Unformatted text preview: riends, colleagues, and family. Parents know that if they do not keep their promises and carry out their threats, their children will learn to disregard their rules. Moreover, people quickly discover which friends are reliable and which ones frequently break their promises. But people reason differently in their daily lives than they do in high
stakes international crises. In their daily lives, people quickly estimate the odds of friends showing up on time, and children carelessly calculate the odds that parents will punish bad behavior. But when faced with momentous decisions, leaders abandon the simple heuristics that people employ in mundane circumstances; they model the situation more carefully. n11 The intuition behind the past actions theory, however appealing, is based on a dubious leap from behavior in daily life to decisionmaking in lifeanddeath crises. This article offers both good and bad news for U.S. foreign policy. The good news is that power is a key determinant of credibility. In this age of U.S. hegemony, the U...
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- Summer '12