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Cover

The Decision Point

Six Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy Decision Making

David Patrick Houghton

Publication Date - July 2012

ISBN: 9780199743520

304 pages
Paperback
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $35.95

The only text that discusses major theories of foreign policy decision-making and applies them to a range of vital decisions in American foreign policy

Description

Filling a gap in the U.S. foreign policy textbook market, this innovative introduction shows students how real American foreign policy makers make real decisions. Drawing on and summarizing a vast amount of literature, author David Patrick Houghton introduces students to three basic theories of decision-making. He then applies each of these perspectives to six well-known historical cases that range from classic to contemporary: the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the Iran Hostage Crisis, the Kosovo War, and the Iraq War. Houghton uses the crucial "decision points" of these events to give students a sense of what it is actually like to make high-level decisions. He also shows how the theories discussed in the book can be applied to these case studies.

Featuring a direct, accessible writing style, coverage of recent advances in the field--including new psychological models like prospect theory and poliheuristic theory--and an affordable price, The Decision Point: Six Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy Decision Making serves as a perfect text or supplement for courses in U.S. Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Decision-Making.

About the Author(s)

David Patrick Houghton is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida. He is the author of three other books, including Political Psychology: Situations, Individuals, and Cases (2008) and U.S. Foreign Policy and the Iran Hostage Crisis (2001) and numerous articles published in internationally known journals.

Table of Contents

    Preface
    PART I. THEORIES
    Chapter 1. The Decision Point: An Introduction
    The Traditions of Foreign Policy Decision-Making
    Homo Economicus or the Rational Actor Model (RAM)
    Three Alternatives to Homo Economicus
    Homo Bureaucraticus
    Homo Sociologicus
    Homo Psychologicus
    Levels of Analysis
    Outline of the Book
    Chapter 2. Homo Bureaucraticus
    1. The Opening to China
    2. The Hainan Island Incident of 2001
    The Assumptions of Homo Bureaucraticus
    "Where You Stand Depends On Where You Sit"
    Organizational Culture: "The Way Things Are Done Around Here"
    Chapter 3. Homo Sociologicus
    Explaining the Iran-Contra Fiasco
    The Assumptions of Homo Sociologicus
    From Homo Sociologicus to Homo Psychologicus
    Chapter 4. Homo Psychologicus
    The Mayaguez Raid: Why The Rush?
    "Bears To Honey": The Irresistible Pull of Analogical Reasoning
    The Assumptions of Homo Psychologicus
    From Theories to Case Studies
    PART II. CASE STUDIES
    Chapter 5. The Bay of Pigs: "How Could I Have Been So Stupid?"
    A Thorn or a Dagger?
    1. Homo Bureaucraticus
    2. Homo Sociologicus
    3. Homo Psychologicus
    Assessing the Three Approaches: Some Points to Consider
    Conclusions
    Chapter 6. To the Brink: The Cuban Missile Crisis
    Rational Decision-Making?
    1. Homo Bureaucraticus
    2. Homo Sociologicus
    3. Homo Psychologicus
    Assessing the Three Perspectives
    Chapter 7. An Agonizing Decision: Escalating the Vietnam War
    Why Did Johnson Escalate?
    1. Homo Bureaucraticus
    2. Homo Sociologicus
    3. Homo Psychologicus
    Assessing the Three Perspectives
    Chapter 8. Disaster in the Desert: The Iran Hostage Crisis
    The Hostages are Taken
    Explaining Carter's Decisions
    1. Homo Bureaucraticus
    2. Homo Sociologicus
    3. Homo Psychologicus
    Assessing the Three Perspectives
    Chapter 9. NATO Intervenes: 78 Days Over Kosovo
    The Historical Background to the Conflict
    1. Homo Bureaucraticus
    2. Homo Sociologicus
    3. Homo Psychologicus
    Assessing the Three Perspectives
    Chapter 10. Into Iraq: A War of Choice
    Why Did the United States Decide to Invade Iraq?
    1. Homo Bureaucraticus
    2. Homo Sociologicus
    3. Homo Psychologicus
    Assessing the Three Perspectives
    Chapter 11. Conclusions: A Personal View
    Bibliography
    Index