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Chapter 4: Foreign Policy Decision Making. Rational Choice Perspective Generally the model presented by leaders as how they decide on policy  Assumes.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 4: Foreign Policy Decision Making. Rational Choice Perspective Generally the model presented by leaders as how they decide on policy  Assumes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 4: Foreign Policy Decision Making

2 Rational Choice Perspective Generally the model presented by leaders as how they decide on policy  Assumes policy decisions are made carefully through well defined processes that pursue clearly defined goals.  Risks and benefits are measured and balanced  Optimal solutions are selected as policy 2

3 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Policy Making as Rational Choice 1.Problem recognition and definition 2.Goal selection 3.Identification of alternatives 4.Choice  Associated with realist/state as unitary actor 3

4 Factors Impacting Foreign Policy  System Level Factors Polarity Degree of concentration of military/economic power among major states Polarization How firmly minor states cluster around the major powers in alliances Geopolitics – Impact of geographic characteristics 4

5 Domestic Factors:  Military Capabilities States actions are constrained by their military strength No aggression w/out power projection capability Boldness connected with military capability Japan? Iran? Canada? US? Etc… 5

6 Domestic Factors:  Economic Capacity Capable to supply, resupply a military? Capable to sustain a siege 6

7 Domestic Factors:  Government type Democracy Autocratic rule Is there a connection between type of government and foreign policy? Democratic Peace? Democratic weakness? Autocratic aggressiveness? 7

8 Domestic Factors:  Rational political ambition hypothesis: Leaders like to maintain or expand their role – foreign policy decisions made to keep leaders in power Britain – Argentina in the Faulklands “Wag the Dog” concept…. Clinton in Lybia? Bush in Iraq? 8

9 Organizational Factors  Bureaucratic Politics Competition / Rivalry of various agencies Inability / Unwillingness to share across bureaucratic boundaries Standard Operating procedures 9

10 Organizational Factors  Bureaucratic Politics Competition / Rivalry of various agencies Inability / Unwillingness to share across bureaucratic boundaries Standard Operating procedures Tendency to inertia Limited innovation 10

11 Individual Level  Individual leaders matter Individual talents and limitations determine much of policy Hitler, Chamberlain, Churchill, etc.  Leaders self-image, confidence: “political efficacy”  Individual leaders are more influential in unusual, crisis situations Bush 9/11, Roosevelt in Depression and WW II 11

12 Constraints on Policy-making  Leaders project (and Realists expect) “Rationality” and states as “Unitary Actors”  Leaders face constraints on Rationality: 2-level game Maintain domestic influence and power Promote desirable foreign policy 12

13 Constraints on Policy-making  Complexity and limited processing ability may lead to: Satisficing: Choosing an option that meets a minimally acceptable level of satisfaction rather than pressing on for the very best or optimal level of achievement 13

14 Constraints on Policy-making  Prospect Theory: The idea that leaders level of risk tolerance is greater when avoiding a loss than when pursuing a gain. Leaders will risk a huge loss to avoid a minor loss Leaders will risk only minor losses in pursuit of even major gains 14

15 Constraints on Policy-making  Leaders focus on “Sunk Costs” Rational decisions consider future looking costs/benefits Sunk costs are gone and can’t be changed Rational decisions disregard sunk costs Making decisions based on sunk costs is “throwing good money after bad” Political leaders tend to fall into the sunk costs trap “they must not have died in vain” 15

16 Constraints on Policy-making  Group Think  Newgroup Syndrome: Tendency to bandwagon with prominent, assertive thinkers 16

17 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Transnational Actors  Countries  International organizations  Multinational corporations  Nongovernmental organizations  Indigenous nationalities  Terrorist networks  Individuals 17

18 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Foreign Policy Analysis  Bureaucracies  Decision-making in organizations  Psychological characteristics of leaders 18

19 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Most Foreign Policy Analysis Centers on the Executive Branch  The head of government is responsible for making policy  The country needs to have a single voice abroad  Heads of government tend to make foreign policy because they control the executive branch of government 19

