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Lecture 3

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Political Science
Political Science 2231E
Erika Simpson

Lecture 3 Foreign Policy DecisionMakin and Instruments of Foreign PolicyWhat is the rational actor model Or Unitary modelrational choice modelActors eg Leadersgovernments seek to maximize their goalsTheir goals are clear to them and relatively clear to others egIncrease powerprosperityterritoryvotes for leadernationThe right to our Manifest Destinyo John L OSullivanForeign policy consists of rational calculations in response to other sides movesDecisions are based on rational calculations of alternativesObjective is to maximize utility not to minimize lossAnalysts must ask themselves What would I do if I were the other stateWar game exercises are simple cheap funinaccurate and misleading o Cold war examples o Summit preparation requires understanding objectives and rational choices Here the respective leaders Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev meet in 1985Games are played using rational calculations constantly Cpl Chris Lynch of the North Bay NORAD center places the first in the weapon director technician category of Top Scope a NORAD competition which featured 14 of the worlds best AWACS and air control teams Do leaders calculate rationally o What is rational for one countryleader may not be rational for another in similar circumstances o Eg US assumed increases in bombing of N Vietnam would lead to surrender instead it increased resolveIf rationality is not entirely predictable then what characterizes and motivated decision makers o Historians and biographers tend to focus on idiosyncratic variables o Eg Personality characteristics like Diefenbakers hatred of Kennedy Sadars experiences in prisono Personality type can be importanto Aberrant personalities can be key factor Mental disturbance Begin paranoia StalinJournalists often focus on personality o All types of social scientists focus on other factors eg Need for power and desire to dominate others o Need for affiliationClinton or Diefenbakers indecisiveness due to need to have approval o Idealism Desire to make the world a better place change and progress o RealismPerceived need to retain traditional values and institutions How can Misperceptions affect policy choiceRational choices are impeded by misperceptions and miscalculations
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