1. Reading Group - War & Misperception Summary

1. Reading Group - War & Misperception Summary - (Week...

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(Week 7) R. Jervis "War and Misperception" Introduction In this article, Jervis explains misperception by analyzing warfare on a psychological level. Jervis examines how misperception is a contributing factor to why wars may break out, however, misperception is not the causation of war. He adds that misperception plays a large role in warfare due to overestimations or underestimations a state may have upon each other. Possible areas of misperception Misperception can be found in… Capabilities Military optimism & political and diplomatic pessimism - when a state is willing to fight and win the war yet is not willing to negotiate, their military situation is likely to deteriorate. Anticipated consequences of events Ex: USA’s motive to fight in Vietnam is not to save their country, but to forestall the expected repercussions of defeat. To solve, we need to determine the state’s motives and goals, and misperception of realities faced by the state. We are likely to focus on misjudgment on intentions rather than misjudgment of situation. War without misperception There is at least one large misperception made in warfare. Rational decision to take part of war even if they will lose is possible because they domestically have a goal of improving man’s society, consideration of honor, they value in their combat. Internationally, they consider the object to impress third world countries, or perversely, show that the country is weak can strengthen the state’s bargaining position. The probabilistic nature of judgments, the victory factor determines if a state wants to go to war. Those who start wars often lose them (Ex: Austria vs. Germany in 1914) – the expectation of victory was not a necessary condition for their decision to
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course POLI 244 taught by Professor Saideman during the Fall '07 term at McGill.

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1. Reading Group - War & Misperception Summary - (Week...

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