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RATIONALITY/RATIONAL DECISION MAKING *Can rational accounts of foreign policy-making ever be reconciled with their critiques? *'Rationality prevails in foreign policy decision-making.' Discuss *Can foreign policy decision-making ever be described as rational? *Do bureaucracies promote rational foreign policy decisions? *'Rationalism is still the most cogent explanation of an opponents foreign policy". Discuss. *What is misperception and does it matter? *When and why does misperception matter? *Is the concept of "misperception" useful in explaining foreign policy? *What are the most important elemetns of the "psychological environment of decision-making? *What is groupthink and can it be avoided? *Discuss the problems encountered by EITHER individuals OR organizations in handling large flows of foreign policy information. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I NTRO - Heyday of rationality was during 50s and 60s when many believed rationality could be instilled in the d-making process. (i.e Mcnamara attempts to apply) - Assumptions of rational behavior permeate all of social science and esp. IR theory. -Rational analyses of FP underlie much of our ordinary interpretation of intl events, and making assumptions about unitary nature of d-makers when we talk about "American FP". Thus, while the criticisms of rationality remain both powerful and valid, its assumptions still play an important part in much of our day-to-day understanding of FP. I) WHAT IS RATIONALITY/RAM? - Rational appraoches build off of realist assumptions: assumes undifferentiated d-making body (unitary actor) rather than one composed of different d-makers, states all equally legitimate, national interest self-evident (no dissent), ultimately domestic debate process irrevelent, outcome interested - Ultimate aim of foreign policy- maximisation of utility by actors (state) *Rational FP d-making in 2 stages: 1) identify and prioritise FP goals -Possessional (short term interests) vs. Milieu goals (long term interests) 2) identify and select means to fulfill aims at lowest possible cost. -Optimal outcomes, within framework of availibility, are both goal and guide for FP . - 1) identify/prioritise goals 2) all important possible ways of solving problem or acheiving goals listed- these are alternative
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strategies/policies 3) consequences of each alternative strategy predicted, 4) consequences of each is compared with goals/obj identified,
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