Dan Lindley

September 27, 2006

POLS 30201, USFP, Lecture 1:


1.    Intro To Politics and Arguments

2.    M & Fs

3.    Introduce Myself and TA

4.    Introduce Course

5.    Review Syllabus: requirements and readings


6.    Mini-Lecture:

       1.    What is USFP?

              1.    A means-ends chain for increasing security and wealth.

       2.    The setting for USFP

              1.    anarchy

              2.    change and evolution

              3.    What is the setting?

       3.    The process of USFP: Peeling the Onion

              1.    Two themes:

                     (1)  many actors, different interests

                     (2)  control and flow of information

       4.    Making arguments about USFP

              1.    The need for theory and methodology’

       5.    Intellectual goals of course:

              1.    Writing clearly

              2.    Thinking critically

                     (1)  What is the argument?

                     (2)  Why is it being made?

                     (3)  What are the counterarguments?

       6.    Reality: Good and Bad Times


1.   Lessons:

        1.     Beware image of Authority

        2.     Politics is about power: getting it, keeping it, increasing it.

                1.     Thus, almost everything in Politics is said with Spin, often with an ulterior motive. People are trying to motivate you one way or the other.

                2.     Many arguments have some kernel of truth, so be careful of seduction by half truths.

        3.     Critical thinking and argumentation is the point of this course.

                1.     Carry an Edge

                2.     Be Skeptical

                3.     Think Analytically; Push the Course Around

        4.     Participate!


Myths and Fears about Class Participation

Dan Lindley, v. 1.1


1.    Myth/fear: I will ask a stupid question and everyone will find out that I am dumb.

       a.    Fact: 98.7% of questions are not dumb 1

       b.    Fact: 99.6% of questions motivated by curiosity are not dumb

       c.    Fact: Most other students will be thinking: thank goodness someone asked that question because they didn't understand it either (you will be a hero)

       d.    Fact: Most people fear that they will be found out to be dumb


2.    Myth/fear: I will ask a good question but this will challenge the professor and this will upset him and he will lower my grade, especially if he is wrong.

       a.    Fact: those who challenge me are courageous heroes (unfortunately, b/c it should be normal). Hero-dom is also assured by the following:

       b.    Fact: those who correct me make me more accurate and truthful

       c.    Fact: those who criticize me help me (try to) be excellent

       d.    Fact: those who ask hard questions usually help me learn.

       e.    Fact: Students engaged in any of the above often demonstrate admirable intellectual acuity.


3.    Myth/fear: I will interrupt the lecture by asking a question.

       a.    Fact: it's true, but so what?


4.    Myth/fear: I will answer a question poorly and I will look like an idiot.

       a.    Fact: 97.2% of answers are not dumb, virtually none are idiotic.  Sincerity and trying one's best wards off dumbness.

       b.    Fact: 98.9% of all answers are greatly appreciated by this professor. Even the very few dumb answers are usually appreciated as they are a jumping off point for further discussion and debate.  Of the less appreciated answers (1.1%), 97.6% create annoyance because of ego-centrism and social maladjustment, not dumbness.2

       c.    Fact: Most students will also greatly appreciate your answer as it helps them learn how their peers are thinking about the issue. Debate and discussion helps even non-participators think about the course materials with greater depth and perspective.


5.    Jervis bowling shoe exercise: Why is Lindley in this business?

       a.    To help students learn, to help himself learn, to debate and be intellectually stimulated. Questions are part of why I am here!!

 1. Factz I. Makemup, "Spuriating the Factoid," Journal of Irreproducible Results, Vol. 0, (Y2K), page 3.

2. Makemup, "Spuriating the Factoid," page 4.







POLS 30201, USFP, Lecture 2


1.     Main aims for today:

        a.     unpack the means-ends chain

        b.     develop args and ctr-args

        c.     learn to parse problems into component parts


2.     Means: What Tools Can Promote the National Interest?

        a.     Money, Military Force, Symbols, Business, Travel, Communications, Propaganda.....


