The term statesman is a respectful term used to refer to diplomats, politicians, and other notable figures of state. It is often used in the context of international or foreign affairs, for example, "a meeting of statesmen." Foreign ministers are often called statesmen, for example, while more local level officials, such as mayors are not.
Whether or not an individual actually is a statesman, is generally a matter of opinion, although in some cases there is little controversy. Politicians who are regarded as statesmen are usually old and popular, with long distinguished careers.
Generally, 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.
Churchill implies that perhaps Asquith was simply fortunate in succeeding as long as he did in peacetime without developing the flexibility of judgment and humility in the face of the ever-changing currents in human affairs that are required for success as a statesman, and perhaps especially as a modern democratic statesman (83).
On the one hand, even the highest and most natural statesmanship (Lawrence’s) is dependent for education in its own virtues on the very regime that it would govern from an independent standpoint and in a seemingly self-sufficient way.
His views on the character of democratic statesmanship and its precarious practical possibilities confirm his famous dictum that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all others that are tried from time to time.
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".
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