LEADERSHIP ANALYSIS: World Leaders’ Travel Habits and What They Reveal

What do world leaders' international travel habits reveal about their administrational priorities?What do world leaders' international travel habits reveal about their administrational priorities?

Travel has been integral to man for millennia. It has propelled man as long as man has propelled himself. We spent thousands of years traveling through following hunting patterns, moving (or expanding) due to war and soil fertility. Many of us now dedicate thousands of miles to travelling for work, pleasure and other necessities. Some make moving around a lifestyle, others an exception, and more rarely at all – keeping within small, known radiuses which provide all needed because that is all that is known to be needed by said niche.

According to a 2015 New York Times study, 80% of Americans spend their life within 18 miles of their birthplace. According to the UN Population Division, only 3% of the world population lives beyond their country of origin. While living and traveling are separate species for most, their revelations are symbiotic. What does varying manners of mobility demonstrate in the leaders who govern and “represent” us – domestically and internationally? What do world leaders’ international travel habits reveal about their administrational priorities? Increasing multinational interdependence and overall accessible globalization place representatives under the leadership analysis microscope and how that influences industries more than ever.

US President Donald Trump’s travel preferences – thus far – may shed some light.

Instability vs. the “Homeboy” Effect

Photo (c) Vanity Fair 2015

In Saudi Arabia, Trump demanded to be served steak, ketchup and Coca-Cola…in the well-advised presence of local cuisine. Photo (c) Vanity Fair 2015

Trump’s first major international trip offers valuable leadership analysis travel habits revelations. The nine-day venture throughout Europe and the Middle East comes at a time of domestic political instability where the administration’s leadership style is a frequent topic of debate. In fact, certain world leaders do not leave their country during eras of domestic instability.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has declined attending several international summits due to cross-industry chaos at home. Other leaders less able to predict whether they will have a country upon which to return. Late Libya’s King Idris traveled for a Mediterranean get away only to never return after Lieutenant-Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s 1969 coup. But the US offers a different political scene, or so history has so far dictated.

Therefore, it appears less for destabilization concerns that Trump has tended never to travel far before or during presidency, thus sparking BBC World’s dubbing of “homeboy”. Former Trump advisors report the billionaire’s dislike of staying in non-Trump name locations and like of eating only his type of food on the road. In Saudi Arabia, Trump demanded to be served steak, ketchup and Coca-Cola…in the well-advised presence of local cuisine.

Nationalism & Globalization, Isolationism & Personality Profiles

Photo (c) The Indian Express 2016

Colombian President Santos connected domestic security efforts with global support. Photo (c) The Indian Express 2016

Campaign-trail Trump rationalized that he did not plan to travel internationally frequently because the US is “priority one”. Whether the claim fully addresses the theme may never be known. What does is a fascinating correlation amid nationalism and international travel. Is it able to be correlated? Perhaps it is to Trump.

Numerous other leaders across borders and time think differently.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has travelled extensively in the name of promoting international support in peace negotiations with the country’s largest terrorist group, as well as collaboration in trade agreements that advertise Colombia as a resource-abundant, advancing hotspot prepared to benefit worldwide investors. China’s President Xi Jiping and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin with their foreign affairs team travel frequently also in the name of promoting business ties, particularly with developing countries.

Photo (c) BBC 2016

Pope Francis uses international travel to promote mutual values. Photo (c) BBC 2016

Former Uruguayan President Jose “Pepe” Mujica traveled internationally and frequently also in the name of establishing multi-lateral trade deals, as well as parading a unique imagine of a humble head of state that counterparts of all ideological spectrums found attractive to be associated with.

Last but not least, Pope Francis is famous for international and cross-theological travel, visiting first, second and third world locations indiscriminately as much as among Christian and Muslim populations.

All named politicians advocate nationalism, and utilizing globalization to empower nationalistic advancement.

Case Study: The Traveling Trump: What Does it Teach Us?

Photo (c) Global Research 2017

Does Trump’s personal travel preferences, alleged isolationism tendencies and superiority aura represent increasingly stauncher US foreign policy preferences, isolationism and superiority on the world stage? Photo (c) Global Research 2017

However, open source Trump policies offer multiple messages. While classic 21st century US calls to fight terrorist activities prevail; free trade agreements, travel bans and an alleged decreased openness to reciprocating the visitation of other countries when other leaders visit the US operate meanwhile.

Does Trump’s personal travel preferences, alleged isolationism tendencies and superiority aura represent increasingly stauncher US foreign policy preferences, isolationism and superiority on the world stage?  Are they separate or complementary?

How one influences the other and to what extent will be revealing on how individual personality profiles reflect – or deflect – a nation will be fascinating to observe during this next four years.

About the Author

Ailana Navarez
Ailana Navarez is Pulsamerica’s Editor-in-Chief, Owner, Journalist, Social Media Marketing Manager, and Deputy Editor of International Policy Digest. She has published over 70 international relations-related articles as a political analyst / journalist with a concentration in Latin American leadership analysis, economics, government, history, international relations, narco-trafficking and security. As a photographer, she has covered international summits – including of MERCOSUR and the UN – as well as protests, environmental affairs and political campaigns. She is Harvard University educated in Government and Psychology, and is certified in Competitive Counter Intelligence, Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM), Countering Terrorism & the Asset Threat Spectrum and Concealed Carry. She maintains permanent residency status in Panama, the United States and Uruguay. She speaks English, Rioplatanese Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Hawaiian Creole. She occasionally writes at International Policy Digest and World Press. She has volunteered for environmental, educational and law enforcement entities. She spends her free time on analyzing Latin American news, travel, equitation, MMA, drawing, reading, and keeping in touch with friends and family.