3.     Ends: What is the National Interest?

        a.     Security and wealth are two obvious choices, but how are they defined and how are they best promoted and pursued?

        b.     What is the role of values in defining interests?

        c.     A "vital" interest is one for which you would be willing to go to war.


        d.     Historical variations and tensions in the US national interest:

                i.     Realism vs. Idealism and Liberalism

                        (1)   Realism: nations interests are power and wealth; their influence is based on power and wealth. Dangerous to overplay values or ideals.

                        (2)   Idealism and Liberalism: values significantly help define our interests

                                (a)   not liberalism necessarily domestically defined

                        (3)   Which is more moral?


                ii.    Interventionism and Globalism vs. Isolationism

                        (1)   Interventionism and Globalism

                        (2)   Isolationism


2.    Ends and Means: Who decides what the national interest is? And how is the national interest pursued?

       a.    Four-step model:

              i.     Agenda Setting-->

              ii.   Option Formulation-->

              iii.  Decision Making-->

              iv.   Implementation


       b.    There are many influences on each step in the model.

              i.     Psychology, allies, domestic politics, etc.

              ii.   A key question: If one assumes that the goal of foreign policy is to promote U.S. interests, does the foreign policy process yield optimal, near optimal, or even good enough results? What explains sub-optimal results?


       c.    Theories and Methodology are needed to think analytically about this blender of influences

              i.     Theory: A causal statement, with an explanation. (A causes B)

                     (1)  That can be arrow-diagramed (A---->B)

              ii.   Methodology: Tools to prove as best as one can that A causes B.

                     (1)  Theories create predictions about what evidence would support them.


       d.    The model applied to decision for Iraq War

              i.     Note many alternative explanations at each step. What evidence would support each argument?


3.    The Readings

       a.    Bush’s National Security Strategy

              i.     What is it? What is new? Is it useful? What is truly felt and what is pablum? What would you change?


       b.    The Almanacs and their facts:

              i.     Keep your eye on the big picture: power, wealth, influence


       c.    New World Coming


       d.    Global Trends


              i.     Both are breathtaking in scope, scary, almost haunting.

 POLS 30201 - USFP: Structural Constraints and Incentives


4.    Jervis and the Security Dilemma

       a.    Starting point for realism: structure

              i.     anarchy vs hierarchy

       b.    Anarchy leads to:

              i.     War is always possible

                     (1)  Self-help (aka, sort of, functional similarity)

                            (a)  Concerns for Relative Gains

                                    (i)   security dilemma

                            (b)  Collective action problems

                                    (i)   tragedy of the commons


       c.    What is the security dilemma?

              i.     See other slide

              ii.   Often only means weapons, but I think it also describes a general level of fear and threat assessment


       d.    Manipulating the severity of the security dilemma:

              i.     the Offense/Defense Balance

                     (1)  Influences on the Balance

POLS 30201 - Responses to Threats: Jervis, Deterrence and Spiral -Two strategies for dealing threats and enemies

       e.    When threatened do you deter or appease?

              i.     Deterrence

                     (1)  capability

                     (2)  resolve

                     (3)  communication

                     (4)  rationality

              ii.   Costs of Deterrence = spirals

                     (1)  security dilemma

              iii.  How to Choose?


Deterrence Model:

⇑ Strength ---> Back Down (Prevent War)


Spiral Model:

⇑ Strength ---> Rear Up (Arms Races, Security Spirals)


⇑ ⇓↑↓





(sometimes similar to balancing)

Deterrence works: no war

Backfires: leads to spiral, arms race, tension


(sometimes similar to bandwagoning); or despiral

Appeasement works: no war

Fails: whets appetite of aggressor, so not just war, but war against stronger adversary


Continuum of non-balancing policies:

Bandwagon <—> Appease <—> Despiral


Continuum of balancing policies:

Pre-empt <—> Misc. denial <—>Build up/Ally w\others


POLS 30201 - Responses to Threats: Walt and Balance of Threat

       a.    Q. Where do friends and alliances come from?

       b.    A. Balancing against threats.

              i.     vs. bandwagoning

              ii.   any other options/strategies?


       c.    Four components of (influences on) threat are:

              i.     aggregate power

              ii.   geography

              iii.  offensive power

              iv.   intentions


       d.    Note competing explanations and structure of argument


       e.    Note policy implications

POLS 30201 - Psychological influences on decision-making


1.    Jervis, Misperception

       a.    How does psychology influence decision-making?

              i.     Newtonian Psychology hypothesis

              ii.   pre-Copernican Psychology

              iii.  Bowling Shoe hypothesis


       b.    How do these relate to other theories?


