I think that there is more than just an influence. While some countries have a messianic relationship with their leaders, they are, in simple terms, as flawed as any men. In that sense, they're not exempted from influence, ego and convictions.
Actually, they are the results of such elements - don't democracies have the leaders they deserve? In such political context, leaders should, by definition, represent and embody the people who chose him/her to be their country's representative.
Hence, one may wonder what does the "people" (as an entity) represent ?
- Do nations consist of the intemporal addition of cultures and histories related to a specific territory ?
- Does the "people" bear in its heart, the culture and the history of the nation?
In that case, it is only natural that the leader, represents all of that and must act accordingly.
Foreign policy can be seen as a creation of human agency because it is statemen in their position of leader who take the strategy for states. Harold and Margaret Sprout analyzed foreign policy in two distinct environments with “operational environment” where the decision are objective founded on rational argument and “ psychological environment “ which depends on the subjective arguments of decision makers. For Richard Snyder it will be wrong to believe that decision making is only rational and established on states strategy distinct from human influence.
To understand the composition of psychological environment it is essential to understand the role of perception on decision makers. Many scholars in cognitive psychology have demonstrated that human want simplicity than complexity (poor estimators). It is not possible to underestimate this natural psychology of human influence on foreign policy because his analysis is limited in a biological framework. Leaders of foreign policy have their own interpretation and analysis of history which depends on their childhood, culture, studies , relationship.
Leon Festinger developed the concept of cognitive dissonance which means the ability for a decision makers to exclude contradictory or new arguments which questioning their belief. For Alexander George international environment is composed of decision makers which think that their “operational code” which is a set of rules and perception must be the only good answer for any foreign policy issues.
The role of personality has a strong influence on decision makers for instance a decision maker will not have the same political strategy if he is young or old. According to some scholars, leaders who are motivated by the pursuit of power have a bigger ability for confrontational foreign policy. It is the same for leader who have a lower conceptual complexity.