Understanding Foreign Policy Decision Making

Understanding Foreign Policy Decision Making

Understanding Foreign Policy Decision Making presents a decision making approach to foreign policy analysis. This approach focuses on the decision process, dynamics, and outcome, highlighting the role of psychological factors in foreign policy decision making. The book includes a wealth of extended real-world case studies and examples that are woven into the text. The cases and examples, which are written in an accessible style, include decisions made by leaders of the United States, Israel, New Zealand, Cuba, Iceland, United Kingdom, and others. In addition to coverage of the rational model of decision making, levels of analysis of foreign policy decision making, and types of decisions, the book includes extensive material on alternatives to the rational choice model, the marketing and framing of decisions, cognitive biases and errors, and domestic, cultural, and international influences on decision making in international affairs. Existing textbooks do not present such an approach to foreign policy decision making, international relations, American foreign policy, and comparative foreign policy.


“This book is superb and important.”
– Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Silver Professor of Politics, New York University; Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University

“Mintz and DeRouen have provided readers with a comprehensive overview of what we know about foreign policy decision making. They have made the theories and data come alive through their deft use of case studies to illustrate their points. And they have chosen case studies that involve countries from around the world, not just the United States, giving us insights into how different types of governments and leaders are likely to react to foreign policy problems.”
– Margaret G. Hermann, Cramer Professor of Global Affairs, Syracuse University

“This is a superb text on the making of foreign policy, with a distinctive and badly needed emphasis on decision making. The comprehensive coverage of alternative theories and their illustration with a variety of detailed historical examples makes this an excellent introduction for students, and the incorporation of state-of-the-art research from social psychology and other fields makes this a valuable resource for scholars.”
– Jack S. Levy, Board of Governors Professor, Rutgers University

“This is a fine survey of varied research on decision making and its political context, with many detailed examples. It will be valuable for students and professionals.”
– Bruce Russett, Dean Acheson Professor of International Relations, Yale University

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