Foreign Policy Decision Making Models
The material in this section is based on
Kegley & Wittkopf, World Politics, 8th Ed. 2001
Chapter 3, Foreign Policy Decision Making, pp. 53 - 83
Rational Actor Decision Making Model
Rational Decision Making requires
Possible Examples of Rational Decision Making
Limitations on Rational Choice
Bureaucratic Decision Making Model
There is no single rational actor making decisions. Central governments are complex bureaucracies. In the United States, the U.S. President shares decision-making with the National Security Council, Defense Department, State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other bureaucracies.
Bureaucracies are formal, hierarchical organizations. There is a huge literature on bureaucracy beginning with Max Weber's ideal type. The following cite several approaches to bureaucratic decision making.
History-Making Individuals Model of Decision Making
This model looks at the great men of history: FDR, Churchill, Stalin, de Gaulle, Hitler, Mussolini. Great men make history. Foreign policy is shaped by the leaders who run their countries: George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein, Gerhard Schroeder, Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin. If these leaders are not as great as the first six, then the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, is not right. World War II put everyone on a different pedestal than do times of peace, or relative peace.
Why do leaders often make foolish decisions? Why do they make decisions that are self-destructive to themselves and their country? For example, Hitler and Hussein led their countries to disastrous consequences.
Procedural Rationality refers to the realist's rational actor model; whereas instrumental rationality is rational only if one accepts the leader's goals. From Hitler's point of view, world conquest was rational. That's what he wanted, so every decision that led in that direction was followed even if it led to certain disaster in the long run.
Tools of State Power for the Conduct of Foreign Policy
FOREIGN POLICY ACTORS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES
Head of State, Head of Government, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Director of Central Intelligence, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ambassadors.
Office of the President, National Security Council, State Department, Defense Department, Central Intelligence Agency, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Embassies, Consulates, Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigations, etc.
Actors in the Legislative and Judicial Branches:
Chairmen and ranking minority members of Standing Committees of Congress. Congressional staff persons involved with foreign policy issues.
Judges of Federal Courts, especially U.S. Supreme Court judges.
U.S. Congress: Standing Committees of Congress: Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Appropriations Committees
Limited Role of Domestic Courts in Foreign Relations, U.S. Supreme Court
Governors of the Fifty States, Mayors of Major Cities, State and Local Governments' Trade Representatives and the institutions associated with these individuals.
Private (Non-Public) Actors:
Former Presidents (Bill Clinton), Secretaries of State (Henry Kissinger),
older statesmen (George Kennan),
Foreign Policy Institutes of Major Research Universities, Think Tanks, Corporate and Labor Executives, Leaders of the Opposition Political Parties, the MEDIA, spokespeople for various ethnic and religious groups, interest groups, and the public at large.
Various Voluntary Associations.
American Public Opinion. Various societal communities. Jewish-Americans, Irish-Americans, etc.
Copyright Dr. Harold Damerow
Copyright Dr. Harold Damerow