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Factors Influencing Foreign Policy Decision Making February 16, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Factors Influencing Foreign Policy Decision Making February 16, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Factors Influencing Foreign Policy Decision Making February 16, 2011

2 FOREIGN POLICY INPUTS Domestic Sources Psychological/Leader- ship Societal Governmental International Sources International System – Polarity Institutions – IOs, NGOs Interactions

3 Psychological Factors Under what circumstances important? –Ambiguity – force leader to provide definition –Level of self-confidence –Scarcity of available information –Decision latitude – new election or authoritarian regime –Crisis Types of Personality Characteristics most relevant to foreign policy decision making: Beliefs: Fundamental assumptions about the world, simplifying assumptions (Dulles), metaphores (war on drugs) Cognitive style: System for information processing, ways of using information Decision style: Preferred method for making decisions – confidence, openness to new information, tolerance for risk (see George decision making models) Interpersonal style: Ways of dealing with other policy makers. Paranoia or suspicion, how they view politics, conflict.

4 Alexander George Presidential Decision Making Models (1) Formalistic Model: Clear lines of authority (Eisenhower) (2) Competitive Model: President promotes conflict and competition (FDR) (3) Collegial Model: Teamwork and group problem solving (JFK) Model chosen shaped by personality, cognitive style, and general orientation to political conflict

5 Societal Factors and Conflict Level of internal cohesion –Homogeneity of society Ethnic Religious Cultural, Income inequalities Resource constraints Historical patterns, grievances

6 Governmental Factors and Foreign Policy Type of Government/Regime Bureaucratic Influencers: Bureaucratic Politics

7 Governmental Models of Foreign Policy Formulation Rational Actor Model Organizational Process Model Bureaucratic Politics Model

8 Rational Actor Model Problem recognition and definition Goal selection Identification of alternatives Choice Is security dilemma a logical result of the rational actor model?

9 Organizational Process Model Standard operating procedures (SOPs) Fixed programs Structure situation for decision maker Limited flexibility Incremental change

10 Bureaucratic Politics Model Governmental politics – foreign policy results from intense competition among decision makers and bargaining along regularized channels among players positioned hierarchically within government bureaucracy, each with own perspectives.

11 Characteristics of Bureaucratic Politics Parochialism Competitiveness (U.S. intelliegence community) Task expansion Endurance Secrecy and exclusiveness Attitudinal conformity (groupthink - evolving Egypt policy in US foreign policy community) Deference to tradition – historical analogy

12 Characteristics of Crisis Decision Making Involves highest levels of an organization, usually a small number of people (although it may take vast resources to implement decisions). Perception of increased time pressure, and gravity of issues, leads to increased stress on decision makers Stress can be compounded by belief that decisions are “momentous.” Decision-makers tend to use analogies, stereotypes, or other cognitive shortcuts because of time pressures. Officials are more willing to make decisions with incomplete information than under normal circumstances. If there is general awareness (through the media, for instance) about the crisis, there will be much second-guessing by outsiders…and officials are aware of this.

13 Mansfield and Snyder – Democratic Transitions Democracies don’t mature overnight. During transition, become more aggressive and war prone Not whether to promote democratization, but helping to smooth the transition – discuss Bush and Obama approaches Democratizing states more war prone because domestic pressures create incentives for elites to drum up nationalist sentiment. Prestige strategies. Democratization and how to keep unwanted side effects to minimum –Threatened elites given golden parachutes –Institutions needed for functioning of democratic societies already partially in place before mass-suffrage elections are held (South Africa) –Free ideas – Incentives of international environment. –How do popular movements currently sweeping the Middle East fit in this model?


15 Mohammed Ayoob – State making, Breaking, and Failure Since WWII, overwhelming majority of conflicts have been located in Third World, and have been intrastate in character or have possessed substantial intrastate dimensions. So domestic and international order intertwined. New Third World – Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans – out of USSR and Yugoslavia. Global core and global periphery more stark. State making more compressed and difficult today than was in Western Europe and North America. Outrun international norms of human rights. State Failure phenomenon. Modern territorial state

16 Charles King – Power, Social Violence, and Civil War Contentious politics - Power through prism of opportunity, organization, and framing Social protest doesn’t just turn violent – preconditions and precipitants Asymmetric players in terms of power, so historically negotiations rare. More recently, more mediation, but may not last. Power asymmetry and opportunities, organization, framing Power and peace. Incentives to continue fighting, enrichment – greed versus grievance. See slide on mediation.

17 International Crises and Mediation

18 Paul Collier – Economic Causes of Civil Conflict Risk of civil war has been systematically related to a few economic conditions such as dependency on primary commodity exports and low national income. Conversely, social grievance such as inequality, lack of democracy, and ethnic and religious division – no systematic effect on civil war. Greed and grievance argument. Civil wars occur where rebel organizations are financially viable. Economic dimensions of civil war largely neglected. Rebel organizations cannot afford to be regarded as criminals. So develop discourse of grievance Primary commodities and diasporas most dangerous factors. But not inequality, not lack of democratic rights, not ethnic or religious diversity. Why are diasporas dangerous?

19 Ted Gurr – Minorities, nationalists and Islamists: Managing Communal Conflict in the 21 st Century Ethnopolitical Conflict – conflicts in which groups who define themselves using ethnic or national criteria and make claims on behalf of their collective interests against the state or against other political actors. Common decent, shared historical experiences, and valued cultural traits. Some seek exit, others access. How serious is the threat to global security? One in seven people are members of a minority at risk. Seven of ten most lethal terrorist acts in past decade have ethnic origins. Factors determining mobilization: salience of identity, collective incentives for group action (discrimination, repression), capacities for group action, opportunities to obtain objectives International context of communal action: foreign support, spillover. Managing communal conflict: –Recognize and promote group political, cultural, and economic rights –Recognize sub-state autonomy –Democratic institutions and power sharing to protect group rights –Mutual accommodation –International engagement –Coercive intervention response to gross violations of human rights

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