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Charlie Wilsons War Presidential Model

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Charlie Wilson's War

On Christmas Eve in 1979, the Soviet Union responded to requests by their allies of the Afghan government to attacks being carried out by the Mujahideen because of their disliking of the new alliance and government Afghanistan had formed.1 However, these "holy fighters" were both ill trained and ill prepared. They were powerless against one of, if the the most, powerful nation at the time. Yet, there was one man in a country over 7,000 miles away who knew that supporting and supplying these self proclaimed freedom fighters would be the solution to the issue.2 The man was Charles Wilson, a Democratic United States Representative from the 2nd Congressional district of Texas. Wilson is best known for leading Congress into supporting Operation Cyclone, the largest- ever CIA covert operation, which under the Reagan administration supplied military equipment including anti aircraft weapons such as Stinger antiaircraft missiles to the Mujahideen.3 By forging an alliance with other Middle Eastern countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, Wilson was able to smuggle in weapons that were powerful enough to help the rebels fight off their imposing enemies. Although he was not a president in any way, Charles Wilson's character in Charlie Wilson's War (played by Tom Hanks), most fits into the active-positive character as described by James Barber in his book "Presidential Character.

In James Barber's book, Presidential Character, he starts off by discussing how important it is to understand how a president acts and that it could help dictate how his presidency will occur. Because the Founding Fathers did not establish a very close ended definition of what a president should be like and only based it off of what Washington would use as tradition, Barber's model and book serve as a very important way to understand such things. Barber states that personality is an important shaper of behavior on nontrivial matters4. The Barber model is used to also predict how a president will act if he fits in on a certain criteria. There are two main baselines used in order to help decide what kind of feelings or tendencies a president or person with an arbitrary amount of power might have. The first of these baselines is activity-passivity. Which asks the question How much energy does the man invest in his presidency? While some spent all day working and only went to rest when the sun was down, others slept long hours and even took midday naps. In between the presidents array themselves on the high or low side of the activity line. The second determining baseline is positive-negative affect toward one's activity-- that is, how he feels about what he does. Relatively speaking, does he seem to experience his political life as happy or sad, enjoyable or discouraging, positive or negative in its main effect.5

When combining these two baselines together into different models, you will end up with two, separate, and distinct models to which you can categorize your character. The first is the active-positive, where there is a consistency between the activities they do and how much they enjoy doing them. They generally have a high sense of self- esteem and are quite successful in relating to their environment. They are also motivated to get the job done because they are hard workers and take their jobs seriously. The second model is the active-negative, these characters use power as a means to self- realization; the character spends a large amount of energy on a task but gains little to no happiness from it. They are too preoccupied with whether or not they are doing it correctly or not, they have a low self esteem, they are highly driven but have a problem managing their aggression. The third is passive positive, or compliant. These characters seek to be loved,



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