Precedence: first-class Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 12:42:25 -0500 (EST) From: Jasmine Shahana Huda X-Sender: To: MIME-Version: 1.0 Status: RO X-Status: A Pierre - Okay, I've figured it out. The paper's attached. (I think!!!) Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; name=cuban Content-ID: Content-Description: Conceptual Models Paper

Jasmine Huda

Intro to World Politics 160.005


Conceptual Models of Foreign Policy Behavior

response to Graham T. Allison's "Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis"

In "Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis," Graham T. Allison shows that the Rational Policy, Organizational Process, and Bureaucratic Politics Models differ in their notions about the basic analyses and organizing factors involved in foreign policy decisions. Allison's application of these approaches to the Cuban Missile Crisis illustrate the basic rationale of each model. While the Rational Model reflects a more realist approach-that governments are the unitary actors in foreign affairs-the Organizational and Bureaucratic Politics paradigms respectively propose that organizations and government "players" heavily account for the events that take place in world politics. Each model can be viewed on its own terms to explain the behavior of governments in foreign and military affairs. However, as Allison states, a more thorough assessment may illustrate that foreign policy decisions result not from the approaches outlined in one model, but from a combination of those presented in all three models. Foreign policy decisions can involve many factors, with governments as the main actors, supplemented by the participation of organizations and individual persons. Such an approach relates to the general notion that other forces can influence the behavior of the agent of action in international relations.

The Rational Policy Model is based on the realist-like premise that the nation or government assumes the role as the unitary decision maker. According to Allison, the government considers the most pragmatic courses of action that can best fulfill the goals of national security. Allison relates this approach to the Cuban Missile Crisis, as he states six possible courses of action the U.S. government could have taken during the 1962 incident. The government carried out the sixth one, the blockade, because it provided us with a number of advantages, which included placing the nation in a firm, but not too aggressive position in the crisis, and forcing Russia to take the next course of action. Russett and Starr discuss these and other features of the Rational Policy Model in Chapter 10, including the Incremental and Intellectual Processes used to formulate foreign policy decisions. In making decisions incrementally, rationalist leaders can make small changes serially and avoid potential risks. At the same time, however, an incremental policy can also lead to an unintended, full-scale involvement in an event, as Russett and Starr claim was the case with Vietnam. Another possible example of an incremental approach may be the U.S.'s involvement in World War II, as it slowly moved from an isolationist state, to selling arms belligerent countries, to finally becoming immersed in the war.

Allison offers a valid point of contention when he states that the Rational Policy Model alone cannot explain the decision-making process. Although governments do act as the major actors in foreign policy, they are not the true "monoliths" as described in the Rational approach. The second and third models underscore the fact that individuals and organizations play major roles in foreign policy processes. Allison presents the Organizational Process Model to show that decisions stem not from rational decisions, but from the outputs of organizational processes. Organizations act according to strict, pre-established routines that produce the desired output. The third model, the Bureaucratic Politics Model, proposes that the central leaders are politically positioned above organizations and assume the roles of "players" in an intense political "game." The Bureaucratic model possess some similarity to the Organizational approach in that it highlights that government behavior results from some sort of output. The output for this model, however, deals with bargaining games. Allison describes bargaining games as an operation in which leaders compete to enact decisions, or output. The status of these "players", whether it be a "Chief" (a category which includes, but is not limited to, the President, Secretaries of State, Defense, and Treasury, and the Director of the CIA), the staff of the "Chiefs," or "Indians" (another category which includes political appointees and government officials, members of the press, interest group spokesmen, and others), enable and constrain the abilities of the players in the bureaucratic game of decision making.

Further analysis shows that although these models differ in some fundamental ways, they can still be conceptually viewed together when examining certain foreign policy decisions. Going back to the World War II example: Toward the end of its isolationist phase, America replaced its neutrality acts and began to engage in military arms policies with other countries. The Lend-Lease Policy empowered FDR to sell or lease war equipment to countries whose defense he considered important to the safety of the United States. In this scenario, America's security and economic interests relate the Rational Policy's goal of preserving national welfare. Organizations also played important roles in WWII. Wartime government agencies, such as the War Labor Board and the Office of War Information, were established to help the nation function through the war. Finally, the position of president allowed FDR to act as a "Chief" in the model of Bureaucratic Politics. Allison states that "foreign policy Chiefs deal most often with the hottest issue de jour, though they can get the attention of the President and other members of the government for other issues which they judge important." (711)

The involvement of all three models can thus appear in certain foreign policies. The degree to which each model becomes involved will differ, however. While a rationalist policy may seem simplistic by itself in explaining foreign policy decisions, its fundamental nature proves to be effective in examining a government's involvement in foreign affairs. The other two models can provide additional reasoning about other factors that may influence international events.