Chapter 6:
International
Decision Making
Transnational Actors
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Countries
International organizations
Multinational corporations
Nongovernmental organizations
Indigenous nationalities
Terrorist networks
Individuals
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Foreign Policy Analysis
 Bureaucracies
 Decision-making in organizations
 Psychological characteristics of
leaders
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Most Foreign Policy Analysis
Centers on the Executive Branch
 The head of government is
responsible for making policy
 The country needs to have a single
voice abroad
 Heads of government tend to make
foreign policy because they control
the executive branch of government
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Legislatures and Courts
in Foreign Policy
 The “power of the purse”
 Courts’ jurisdiction generally limited
to domestic affairs
• “Pentagon Papers” 1971
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The Rational Action Model
 A logical attempt to achieve an
identifiable goal
 Calculates costs and benefits
 What goal does this policy serve?
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Expected Utility Theory
 Payoffs and profitability
 Does not seek optimum solution, but
the policy with best ratio of
payoff/probability
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Bureaucracies
in Foreign Policies
 Department of State and Department
of Defense
 CIA and NSA
 Different bureaucracies have distinct,
and often competing, interests.
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The Organizational
Process Model
 Procedures influence decision content
 Standard operating procedures
 Efficiency is goal, difficulties when
dealing with unique situations
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Small Group
Decision Making
 Groupthink
 May be caused by need for consensus
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Individual Decision Making
 Perception and misperception
 Motivated and unmotivated bias
 Bounded rationality
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Questions for Discussion
1. What foreign policy model has been
demonstrated by the U.S. response to
Darfur?
2. What does George Clooney hope to
accomplish? Has he been successful?
3. Could neighboring countries make a
difference here? Why or why not?
4. Has the United Nations been successful in
Darfur peacekeeping?
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Attribution Theory
 Fundamental Attribution Bias
• Naïve scientists
• Pre-existing beliefs
 Security dilemma
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Historical Lessons
 The Lessons of Munich
 The Lessons of Vietnam
 Future Lessons of Iraq?
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Other Theories
of Decision-Making
 Prospect Theory
• Status quo Bias
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Motivated Bias
Cognitive Dissonance
Bolstering
Two-level games
Satisficing
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A “Funnel Vision” of the Influences
on International Decision Making
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Policy Making as
Rational Choice
1.
2.
3.
4.
Problem recognition and definition
Goal selection
Identification of alternatives
Choice
 Associated with realist/state as unitary
actor
• 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
• 2003 Iraq War
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Factors Affecting
Leadership Capacity
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Personality
Degree of control over foreign policy
Sense of political efficacy
Amount of available information
Ability to deal with crises
“Great person” versus zeitgeist debate
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Influences on
Foreign Policy Choice
 International
• Polarity and polarization
• Geographic position
 Domestic
• Military capabilities
• Economic conditions
• Type of government
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Democratic Peace Theory
 Asserts that democracies are more
peaceful than other states.
 Ironically, could provide a rationale
for war, because a war that instills a
democracy could reduce the chances
of war in the long run.
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Two Versions
 The Simple Democratic Peace Model
 The Dyadic View
• Structural argument
• Normative argument
• Institutional argument
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Zone of Peace
 European Union (EU)
 North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO)
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Interest Groups
in Foreign Policy
 What do they want?
• Money, protection, policy
 How do they influence foreign policy?
• Votes, money, lobbyists
 To what extent do interest groups
drive foreign policy?
• Very influential in the U.S., varies in
other states
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Public Opinion
1. What does public opinion look like?
2. What effect should public opinion
have on policy?
3. What effect does public opinion
have on foreign policy?
4. What influences public opinion on
foreign policy?
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The Media in Foreign Policy
 The businesses aspect of journalism
 Efforts to influence media coverage
 Media power: “the CNN effect”
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Three Models of Influence
 Rational action model
 Bureaucratic politics model
 Organizational process model
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Geographic Influence on
Foreign Policy
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How Free is Your Country?
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Questions for
Critical Thinking
(1 of 2)
1. What factors explain why George W. Bush did not
take action when given intelligence warnings of
impending terrorist attacks in the weeks prior to
September 11, 2001?
2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the
history-making individuals model? Who qualifies
as a history-making individual?
3. What factors explain why bureaucracies do not
always produce the best options?
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Questions for
Critical Thinking
(2 of 2)
4.
What are some contemporary examples of the
importance of geopolitics?
5.
In what ways does the individual level of
analysis affect foreign policy making?
6.
How does public opinion in the U.S. affect
current foreign policy?
7.
What are the three most influential mass media
in this country?
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Web Links
 The Cuban Missile Crisis
 Freedom, Democracy, Peace, Power,
Democide, and War
 Freedom House
 The Presidents: PBS’s The American
Experience
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