2.    Janis, Groupthink

       a.    How do group dynamics influence decision-making?

       b.    Groupthink: For a variety of reasons, working in groups constrains options.

              i.     Groups –> less options

       c.    Janis argues that Groupthink accounts for/subsumes/helps explain these factors:

              i.     Time pressures

              ii.   Bureaucratic detachment

              iii.  Stereotypes of communists and Asians

              iv.   Overcommitment to defeat of enemy

              v.    Domestication of dissenters

              vi.   Avoidance of opposing views


       d.    Recent research: often groups or amalgamated preferences are wiser....


POLS 30201: Ostrom and Problems of Cooperation, viewed through Game Theory


1.    Three problems that hinder cooperation, all caused or exacerbated by anarchy:

              i.     Tragedy of the Commons

              ii.   Prisoners’ Dilemma

                     (1)  Note the assumptions of the game....

              iii.  Collective Action Problems


2.    How can one fix these problems?

              i.     hints: enforcement, communication, reciprocity, shadow of the future/concern for reputation. (from 241/141)


POLS 30201: How Domestic Politics Influences Intl Politics, Putnam and the Two-Level Game


1.    Two main arguments:

       a.    domestic politics influences FP

       b.    FP can be used to manipulate domestic politics


2.    Win sets: what are they?

       a.    Role of (private information)

       b.    Role of Linkage

       c.    Role of Domestic Institutions


3.    Cool observations:

       a.    small win-sets increase collective action problems

       b.    weakness can be a strength

       c.    negotiators may want their opponent to be strong and popular

       d.    hardliners may find it easier to make soft-lines deals.





1.    Misc M&P

       a.    Theme: lots of different perspectives: hegemonic decline, imperialist, racist, gendered, etc.






WIN SET DIAGRAM, Putnam, 442




Win-set = acceptable range of outcomes for a given party. Acceptable includes factoring in domestic politics.


Deal = when there is overlap between win-sets



Decoding: Ym = Y’s maximum goals, Xm = X’s maximum goals, the rest are bargaining positions with Y3 being Y’s smallest win set (ie smallest distance between maximum and acceptable goals). Deals can be found anywhere between Y1 and X1.


Y is decreasing win-set size by moving to the right, from Y1 to Y2, and then killing the deal withY3.


For example, Ym is Y (Israel) getting all of Golan Heights and Y1 is getting only ⅓ of Golan, while Syria gets ⅔.


The trick to the article is specifying all the influences that affect win-set sizes (aka ability to bargain and reach deals).



Prisoner's Dilemma


                                                             Prisoner # 1

                                                  Silent Confess














C=Cooperate; D=Defect

CC= both silent, nailed on minor charge, both get 1 year in jail

DC, CD=one confesses (rats), the other silent. Silent guy is major league evil, gets 15 years. Rat gets time served.

DD=both rat, both pretty evil, both get 10 years.


It is logical for both to Defect – Individual rationality trumps joint gains.


What are barriers to cooperation? Game highlights basic incentives to defect/cheat given certain assumptions: No verification, no communication, one shot iteration, no concern for future, distrust (?). How to overcome those barriers?

























Fisherperson’s Dilemma


                                                Fisher # 1

                                       Cooperate Cheat 



Fisher #2














CC: both gain and pre-crisis stocks are eventually restored.

CD, DC: One gaining twice and one losing from cheating and thinning fish

DD: Both losing everything from no fish, having to use savings to look for job, etc.


Game highlights Common Goods/Tragedy of the Commons Problems (CPRs common pooled resources)


Also relevant: Stag Hunt



The Security Dilemma


The dilemma: "An increase in one state's security decreases the security of others."


