Startrek)
  • Film and cinema
  • Military Artefacts

Opponents:

  • Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Bashar Al Assad
  • Toujan al-Faisal
  • Human Rights Groups

Allies:

  • Barak Obama
  • Sabah al-Sabah (Kuwait)
  • Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani(Qatar)
  • Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Abu Dhabi)
  • Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi
  • Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Dubai)
  • Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi (Fujairah)
  • Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi (Ras al Khaimah)
  • Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi (Sharjah)
  • Saud bin Rashid Al Mu’alla (Umm al-Quwain)
  • Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (Bahrain)

King Abdullah II

King Abdullah describes himself as “a man of action”. His military achievements and vibrant extra curricular activities confirm this. He is described as suave, erudite and charming; a man who acts, speaks and carries himself like royalty. When his father, King Hussein ruled Jordan, the then king was very concerned about naming a more statesman like ruler as his successor, but Abdullah was selected in 1999 because it may have been deemed that a military mind was still needed in a very demanding security environment. From a very young age, Abdullah and his younger brother wanted to be like their father, Hussein. They got involved in the military and became very hands on and tactile in their youth and adolescence. They insisted on military training from a very young age and Abdullah has had a military career his whole life. He has been very hands on in his running of the state as well, donning disguises to “walk among the people”. He told CNN reporters in 2000 that, “The greatest fear I have, as time goes on, you can very easily become isolated”.

King Abdullah speaks in simple and clear English language and actively mirrors people that he is speaking to using visual cues such as nodding of the head to encourage their speech. He has a squint, which may be irritation from his contact lenses. His vocal pace, tone and body gesticulations indicate his western education and military training. He presents a restrained and confident range of body movements with his hands usually within the frame of his body. King Abdullah is not tall. He stands a quite a few centimetres shorter than Prince Charles of the UK who is himself about 176 cm (5 foot 10 inches). When sitting, his feet tend to only just touch the ground. He is, however, large and well built. His military training and active lifestyle would make him a significant physical presence.

King Abdullah sits in a very rigid way. His hands tends to be folded in from of him left over right or at his thighs in a very military way. Both feet are usually completely flat to the ground and he displays very restrained movements. Many of his speech patterns; “Have a go”, “bloody” are quintessentially British in their origin. His mother was English and from the military, the daughter of a British serviceman and his father was educated and trained in the UK  so Military and English mannerisms permeate his psychology.

King Abdullah experimented with a moustache in his role as king. This was very reminiscent of the moustache that his father wore as king.

King Abdullah and old King Hussain

King Abdullah and old King Hussain

Despite his “man of the people” image, King Abdullah is almost an Englishman among his Hashemite, Jordanian and Palestinian subjects. His mannerisms and Arabic are imperfect and always contain a certain formality that doesn’t fit with the local chieftains. King Abdullah uses a lot of religious references in his language. While this is very traditional, he has very modern or liberal values especially in regards to the role of women. His wife is an ultra modern Palestinian lady with a very active role in advocacy, and empowerment. She is rarely seen with traditional Islamic hijab.

 

Myers Briggs

King Abdullah presents as an Extraverted Sensing Thinker who tends to use Judgment to plan their activities and make decisions early. He derives control through building institutions and maintaining predictability. This would Make him an ESTJ.

If this is the case then King Abdullah is a logical, earnest traditionalist who enjoys order and regulation. He is a serious individual who is thorough and dependable. He is extraverted in his sensing, seeing situations and reacting to them quickly and vigorously. Tradition and symbolism plays a great part in King Abdullah’s mind, as he works on concrete steps to fulfill visions of the future. He will be exceedingly polite and accommodating, pushing himself to fulfill needs before asking for assistance. King Abdullah, like his father before him values personal connections and friendships. King Hussein became a firm friend of President Clinton and Similarly, King Abdullah has formed a close personal friendship with President Obama. He is a realistic, matter-of –fact leader who will tell it like it is and is exceedingly competent at statecraft and the art of war. He is a strong believer in rules and procedures ad still carries a lot of psychological artifacts from his boarding school and military life. As a defender of the status quo, he is in no hurry to oppose American hegemony, or the institutions of monarchy. He is action oriented and can sometimes forget to consider the niceties of international diplomacy.

Themes and Quotes:

Israel and Palestine

Jordan is the rarely mentioned third party in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinians. Throughout the history of these areas, Jordan has battled with both the Israeli military and the PLO and has had tense relations with other neighbours.

King Abdullah’s father achieved an historic settlement with Israel in 1994 recognising the state of Israel and formalising relations with their neigbour. Along with Bill Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, King Hussein had made significant progress towards brining peace to the long disputed area between the Mediterranean sea and Iraq. Since that time, the inheritors of this significant peace accord have been unable to turn this into a permanent and peaceful resolution for the Israeli and Palestinian people.

