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When a leader creates or empowers a grassroot group to do their bidding, especially in cases where it would be illegal for leading direct efforts (e.g. Bush Doctrine of preemptive regime change) or where it would be consider imperialist, etc.. This type of support and empowerment can be mutually beneficial for the leader and the grassroot group. However, it can be to the detriment to one or the other (or both) if there is a separation of interests. As the grassroot group develops leadership roles the new leaders may take the group in a very different direction that is beneficial to the grassroot group, or the empowerer may begin to choose or control the leaders and take it in a very different direction. In the early stages the new leaders in the grassroot groups may be weak and depend on the support of the outside leader to consolidate power. However, over time a leader may consolidate power for their own interest, or the new grassroot leaders and the outside leaders may work to the detriment of the grass roots group. This is especially true in cases where the outside and/or inside leader(s) have goals inconsistent with the grassroot groups. In a lot of cases the result is total chaos with the consolidated groups fragmenting into self interest groups who compete and who don't know how to cooperate.
Recently Obama has been successful with his policy of "leading from behind" in Libya, however, it is yet to be seen if the grassroot groups will achieve any of Obama's goals.

Leading from Behind is a dominant foreign strategy of USA Presidents. While it worked in Vietnam, Cambodia, Middle East, Africa. Panama, Afghanistan initially it failed miserably in the long run because of corruption and almost complete movement away from the goals of the original grassroot group and often the group leading from behind. In places like Cuba it failed miserably yet continued, because it satisfied the special interests of the Cuban exiles.
by mlhiss October 30, 2011
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