Jack Levy Note

Jack Levy Note - Misperception and the Causes of War:...

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Misperception and the Causes of War: Theoretical Linkages and Analytical Problems – Jack S. Levy I. The Literature - aim is to provide a conceptualization of the forms of misperception and the theoretical linkages by which each may contribute to war under certain conditions - system-level analysis are inconsistent with a growing body of theory, systemic empirical research, and historical case studied on decision making and crisis behaviour - misperceptions are a key variable in many ‘non- rational’ perspectives on conflict theories of foreign policy provide a comprehensive analysis of the sources of misperception, but are not concerned with their consequences - addresses the question as to which kinds of misperception are most likely to lead to war II. Forms of Misperception - sources cited by White: (1) diabolical enemy image (2) virile self-image (3) moral self-image (4) selective inattentions (5) absence of empathy (6) military over-confidence - sources cited by Stoessinger: (1) a leaders perception of himself (2) his perceptions of his adversary’s character (3) his perceptions of the adversary’s intentions (4) his perceptions of his adversary’s power and capabilities (5) a leader’s capacity for empathy with his counter player on the other side - problems: they fail to deal differentiate between misperceptions themselves and the sources of misperception what is it that is misperceived? Images of oneself or an adversary are not themselves misperceptions - correct to ask “how was this misperception derived from available information?” Only meaningful if there exists in principle a correct perception - misperception involves a discrepancy between the psychological environment of the decision makers and the operational environment of the ‘real world’ Effects or consequences are constrained by the latter - capabilities and intentions as two central forms misperception of these contributes to the process leading to war - what can be misperceived here are others’ perception of our capabilities and intentions These misperceptions of the adversary’s perceptions therefore lead directly to misperceptions of his intentions Can also distort our cost-benefit analysis and can lead to serious miscalculations of the consequences of our own actions o Misperceptions of intentions are caused by our perceptions
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Jack Levy Note - Misperception and the Causes of War:...

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