20 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Legislatures and Courts in Foreign Policy  The “power of the purse”  Courts’ jurisdiction generally limited to domestic affairs “Pentagon Papers” 1971 20

21 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning The Rational Action Model  A logical attempt to achieve an identifiable goal  Calculates costs and benefits  What goal does this policy serve? 21

22 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Expected Utility Theory  Payoffs and profitability  Does not seek optimum solution, but the policy with best ratio of payoff/probability 22

23 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Bureaucracies in Foreign Policies  Department of State and Department of Defense  CIA and NSA  Different bureaucracies have distinct, and often competing, interests. 23

24 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning The Organizational Process Model 24  Procedures influence decision content  Standard operating procedures  Efficiency is goal, difficulties when dealing with unique situations

25 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Small Group Decision Making  Groupthink  May be caused by need for consensus 25

26 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Individual Decision Making  Perception and misperception  Motivated and unmotivated bias  Bounded rationality 26

27 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Attribution Theory  Fundamental Attribution Bias Naïve scientists Pre-existing beliefs  Security dilemma 27

28 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Historical Lessons  Lessons of WW I  Lessons of WW II  Lessons of Korean War  The Lessons of Vietnam  Lessons of Iraq (1991)  Lessons of Afghanistan  Lessons of Iraq (2003)  ??????? 28

29 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Other Theories of Decision-Making  Prospect Theory Status quo Bias  Motivated Bias  Cognitive Dissonance  Two-level games  Satisficing 29

30 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning A “Funnel Vision” of the Influences on International Decision Making 30

31 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Policy Making as Rational Choice 1.Problem recognition and definition 2.Goal selection 3.Identification of alternatives 4.Choice  Associated with realist/state as unitary actor 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis 2003 Iraq War 31

32 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Factors Affecting Leadership Capacity  Personality  Degree of control over foreign policy  Sense of political efficacy  Amount of available information  Ability to deal with crises  “Great person” versus zeitgeist debate 32

33 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Influences on Foreign Policy Choice  International Polarity and polarization Geographic position  Domestic Military capabilities Economic conditions Type of government 33

34 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Democratic Peace Theory  Asserts that democracies are more peaceful than other states.  Ironically, could provide a rationale for war, because a war that instills a democracy could reduce the chances of war in the long run. 34

35 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Interest Groups in Foreign Policy  What do they want? Money, protection, policy  How do they influence foreign policy? Votes, money, lobbyists  To what extent do interest groups drive foreign policy? Very influential in the U.S., varies in other states 35

36 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Public Opinion 1.What does public opinion look like? 2.What effect should public opinion have on policy? 3.What effect does public opinion have on foreign policy? 4.What influences public opinion on foreign policy? 36

37 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning The Media in Foreign Policy  Media in WW II? Korea?  Media in Viet Nam?  The businesses aspect of journalism  Efforts to influence media coverage  Media power: “the CNN effect” 37

38 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Three Models of Influence  Rational action model  Bureaucratic politics model  Organizational process model 38

39 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Geographic Influence on Foreign Policy 39

40 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning How Free is Your Country? 40

41 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Questions for Critical Thinking (1 of 2) 1.What factors explain why George W. Bush did not take action when given intelligence warnings of impending terrorist attacks in the weeks prior to September 11, 2001? 2.What are the strengths and weaknesses of the history-making individuals model? Who qualifies as a history-making individual? 3.What factors explain why bureaucracies do not always produce the best options? 41

42 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Questions for Critical Thinking (2 of 2) 4.What are some contemporary examples of the importance of geopolitics? 5.In what ways does the individual level of analysis affect foreign policy making? 6.How does public opinion in the U.S. affect current foreign policy? 7.What are the three most influential mass media in this country? 42

43 Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning Web Links  The Cuban Missile Crisis The Cuban Missile Crisis  Freedom, Democracy, Peace, Power, Democide, and War Freedom, Democracy, Peace, Power, Democide, and War  Freedom House Freedom House  The Presidents: PBS’s The American Experience The Presidents: PBS’s The American Experience 43


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