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The Menu for Choice. Analyzing American Foreign Policy. I. Models and Ideologies. What’s the difference?. I. Models and Ideologies. What’s the difference?. I. Models and Ideologies. What’s the difference?. I. Models and Ideologies. What’s the difference?. I. Models and Ideologies.

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The Menu for Choice

Analyzing American Foreign Policy


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I. Models and Ideologies

  • What’s the difference?


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I. Models and Ideologies

  • What’s the difference?


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I. Models and Ideologies

  • What’s the difference?


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I. Models and Ideologies

  • What’s the difference?


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I. Models and Ideologies

  • What’s the difference?




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1. Examples of Realism

  • RISK

  • Lord Palmerston: “His Majesty’s Government has no permanent friends, only permanent interests.”

  • Winston Churchill: “If Hitler invaded hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”


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2. Objections to Realism

  • States are not unitary actors – Realism ignores influences below the state level of analysis (bureaucratic politics, interest groups, public opinion, etc)

  • Do states pursue the national interest? Realists are divided between those who say “they do” and those who say “they should.” Are all leaders motivated by what’s best for their nation?

  • What is the national interest? Beyond survival, people disagree.



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1. Examples of Liberalism

  • United Nations

  • Cultural Exchanges

  • Free-Trade Agreements

  • Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points:

    • “I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at....

    • II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas….

    • III. The removal….of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations….

    • IV. …. national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety….

    • XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under ….mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”


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2. Objections to Liberalism

  • Liberal states practice power politics – US interventionism

  • Liberalism ignores “relative gains” concerns – mutually beneficial deals will be rejected if leaders believe that the other side will benefit more AND might one day be an adversary



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1. Examples of Radicalism

  • Critique of Foreign Aid and Dependency: “From poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.”

  • Investors, Arms Dealers, and World War I

  • Wealth Transfer Between Americans in the Iraq War: “No Blood for Oil”


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2. Criticisms of Radicalism

  • Difficult to explain changes in foreign policy – class relations are more or less static in capitalist countries, but policies aren’t

  • War is usually bad for businesses other than arms dealers

  • National solidarity usually stronger than class solidarity  states actually matter


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C. A basic model of foreign policy decision-making: The Menu for Choice

  • Key Actors = Leaders

  • Goals = Stay in Office, Improve Policy, Personal Gain

  • World System = Constraint on Leaders

  • Menu Analogy

    a. Some items aren’t on the menu (no opportunity)

    b. Some items are on the menu but not desirable (no willingness)

    c. Item chosen = preferred, available dish (both opportunity and willingness)


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5. Example: Saddam Hussein for Choice

Menu

  • Kick the US out and execute traitors who thought about surrender

  • As above, but then invade the US to preempt future attacks

  • Surrender and go into exile

  • Delay US forces while searching for a way out of the war


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5. Example: Saddam Hussein for Choice

Menu

  • Kick the US out and execute traitors who thought about surrender

  • As above, but then invade the US to preempt future attacks

  • Surrender and go into exile

  • Delay US forces while searching for a way out of the war


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5. Example: Saddam Hussein for Choice

Menu

  • Kick the US out and execute traitors who thought about surrender

  • As above, but then invade the US to preempt future attacks

  • Surrender and go into exile

  • Delay US forces while searching for a way out of the war



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II. Predicting Opportunities for ChoiceA. Levels of Analysis: Higher levels control opportunities

System

Region

Dyad

State

Bureaucratic

Group

Individual


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B. What affects opportunities? for Choice

  • System: Power relative to global and regional leaders  need to know what power is…

  • Region: “Neighborhood effects” of regime type, trade, and conflict

  • Dyad: Trade and relative power

  • State: Power projection capability, stage of development


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C. Bureaucratic constraints: Models of decision-making for Choice

Puzzle: Why do countries sometimes make inconsistent policy choices?

Answers:


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1. Organizational Processes for Choice

Central insight: “Where you stand depends on where you sit.”


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Features of Organizational Processes for Choice

  • Clienteles: serving interest groups behind organization’s programs

  • Parochialism: concentration on getting the agency’s job done (blind to trade-offs)

  • Imperialism: expanding agency operations and taking on more responsibilities


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Features of Organizational Processes for Choice

  • Incrementalism: slow implementation of new programs

  • Arbitrariness: use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) (regularized procedures) for efficiency

  • Satisficing: Choosing “good enough” rather than pursuing perfection


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Example: The Air Force and the unlock codes for Choice

  • Air Force forced to install locks (PALs) on nuclear weapons during 1960s.

    • PALs require secret code to physically enable weapon. Even if missile launched, warhead won’t detonate without code. Prevents unauthorized use of nuclear weapons.

  • Air Force quietly sets code to 00000000 – and tells just about everyone involved in the launch process!

  • 1977: Congressional hearings lead Air Force to finally pick a new code



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Features of Bureaucratic Politics for Choice

  • Individuals use informal power to fight organizational constraints: “Who you know…” determines “pull”

  • Best predictor of bureaucratic decision is weighted median “voter” among stakeholders (bargaining produces coalitions)


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Features of Bureaucratic Politics for Choice

c. Acheson’s Rule: A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer


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d. for Choice51-49 principle: Decisions appear to be based on overconfidence (incentive to misrepresent 51% certainty as 100% for bargaining purposes)




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III. Predicting Willingness poor decisions

  • Selectorate Theory: Emphasizes the political incentives facing leaders. Democratic leaders must keep members of a huge winning coalition happy, so tend to emphasize policies that benefit large groups.

  • Interest Group Theory: Small, highly organized groups exert more pressure than large, poorly organized groups, distorting foreign policy.

  • Psychological Models: Where leaders have autonomy, their foreign policies follow certain rules peculiar to their personality. Leaders often obsess over one particular historical analogy.


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IV. Application to the United States poor decisions

  • Opportunity:

    • Unusually high because of economic, military strength  limits usually encountered where consensus is necessary (i.e. persuasion or “soft power”)

    • Dominance implies asymmetry: Most threats will be from weaker states and organizations


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3. What limits the options open to the American President? poor decisions

  • Potential for armed resistance: Major powers can defy US, and even minor powers with nuclear weapons can deter armed attacks

  • Lack of “soft power” or ability to persuade others that US interests are their own interests

  • Domestic factors: Organizational resistance, bureaucratic politics, partisanship, public opinion


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B. What determines the President’s willingness? poor decisions

  • Top priority to key public goods: national security (at least freedom from armed attack) and economic growth

  • Intelligence: must have accurate assessment of costs and benefits (including political ones)

  • Need to preserve coalition: Large blocs of voters must be convinced that the President is better than “the other guy”

  • Personality: Is there a way to make predictions based on this, or is it just a way to cover our mistakes?


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