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This book is intended as a different kind of introduction to American foreign policy, one whose focus is on the decisions that people in Washington DC make - and, indeed, on the decision-makers themselves - rather than on broad historical accounts of the general shape that US foreign policy has taken in the past, guides to contemporary issues being debated or detailed accounts of the different institutions and government offices involved in the policymaking process. Introducing students to US foreign policy decision-making through three general perspectives - termed here Homo Bureaucraticus, Homo Sociologicus and Homo Psychologicus - it then uses 'decision points' drawn from a variety of case studies (the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam war, the Iran hostage crisis, the Kosovo war and the Iraq war) to show how real US foreign policy decision-makers make real decisions. Drawing on a huge amount of literature, the book introduces the reader to a few basic theories of decision-making and then applies each of these to a range of historical cases in an understandable and student-friendly way. It tries to give students some sense of what it is really like to make high-level decisions, shows how far many of those decisions fall short of the exalted standards of 'pure rationality', and suggests ways in which they might apply various decision-making theories to some well-known cases from the recent (and not-so-recent) conduct of American foreign policy.
David Patrick Houghton is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida. He is the author of three other books, including Political Psychology: Situations, Individuals, and Cases (2008) and U.S. Foreign Policy and the Iran Hostage Crisis (2001) and numerous articles published in internationally known journals.
Table of Contents
Preface PART I. THEORIES Chapter 1. The Decision Point: An Introduction The Traditions of Foreign Policy Decision-Making Homo Economicus or the Rational Actor Model (RAM) Three Alternatives to Homo Economicus Homo Bureaucraticus Homo Sociologicus Homo Psychologicus Levels of Analysis Outline of the Book Chapter 2. Homo Bureaucraticus 1. The Opening to China 2. The Hainan Island Incident of 2001 The Assumptions of Homo Bureaucraticus "Where You Stand Depends On Where You Sit" Organizational Culture: "The Way Things Are Done Around Here" Chapter 3. Homo Sociologicus Explaining the Iran-Contra Fiasco The Assumptions of Homo Sociologicus From Homo Sociologicus to Homo Psychologicus Chapter 4. Homo Psychologicus The Mayaguez Raid: Why The Rush? "Bears To Honey": The Irresistible Pull of Analogical Reasoning The Assumptions of Homo Psychologicus From Theories to Case Studies PART II. CASE STUDIES Chapter 5. The Bay of Pigs: "How Could I Have Been So Stupid?" A Thorn or a Dagger? 1. Homo Bureaucraticus 2. Homo Sociologicus 3. Homo Psychologicus Assessing the Three Approaches: Some Points to Consider Conclusions Chapter 6. To the Brink: The Cuban Missile Crisis Rational Decision-Making? 1. Homo Bureaucraticus 2. Homo Sociologicus 3. Homo Psychologicus Assessing the Three Perspectives Chapter 7. An Agonizing Decision: Escalating the Vietnam War Why Did Johnson Escalate? 1. Homo Bureaucraticus 2. Homo Sociologicus 3. Homo Psychologicus Assessing the Three Perspectives Chapter 8. Disaster in the Desert: The Iran Hostage Crisis The Hostages are Taken Explaining Carter's Decisions 1. Homo Bureaucraticus 2. Homo Sociologicus 3. Homo Psychologicus Assessing the Three Perspectives Chapter 9. NATO Intervenes: 78 Days Over Kosovo The Historical Background to the Conflict 1. Homo Bureaucraticus 2. Homo Sociologicus 3. Homo Psychologicus Assessing the Three Perspectives Chapter 10. Into Iraq: A War of Choice Why Did the United States Decide to Invade Iraq? 1. Homo Bureaucraticus 2. Homo Sociologicus 3. Homo Psychologicus Assessing the Three Perspectives Chapter 11. Conclusions: A Personal View Bibliography Index