Anarchy ---> Fears ---> Security dilemma


Security dilemma is: ⇑ My security = ⇓ Your security


Security dilemma ---> Arms Races, Security Spirals


⇑ Offense Dominance ---> ⇑ Arms Races, Security Spirals

(and vice versa with defense dominance)


⇑ Offense Dominance ---> ⇑ Instability

(and vice versa with defense dominance)


POLS 30201: The Foreign Policy Process:

How does process (structure and channels of power) affect policy?


1.    Themes and Questions

       a.    What is Power?

              i.     Command vs. influence

                     (1)  Influence what? Influence who?

              ii.   Formal authority vs. actual authority

       b.    Who has what information? How does information flow within and across each organization? (What are the information channels?)

       c.    How do organizational and bureaucratic issues help or hinder rational, ‘ideal’ policy making?

       d.    What prescriptions and strategies are yielded by the study of process?


2.    President

       a.    Constitutional powers

       b.    As head of the country and of the executive branch

       c.    As a symbol

       d.    As a person


3.    Congress

       a.    Constitutional and other legal powers

              i.     Appropriations

              ii.   Advice and consent

              iii.  Raise and support armies, navies, militia

              iv.   War powers

       b.    Committees


4.    State Department and Secretary of State


5.    Department of Defense: Secretary and the four/three services


6.    Intelligence Services


7.    National Security Council and the National Security Advisor


8.    Other branches: Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture


9.    Making it all come together

       a.    Our Four Stage Model: Agenda Setting, Option Formulation, Decision Making, Implementation

       b.    Themes for Essence of Decision


10.  Questions for future:

       a.    How might the foreign policy process change in response to mass terrorism or other sudden shift in threats? In response to global environmental degradation?


11.  Instruments

       a.    Force

       b.    Covert action

              i.     Intelligence

       c.    Economic

              i.     Aid

       d.    Moral suasion

       e.    Agenda setting

       f.    Treaties and Negotiation

       g.    Soft Power


POLS 30201: Essence of Decision, Rational Actor Model


1. Cuban Missile Crisis

1. Themes

1. Near nuclear war (still a nuclear world today)

2. Models come to life

3. Importance of credibility

4. Crisis dynamics


2. Background

1. Cold War

2. Nuclear Balance


2. Components of Each Model

1. Actor

2. Goal(s) and Motivations(s)

3.    Actions determined by...

4.    Other influences on actions

5. Prediction using this model


3. Components of Each Chapter

1. Why nuclear weapons brought to Cuba?

2. Why did the US respond with a blockade?

3. Why were the missiles withdrawn?

4. What are the lessons?

5. Methods issues:

1. Note use of this for papers and arguments

2. Note how like a structured focused comparison

3. Note how search for evidence is different under each model.

4. Rational Actor Model


Actor: unitary nation-as-a-whole actor

Goal(s) and Motivations(s): Maximize overall strategic Footnote national interest (same as inference, really)

Actions determined by: Choices made from wide variety of options

Other influences on actions: Choices reflect a stable, prioritized value system. All information relative to choices is known to actor. Actor is assumed to be rational.

Prediction using this model: Requires knowing the actor's values and capabilities. values are often assumed to be known since actor is motivated by strategic national interest.


5. Questions:

1. Is the rational actor model really so implicit in most theories and policy assessments?

2. Can you ‘black box’ FP?


6. Model I, RAM, Applied

1. RAM arguments about why the missiles were deployed

2. RAM arguments about what to do about it

3. RAM arguments about how the crisis was resolved


7. Questions:

1. How can all those options be rational?

2. Did the process and actions as described seem rational?


Pre CMC US/Soviet Arms Race



US Nweps

Sov Nweps
























MRBMs 1100 miles; IRBMs 2200 miles BAS


“The Soviet Union for its part had only four to six land-based ICBMs in 1962, and about 100 short-range, primitive V-1-type cruise missiles that could only be launched from surfaced submarines” Wikipedia


20 ICBMs, 6 subs w/ msls <600 mile range, 200 bbrs A/Z




Model II: Organizational Behavior


1. What do Organizations do?

2. How do they do it?

3. The Model:


Actor: An organization (one of many within government)


Goal(s) and Motivations(s): Organizational health (often measured in terms of size, wealth, and autonomy/power). Reduce uncertainty.


