The Menu for Choice. How do States Make Decisions?. I. Descriptive Realism and its Assumptions. RISK Lord Palmerston: “His Majesty’s Government has no permanent friends, only permanent interests.”
How do States Make Decisions?
Evidence: Most wars fought by one or more states
Counter-evidence: Trade is not state-to-state (but reduces interstate conflict), >50% of wars involve non-state actors, and IGO membership reduces interstate conflict
Evidence: Rational calculation appears to occur (Lord Palmerston quote)
Counter-evidence: Leaders matter, need for foreign policy advice, voluntary losses of sovereignty (EU, Czechoslovakia)
Logic: Deterrence theory holds that the stronger you are, the less likely peopleare to attack you.
Problem: Power politics increases war risk: signing an outside alliance, building up arms (whether mutual or unilateral). States that prepare for war tend to fight a lot.
1 > 1 – CostsA – CostsB
war is inefficient. Not Pareto Optimal.
Repeated play: Axelrod’s “tournament” establishes that “always defect” is suboptimal! Superior: TFT
Not all games are PD. Some have cooperative outcomes.
EARTH simulation: Establishes that best alliance strategy is: never initiate war, never ally with initiator, always ally with target. “Collective security states” do best!