King Abdullah firmly believes that the resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict will lead to peace in the middle east.

“We need leaders with courage to take the tough decisions”

“The core reason for instability in the region is the Israeli Palestinian problem.”

“We need the undivided attention on the United States (to fix the problem)”

“Jordan doesn’t want the West Bank.”

“The only credible, viable solution is the two state solution”

“The challenge is to reach the Israeli people”

“It is the injustice felt towards the Palestinian people that allow other state and non state actors to take the role of being defenders of the Palestinian People”.

Syria

The crisis in Syria has lead to over 1.4 million refugees and displaced people. This adds to the displaced Iraqis and displaced Palestinians that have been welcomed into the Arab state. Jordan is used to nomadic and refugee populations and has granted education, rights and even citizenship to the populations that it hosts. King Abdullah was quick to distance himself even more from Bashar Al Assad, at first pleading with him to be reach out to his people and then joining in calls for a regime change. Jordan will not take part in any military action in Syria.

“I think Bashar needs to reach out.”(2012)

“Keep as close to the people as possible” (this is what King Abdullah learned from his father)

“If I was him, I would leave office.”

“There is no coming back from the abyss [of civil war].”

“This is the last chance that they have [to leave].”

ISIS 

In 2012: “there are pockets of Al-qaida like elements in Syria.”

“Truly a global fight against terrorism.”

‘The reaction to ISIS has got to be quick…and we have not been quick.”

“They are cross border in Syria and Iraq.”

“Baghdadi (ISIS leader) is a heretic.”

“I was always against the de-baathification…I said it would create tremendous instability in the country”

“We have let down the Iraqis”

US relations

Abdullah has a strong and personal relationship with Barak Obama. This is highly reminiscent of King Hussein’s relationship with Bill Clinton. He has gone as far as to removed his tie to mirror and complement Obama, who was not in a tie during a press conference. An interesting limiter on the relationship with the US is the relationship with Vladimir Putin. Abdullah continues to maintain a close friendship with the Russian President and may quote him on occasion.

“The US and Jordan are on the same page.”

“I’m always impressed with how [Obama] looks at things”

“We have a personal relationship”

“I tend to be more on the aggressive side”

“[Obama] tend to be the sensible one.”

“We have tremendous chemistry.”

“I’m very comfortable with the relationship that we have.”

Democracy

Abdullah has no motive to make his Country into a democracy. He understands what sounds to make, speaking of “fairness” and “equality” but despite there being some sort of elections, there is no significant power outside of the throne. Abdullah embraces and seeks modernity but his cultural, royal and military background would have imbued him with a strong instinct against devolving power. Many Western commentators consider him to be a benign dictator and much less of an issue than the other regional monarchs and strong-men. In Jordanian society, tribal affiliation and the bedouin culture still permeates strongly. Even if Abdullah was to drive his country towards democracy, it would literally remain a foreign concept to the people living there.

“[Al-Sisi] is bringing strength to his country, he is bringing stability to his country.”

“the Hashemite throne, and perhaps Jordan itself, will not survive the coming decades if he does not move his country briskly toward modernity”

King Abdullah II is as much an inheritor of TE Lawrence as he is his father and grandfather. His country is the ear to the ground and regional force that the West can depend on. Jordan is resource poor, compared to its neighbours and as such has to rely on relationships rather than resources for creating value. This is the reason why Jordan was a willing member of the attack on Israel in 1948 and then decades later the second country to accept it’s neighbours legitimacy. The country and its leaders need friends more than it needs enemies. This may also have why King Hussain initially considered a statesman as his heir rather than his military son. Abdullah has none the less sought out and secured powerful alliances with the United States and the Emirates, forming coalitions with them against agreed threats. Abdullah has also maintained relations with Israel and with Saudi Arabia while at the same time leaving room for Iraqi and Iranian relationships. King Abdullah II seems to be a collector of titles and awards from foreign countries furthering the evidence of his affinity for political networking.

Jordan’s leader is perpetually punching above his weight militarily and politically to remain relevant and recognised as a constructive partner in the Middle East. In the past the kings of Jordan have switched alliances whenever it suited them and this will be true for Abdullah II. Conversely, Abdullah is keen to maintain relationships with everyone. This means that Russia, China, Syria, Iraq and Iran will find approaching the King to be easier than other world leaders. Cracks will show when Abdullah has to make a hard choice between “friends” with equal benefits. King Abdullah’s media image is carefully crafted. He likes the camera and has even been an extra in an episode of Star Trek.

 

References:

CIA World Fact Book

Fitch Ratings Agency

World Bank

NATO

SIPRI

WTO

Media:

ABC interview

February 2014 Bilateral talks at White House

Reaction to death of Pilot 2015

CBS and ISIS

Davos 2010