Graham Allison Note

Graham Allison Note - Graham Allison, Conceptual Models and...

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Graham Allison, Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1969) Introduction: - The principal purpose of this essay is to explore some of the fundamental assumptions and categories employed by analysts in thinking about problems of governmental behaviour, especially in foreign and military affairs 1. Analysts think about problems of foreign and military policy in terms of largely implicit conceptual models that have significant consequences for the content of their thought. The logic of explanation requires that he single out the relevant, important determinants of the occurrence 2. Most analysts explain (and predict) the behaviour of national governments in terms of various forms of one basic conceptual model, here entitled the Rational Policy Model (Model I) analysts attempt to understand happenings as the more or less purposive acts of unified national governments 3. Two "alternative" conceptual models, here labelled an Organizational Process Model (Model II) and a Bureaucratic Politics Model (Model III) provide a base for improved explanation and pre-diction The third model focuses on the internal politics of a government Happenings in foreign affairs are understood, according to the bureaucratic politics model, neither as choices nor as outputs - the 3 models outline "alternative explanations" of the same happening illustrate differences among the models at work. A crisis decision, by a small group of men in the context of ultimate threat, this is a case of the rational policy model par excellence Model I: Rational Policy Rational Policy Model Illustrated - How do analysts attempt to explain the Soviet emplacement of missiles in Cuba? the introduction of strategic missiles into Cuba was motivated chiefly by the Soviet leaders' desire to overcome . . . the existing large margin of U.S. strategic superiority - This set of assumptions characterizes the rational policy model. The as-sertion that Model I is the standard frame of reference assumes that what must be explained is an action, i.e., the realization of some purpose or intention assumes that the actor is the national government assumes that the action is chosen as a calculated response to a strategic problem o explanation consists of showing what goal the government was pursuing in committing the act and how this action was a reasonable choice Rational Policy Paradigm 1. Basic Unit of Analysis: Policy as National Choice Government select the actions that will maximize strategic goals and objectives 2. Organizing Concepts a. National Actor: the nation or government, conceived as rational, is the agent with one set of specified goals and an estimate of the consequences b. The Problem: action is chosen in response to the problem the nation faces c. Static Selection: all actors decisions constitute into the state’s collective solution
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d. Actions as Rational Choice d.i. Goals and Objectives: national security and national interest are how goals are conceived
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This note was uploaded on 02/11/2012 for the course POLI 243 taught by Professor Markbrawley during the Spring '09 term at McGill.

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Graham Allison Note - Graham Allison, Conceptual Models and...

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