Recent events in the Ukraine war have got me thinking about the psychological profile of a leader like Vladimir Putin, and how that makeup is likely to lead social groups into recurring or ongoing conflict.

In political terms we'll call Putin a war hawk - someone who favors war or continuing to escalate an existing conflict as opposed to other solutions. But what I'm more interested in is the psychological profile of leaders like this and how common this type of leader was throughout history?

Particularly, I think of early, violent periods like the Warring States in China, where multiple groups continuously fought for dominance, and I'm wondering if some leaders of that time might have had a similar, violent tendency. And further, if the pattern has occurred throughout our history.

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    I believe your characterization of President Putin is wrong. It is not that he wants war, it is that he sees war as necessary to achieve what he sees as a legitimate national interest. Much of the rest of the world disagrees about the legitimacy.
    – o.m.
    Aug 2 at 17:15
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    This is an interesting question, but not one I think can really be answered as written. How do you psychoanalyze historical leaders, based on the usually small amount of information we have about them? How do you tell the difference hundreds of years later between someone who favors war as a solution from someone who hates war but feels like it's the only possible solution?
    – Bobson
    Aug 2 at 17:48
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    There are times when someone may desire peace but feel (rightfully or wrongly) that they have no other choice but war and that might get them labeled as a war hawk.
    – Joe W
    Aug 2 at 18:14
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    Who is a war hawk and who is not is mostly a matter of opinion. Some people have labelled me as one because I publicly supported Western material support for Ukraine, yet certainly I do not consider myself to be one.
    – SJuan76
    Aug 2 at 20:15
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    'Hard to answer' or 'evidence is hard to find' is not the same thing as 'opinion based'.
    – Cdn_Dev
    Aug 3 at 1:16


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