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Individual Level Theories

7 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 243
Mark Brawley

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Individual- Level Theories Idiosyncratic traits of decision-makers 4/3/12 10:56 PM It’s the individual that counts, if you replace the individual in a situation the whole situation would change. A lot of decisions are made that are not rational. People make decisions based on a lot of things, and choosing the way to reach a goal is not always made rationally. Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile Crisis • The difference that Kennedy being president made • Eisenhower versus Kennedy on the “Missile Gap” o difference between the knowledge and experience brought to the table o Kennedy was a senator à criticized the Republicans in order to win the election, Eisenhower was “old” and didn’t answer the questions asked to him in press conferences o 50’s: Soviets had technological edge on the US, Congress asks for a report which states that the soviets have the lead and the US needed to do something about it. Eisenhower said no to closing the missile gap (because he had been the top allied general in WW2, took charge in the Cold War under NATO). When he saw the intelligence reports, he wanted more compelling evidence. Kennedy used this as criticism to win the election. Eisenhower was used to watching people playing the bureaucratic game. Eisenhower was right, there was no missile gap. • Eisenhower versus Kennedy on the Bay of Pigs o Wanted to overthrow Cuba’s communist regime à Eisenhower does not think the CIAs plan would work due to his prior experience o CIA shows the plan to Kennedy and he lets the plan go forward and the plan is a disaster à Communist forces attack o Kennedy has to learn to not trust the CIA as much while Eisenhower has learned • Kennedy’s first reaction to the news of missiles o Eisenhower and Khrushchev had a certain kind of relationship o Another flash point of trouble in the cold war was Berlin o During Eisenhower’s term, people were still pretty easily allowed to move between the east and west of the wall o Kennedy makes a name for himself when going to the Berlin Wall o At the end of Eisenhower’s term he meets with Khrushchev and Khrushchev does not get along with Eisenhower o Kennedy meets Khrushchev and gets along with him when they meet in Geneva o “Why is he doing this” ß first thing Kennedy says about Khrushchev putting the missiles in Cuba (why is he doing this to me) it becomes a very personal thing o Another part of the crisis is that Americans find out part of the information and don’t say anything about it for several days à gets the soviets to say that they are not putting missiles in Cuba so they can portray the Soviets as liars o It becomes very personal for Kennedy, while we can step back from it Perception and Misperception • One stimulus- one response? o Emotions o Who delivers the message? • Emotions can influence o Robert Kennedy à they are about to make my brother look bad § Can’t read his memoirs and believe everything to be truth § Can't understand what he is doing through bureaucratic politics since he is the attorney general which has nothing to do with foreign policy • Prejudices or biases influence how information is received and interpreted o The Soviet Union is no better than Nazi Germany ß opinions and prejudices § If they talk peace, think war § Sneaky § Everything they do is to help them do bad things o Lack of trust • Belief-systems as short-cuts o People rely on these instead of “rati
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