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POLI 244 Lecture Notes - Plaintext, Fundamental Attribution Error

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 244
Stephen Saideman

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Thinking about Individuals
Assumption of rational utility maximizers
They have different priorities/values
Choices made by politicians are based on such
Different experiences, which shape their choices/beliefs
Reality of Foreign Policy
Bush/Rumsfeld vs Obama/Gates
Chretien vs Martin vs Harper
e.g. Harper wanted Canadians to be at one place (Afghanistan) only
Chirac vs Sarkozy
Sarkozy likes NATO
Chirac did not like the USA, so did everything to go against them
How to people take decisions and turn them into policy
Motivation by bias and emotions
The decisions you make when angry are different than when you're happy
Dick Cheney complete change of attitude after the events of 9/11
If you have stereotypes, you will look for evidence and deny the counterarguments
Cognitive consistency
e.g. In IR, if you think threats always work, you will ignore situations when they don't
People gamble more to avoid losing, than to win
Analogical reasoning
e.g. People comparing Vietnam war with Afghanistan war
We tend to compare the past with current events --> prevent repetition of mistakes
Group think
Everybody will agree on the same perception of the world
Might not be realistic
Fundamental attribution error
Something you like
Wrong --> caused by the situation
Right --> caused by actor
Something you don't like
Wrong --> caused by their nature
Right --> caused by special situation
Beliefs about self
The first thing you can get wrong is yourself
e.g. "We send them a clear message....or maybe it wasn't that clear"
e.g. Invasion of Koweit by Hussein
About the adversary
Tendency to under/over estimate them
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