Disicion making - DECISION MAKING If states were the only...

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DECISION MAKING If states were the only important actors and all states simply responded to their environment according to the same rational logic, there would be no need to disaggregate the state-as-actor or to consider a multiplicity of domestic and international influences. Although it is possible to chart relations among states (as realists sometimes do) without ever looking "inside" the states, pluralists argue that a complete understanding of the reasons for these relations requires analysis of the decision-making pro- cess. In this section we first examine some early work on foreign policy decision making, and then we focus on scholarly literature that examines the role of individuals and bureaucracies in the formulation of foreign policy. One of the first major attempts to develop a systematic decision- making approach to the study of international politics was made in the early 1950s by Richard С Snyder and his colleagues. 12 Snyder stated that the focus of international relations research should be on the actions, reactions, and interactions of states. For him, the state is specifically its decision makers, and state action "is the action taken by those acting in the name of the state." 13 So far, realists would have little with which to disagree. Snyder, however, emphasized that his analytical objective was to re- create the world as actual decision makers view it in order to explain behavior. This led him to discuss (1) subjective factors from the stand- 198 P LURALISM : D ECISION M AKING , T RANSNATIONALISM , AND I NTERDEPENDENCE
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point of decision makers—how they define the situation—not from the perspective of the analyst, and (2) potential sources of state action found in the decision makers' setting. The framework hence draws attention to numerous factors at different levels of analysis. Under the heading "internal setting," for example, domestic politics and public opinion are listed as potentially important elements in the formulation and execution of foreign policy. Nongovernmental factors and relations between countries (trade, family ties, shared values, mass media, migration, cultural exchanges) may also be important. Snyder therefore developed a decision-making framework consisting of numerous factors. It was up to the scholar to test them empirically by means of case studies. The relative importance of any one factor would vary from case to case. This work is considered a pioneering effort, particularly given Sny- der's claim that the foreign policy process could be studied scientifically. From the standpoint of the current state of the international relations discipline, such a perspective on decision making may seem passe, little more than an inventory of potentially relevant factors. For our purposes, it is important to point out that Snyder argued for the systematic con- sideration of a number of factors that may influence the decisions of flesh-and-blood policymakers. The framework explicitly emphasizes per- ception
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This note was uploaded on 10/11/2011 for the course COMM 1451 taught by Professor Macky during the Fall '10 term at ESDES Commerce et Management.

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Disicion making - DECISION MAKING If states were the only...

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