This evolving body of literature has converged around a central propo sition

This evolving body of literature has converged around

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This evolving body of literature has converged around a central propo- sition: decision-making processes determine the content of foreign policy. Accordingly,political leadership is portrayed interms of the ability to per- suade and to achieve consensus among policy makers. From this vantage point, foreign policy reflects the necessities of the conditions in which it is forged what is required to obtain agreement – [as much] as it does the merits of that policy.3 The contours of this debate are defined in Graham Allison’s seminal work on the Cuban missile crisis, The Essence of Decision-Making. Allison challenges what he refers to as the rational policy model, which ‘attempts to understand happenings as the more or less purposive acts of unified national governments’ Allison and his followers argue that although in many instances the rational policy model may beuseful, it neglects the role of bureaucracy in determining foreign policy.6 Allison proposed two alternative models to address this intellectual lacuna: the organizational process model, or Model II, and the bureaucratic politics model (BPM), or Model III. However, the explana- tory power of Model II proved to be limited, particularly in relation to foreign policy change and innovation. In addition, critics claimed that it was not clear whether Model III was separate from or merely an extension of Model II.7 Eventually, the organizational politics model was collapsed into the BPM,‘relegating the organizational process to the status of “con- straints” within the bureaucratic model paradigm The BPM explains foreign policy in terms of a conglomerate of large, bureaucratic organizationsand political actors. The former are relevant to foreign policy on two counts. First,they generate outputs that structure the situations in which policy makers take decisions. These outputs include: the information bureaucracies provide to governments; the foreign pol- icy alternatives presented for government to choose from; and the rou- tine responses, coined standard operating procedures (SOPs) by scholars, which shape how foreign policy decisions ultimately are implemented.9 Implementation, as Brighi and Hill argue forcefully, is hardly a technical- ity. Itis, fundamentally, a political activity in that it reflects a clash of wills and struggle over resources between different actors, including bureaucra- cies (on implementation see also in Chapter 2). Second, bureaucracies tend to develop common attitudes and shared images. These
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conventional attitudes and images play a role in framing how a particular foreign policy issue or event is perceived by foreign policy makers. Bureaucracies often will employ the prism of their common attitudes and shared images to studythe implications of a foreign policy event for policy making. For example, when considering a security issue, the Treasury tends to focus on the budgetary implications, the Department of Defence on the repercus- sions for national security,while the Foreign Office most likely focuses on the diplomatic and international political ramifications.
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