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The Decision Point; Six Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy Decision Making

ISBN: 9780199743520 | 0199743525
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pub. Date: 7/18/2012

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This book is intended as a different kind of introduction to American foreign policy, one whose focus is on the decisions that people in Washington DC make - and, indeed, on the decision-makers themselves - rather than on broad historical accounts of the general shape that US foreign policy has taken in the past, guides to contemporary issues being debated or detailed accounts of the different institutions and government offices involved in the policymaking process. Introducing students to US foreign policy decision-making through three general perspectives - termed here Homo Bureaucraticus, Homo Sociologicus and Homo Psychologicus - it then uses 'decision points' drawn from a variety of case studies (the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam war, the Iran hostage crisis, the Kosovo war and the Iraq war) to show how real US foreign policy decision-makers make real decisions. Drawing on a huge amount of literature, the book introduces the reader to a few basic theories of decision-making and then applies each of these to a range of historical cases in an understandable and student-friendly way. It tries to give students some sense of what it is really like to make high-level decisions, shows how far many of those decisions fall short of the exalted standards of 'pure rationality', and suggests ways in which they might apply various decision-making theories to some well-known cases from the recent (and not-so-recent) conduct of American foreign policy.


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