Actions determined by: Standard operating procedures (SOPs), routines, and other actions motivated by promotion or protection of the organization and reduction of uncertainty.


Other influences on actions: Information and action distorted by parochial priorities and perceptions. Scope of information and action reduced by factored problems and fractionated power. Organizations have limited flexibility and are often slow to learn and change.


Prediction using this model: Requires knowing the organization's SOPs. Knowing what they did yesterday (t-1), allows to predict what they will do today (t) and tomorrow (t+1).


4. What affects organizational behavior?

1. Efficiency vs. Culture

2. Interactive complexity

1. especially risky when matched with tight coupling

1. further exacerbated in crises

3. Organizational learning


5. Model II, Organizational Behavior, Applied

1. Model II arguments about why the missiles were deployed

2. Model II arguments about what to do about it

3. Model II arguments about how the crisis was resolved


6. Questions:

1. How can one create a means-ends chain if organizational behavior is rampant?

2. Is organizational behavior rampant?

3. What kinds of things does organizational behavior affect?

1. Is it taking on RAM directly?




Model III, Governmental Politics Model


1. Bureaucratic or Governmental Politics Model


Actor: Actors defined by their power position within government. (I think actors can be organizations as well as individuals)


Goal(s) and Motivations(s): Maximizing power and influence as well as strategic national interest. Values and goals may conflict.


Actions determined by: Results of bargaining between actors. Bargaining is affected by power of each actor, position within hierarchy, action channels, available information.


Other influences on actions: Information and action may be distorted by parochial priorities and perceptions, in this case phrased as "where you stand depends on where you sit." Since this model includes individuals, it includes constraints on decision making such as time pressures, misperceptions, and personality.


Prediction using this model: Requires knowing the relative power of each actor as well as each actor's value system. Organization model often helps explain an actor's values.


2. Model III as a ‘catch-all, NEC’ model

1. Group and other Processes

1. Decision Rules

2. Framing

3. Psychological Theories

1. Jervis, etc. for individuals and their idiosyncracies

2. Janis and Groupthink for groups.

4. Domestic politics

1. public opinion

2. Congress

5. Bargaining with allies (if forming joint policy)

6. Players in Positions: Chiefs, Indians....

7. 51-49


3. Model III, Governmental Politics, Applied

1. Model III arguments about why the missiles were deployed

2. Model III arguments about what to do about it

3. Model III arguments about how the crisis was resolved


4. Questions:

1. How is this different from RAM?

2. What is the difference between an output and a resultant?




Tying EOD together...


1. Questions?

1. Why was this book written?

2. How do the models relate to each other, how can we tie them together?

3. Are "non RAM" decisions necessarily indictable or less wise?

4. Does this book help one think about making decisions to deter or appease, to balance or to de-spiral? How?

5. How reliable is deterrence?

6. What policy recommendations does EOD offer or support?

7. How can government be tweaked to run more effectively and more safely?

8. What are the book’s strengths and weaknesses?

9. Any biases evident? Hidden motivations?


2. Tying it all together with the rest of the course

1. Review of themes and central questions:

1. What are US interests?

2. What is the role of values in defining interests?

3. How is policy made and what explains sub-optimal outcomes?



Integrating Meyer's Framework with Allison's Models:


Rational Actor



Agenda Setting


opportunities are perceived and then ranked (++, increases with importance of issue)

Fractionated info gathering => hit or miss perceptions; Biased perceptions

Biased, parochial perceptions

Option Formulation

All options weighed

Determined by pre-set menu; also by bias (++)

Determined by combo of what is best for self/org and for country (++)


Best option chosen to promote national interest

Based on either SOP or maximizing organizational health

Result of politics, bargaining, relative power (++)


n/a but assumes Capabilities used to best extent

SOPs (++)

Infighting leads to inefficiencies and errors


(++) denotes a particularly good fit; relatively strong explanatory power