Statesman

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Statesman is a respectful term used to refer to politicians, and other notable figures of state. It is often used in the context of national and international/foreign affairs, for example, "a meeting of statesmen."

Whether or not an individual actually is a statesman, is generally a matter of opinion, although in some cases there is little controversy. Politicians and civil servants who are regarded as statesmen are usually old and revered, with long distinguished careers.

One can use the word as an euphemism for politician. When a politician retires, he is often referred to as a "respected elder statesman" by his supporters.

"Statesmanship" is often used as a term of praise for someone in a position of power who deliberately avoids a short term political gain for them or their own party, choosing instead to take an alternative course of action for the benefit of their nation as a whole. For example if the leader of a government passed a very unpopular law which cost their party the next election but was later widely acknowledged to be the correct course of action for the country, this would eventually be seen as an act of great statesmanship, and such a leader could be described as "statesmanlike".

Many peace processes in various troubled regions around the world have been made possible because the leaders of the factions involved have been willing to show this kind of statesmanship, by giving up their own territory, power or weapons for the sake of promoting peace. Equally, many peace processes disintegrate because the leaders involved are unwilling or unable to risk their popularity among their own supporters through such sacrifices. These kinds of leaders could be described as "unstatesmanlike".

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Statesman

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