INR Chapter 6 Notes: Decision Making

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University of Florida
Political Science
INR 2001
Paul D’ Anieri

INR2001 Chapter 6 Notes 10/6/13 o Foreign Policy Analysis o Foreign policy analysis: analysis that attempts to understand states’ behavior in terms of actors and processes at the domestic (state and substate) level o Foreign policy analysis can be divided into three areas of study:  The first concerns the workings of bureaucracies  The second examines the process of decision making  The third considers the psychological characteristics of leaders themselves o Branches of Government o Most foreign policy analysis focuses on the executive branch for three reasons  In many countries, the constitution or legislation specifies that the head of government shall be responsible for making foreign policy  There is often agreement within a country that the country needs to have a single voice abroad and that the head of the government should be that voice  Heads of government tend to control the making of foreign policy because they control the executive branch of government o After the Vietnam War, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution, a 1973 law that limits the U.S. president’s ability to go to war without permission of Congress o Legislatures in Foreign Policy  The most significant source of legislative influence is control over budgets o Courts in Foreign Policy  Traditionally, domestic courts have been involved in foreign policy only in isolated instances  Pentagon Papers: a series of secret Defense Department reports on the origins of the Vietnam War that raised serious questions about U.S. involvement in the war  The court’s role in foreign policy may be growing as they take on issues of civil liberties and human rights o The Rational Action Model o Rational Action Model: a model that bases explanations of decisions on the assumption that decision makers have clear goals, calculate the costs and benefits of various courses of action, and choose the action that will best serve their goals o Four steps of the rational action model:  Search for all the potential policy options  Search for all available information on those options  Evaluate the costs and benefits of each option  Choose the option that yields the greatest net benefit o Economists and some international relations scholars have refined the general rational action assumption into expected utility theory: a variant of the rational action model that asserts that leaders evaluate policies by combining their estimation of the utility of potential outcomes with the likelihood that different outcomes will result from the policy in question o Expected utility theory focuses on two factors:  Payoffs: the benefits (referred to as the utility) of various outcomes  Probability: the change that a particular outcome will result from a certain policy o Bureaucracies in Foreign Policy o Ministries: the main institutions of the executive branch of government. In the united states these institutions are called “departments” o The two most important bureaucracies with respect to foreign affairs are the ministry of foreign affairs and the ministry of defense (Department of State and the Department of Defense in the U.S.) o A third key organization is intelligence (Ex. the CIA and the NSA) o The Bureaucratic Politics Model  Different bureaucracies have distinct, and often competing, interests  Bureaucratic Interests  Bureaucracies may promote different policies for two reasons: role and budget  Competing Priorities  Constant conflict between the Department of State and the Department of Defense  Effects of Bureaucratic Politics  Policies that emerge from bureaucratic conflict are often policies that nobody intended  Critique of the Bureaucratic Politics Model  Critics say that “where you stand depends on where you sit” is a gross oversimplification  Analysts are skeptical about the power of bureaucracies to escape the control of the head of government o The Organizational Process Model  Stresses how the procedures by which bureaucracies make decisions influence the content of those decisions  Standard operating procedures: procedures that bureaucracies adopt to deal efficiently with a large number of similar tasks  In the military realm, armed forces develop standard procedures, known as doctrines o Organizational Process versus Bureaucratic Politics  The bureaucratic politics model focuses on organizations struggling against one another for power and budgets  The organizational process model examines the problem- solving procedures a
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