Is Recep Tayyip Erdogan a hard-headed fundamentalist? Sure. But he seems to have a bigger problem which may eventually sap his power. A few years ago I wrote a paper on perhaps the central paradox of politics – but also in big business or the military . To rise to the top, “leaders” need to have very, very thick skin and unflagging determination; and, since good judgment requires apt affective response, such callousness often undermines their capacity for effective decision-making in crisis situations. This is what the Turkish prime minister had to say following the recent mining disaster: “These are ordinary things. There is a thing in literature called ‘work accident' ... It happens in other workplaces, too. Explosions like this in these mines happen all the time. It's not like these don't happen elsewhere in the world.” What kind of person can say this, really?