POL 208 2.docx

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Political Science
Todd Hall

POL 208 War- states and individuals Is war the rational and well-calculated pursuit of states and individuals, or are decisions for war more often dominated by misperception and miscalculation? This is a very important question because assumptions about the extent of rationality in decisions for the Persian Gulf War underlie policy debates on a range of subjects from deterrence and invasion to peacekeeping. Arguments about rationality also underlie various academic debates about the general causes of a war like the gulf war and the methodologies to study them (Levy & Thompson, 2010). There are various assumptions about rationality that underlie a number of policy and debates. Those who believe that deterrence is a path, accept that decisions to initiate war are deliberate and even rational. If individuals are mostly rational then they very well can effectively allow the use of arms, alliances, and deployments to increase the costs of war. On the other hand, arguments for greater transparency, for hyper nationalism, and arms control often assume that war is engrained in misrepresentation and miscalculation. For the purpose of accessing rationality, it does not matter what an actors goals are only whether that actor engages in an ends-mean s calculation and selects those strategies or options it anticipates will maximize its values or goals (Levy & Thompson, 2010) .For example, Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq at the time, played a major role in the eruption of the Gulf War. It is a question many may ask whether Saddam Hussein behaved rationally in the pursuit of his goals. Decisions particularly about issues of war are made under enormous uncertainty. It is a complex process. In
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