Graham Allison Decision makers notes

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6 Dec 2010
Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis
- Author looks at different models to explain decision-making
Rational Policy Model
- See state and nation as main actor t they act to achieve maximum gains (self interest)
o ]v}v}ZÀv]v]v[o}o]]Æ ^]v[oP]ulo_
1. Goals and objective: national security and national interest come first always
2. Options: solve the problem by looking at all the strategic options
3. Consequences: look at result of each option; see what will cost them the most and gain
them the most
4. Choice: evaluate consequences of each option, and choose what is value-maximizing
(maximum gains)
- Dominant pattern of interference in RCM: if nation chose a certain action, that action (in the
mind of the nation) would have gained them maximum
- Above (4) points create general principle for value-maximizing behaviour; gives 2 propositions:
o If cost of alternative option increases, less likely that option will be followed
o If cost of alternative decreases, more likely that option is followed
- Level of analysis: state t the one making the decisions
- Factors included in the analysis: national interest
Variants of the Rational Policy Model
- Basis of RPM is that states act in value-maximizing way; but analysts offer variants of this model
o model varies depending on state or individual actor
- µ}(}uvÇÀ]vUZ}]P]vov^µ_ RPM is rarely seen
o Analysts include different variants of RPM - often so much that the different variants
o When explaining one event, go into so much detail about that event, that overall the
RPM model seems random
o Analysts apply aspects of different models, but simply name the model as a RPM t
usually to make it more comprehensible to audience
o When fail in trying to explain the result of a certain event through the RPM, just name
the action as a mistake
Model II: Organizational Process
- Prime example of this model are governments t operate in organizational manner
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