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Political Science
POLI 243
Mark Brawley

Poli 243 Lecture Notes February 4 2013 Individual level theories: Idiosyncratic traits of decision makers  Eisenhower, Kennedy, Khrushev, and Missiles o Eisenhower versus Kennedy on the “Missile gap” o Different people with different experiences o Eisenhower was a commander in chief of allied forces in Western Europe and was used to listening to intelligence estimates, and photos from planes, and reports from spies coming in, and was used to the inflation of this information, and therefore make an estimate of evidence that the Soviets would really send missiles over o Kennedy was in the Navy, and commanded a small patrol boat, and was hero for saving his patrol, but not used to listening to intelligence reports, and does not know how to interpret the evidence, and there was not a missile gap, but just a gap, that the soviets were able to build rockets that could launch into space o The U.S. was never that far behind o Two people listen to the information, will interpret differently, and react to it differently  Eisenhower Versus Kennedy on the Bay of Pigs  Kennedy’s first reaction to the news of Missiles o Soviets had put missiles into Cuba o Khrushchev wanted to resolve some problems in Europe focused on Berlin o Soviets didn’t like the West control their parts of Berlin, and at the same time, there was no wall, and refugees were fleeing form the Eastern part of the country o Krushov wanted the West to give up West Berlin o Couldn’t pressure Eisenhower o “How could he do this to me” (very personal response)  After the brief negotiation and talks with Khrushev Perception and Misconception  Not everyone sees or understands the same thing  Different kinds of actions can be interpreted in different ways  One stimulus- one response?  An action can bring about many different responses  Emotions can influence how people think through their options and whether they’re going to gather evidence, or go through steps required for rational action  Prejudices or biases influence how information is received and interpreted  Belief systems serve as short cuts o People have a sense of how politics work, and how international politics work, which gives them lenses to see the world through Variance from rational decision-making  Difficulty of rational decision making  Challenges: o Value complexity- looking at the way that rational decision making is supposed to occur, actors should be able to rank their options  E.g.) Example in Syria – economic recovery of U.S., protect civilians in the country, protecting American citizens  If you don’t know what you want, you won’t make a rational decision o Stress: tends to have people make bad decisions  People are unable to make a rational decision  Unable to evaluate all the available options  Stress is an inhibitor, and has the mindset that “I want to get out of this situation”  Fear of pressure o Crisis: unlikely to see rational decision  Characteristics of that crisis, that make it hard to make a rational decision  Responses: o Bolstering:  What you do, as you make up your mind, and then you look for the right information to back it up  Make a decision, and then use information to back it up
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