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IR1006: Foreign Policy Making, Rational Actors, and Alternat

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Ryan Beasley

on 21 March 2016

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Transcript of IR1006: Foreign Policy Making, Rational Actors, and Alternat

IR1006: Foreign Policy Making, Rational Actors, and Alternative Models
Overview: FP
Allison & Rationality
Allison's Alternative Models
More Alternative Models
Threats to Security?
Ryan K Beasley
Alternative Models & Security
READY?
TURN FEWEST CARDS TO TEST HYPOTHESIS
Humans are not rational actors!
You turned the K to see if there's a 3
You turned the 3 to see if there's a K
But: Could be a J on back of the 3
Turn the 4 (to disconfirm the hypothesis)
MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq. And like Kanan Makiya who’s a professor at Brandeis, but an Iraqi, he’s written great books about the subject, knows the country intimately, and is a part of the democratic opposition and resistance. The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that. (NBC NEWS’ MEET THE PRESS, 2003)
Daniel Kahneman (Nobel Prize Winner)
Hypothesis: On the Back of Every 'K' there is a '3'
Solution?
One Thing is For Sure...
Prone to Mistakes
The Biggest Threat to International Security is Decision Making Errors
In case you forgot, he's an American!
This is called the 'Confirmation Bias'
Turning the 3 doesn't help at all!
K
J
3
4
~Ryan K Beasley
The Nature of Humans Leads to Numerous Biases
Systematic
Groups
“I argue that the decision to incorporate Iraq into the wider post 9/11 mission was pathologically driven by groupthink, which caused a shift in the administration’s view of Saddam from a troubling dictator to an existential threat to US security.” (Badie, 2010)
Iraq War a Decision Making Mistake?
Avoiding Groupthink
Janis: Bay of Pigs, North Korea, Pearl Harbor, Viet Nam, Marshall Plan
Groupthink and Foreign Policy
Mobs and Small Groups
Quit Smoking Group
Problem? Too Much Cohesion!
Excessive Concurrence Seeking
'Groupthink' Term Based on Book '1984'
Others: Iran Hostage Rescue, Challenger Space Shuttle, Iran-Contra, Mayagues, Nazi Appeasement.
Learning Objectives
What is 'Foreign Policy'
Graham Allison's Models
Rationality & the 'Rational Actor' model
More Alternative Models
Biggest Threat to International Security
Questions
Defining Foreign Policy
Key Dimensions:
Who makes FP?
Policies vs Decisions vs Events
Intentions vs Outcomes
The Big 4
Realism
Liberalism
Constructivism
Foreign Policy Analysis
Bridge
We look at things a little differently
Essence of Decision
Graham Allison (1971)
3 Models:
Rational Actor
Organisational Process
Governmental Politics
Rationality/Rational Choice
Basic Assumptions
Expected Utility:
Summary and Examples
Additional Key Assumptions
Reductionist
Structures Emerge from Individuals Interacting
Universal
Deductive
Purposive Behaviour
Neo-Classical Economics
1950s and 1960s
Applied Widely Across Fields
Voting Behaviour
Security Dilemma
Rational Economic Behaviour
Individuals are Agents (not societies)
Humans as Rational Maximisers
Calculate Costs & Benefits Relative to Goals
Choose Actions that Maximise 'Expected Utility'
Highest Cost/Benefit Value
Self-Interested Behaviour
More Assumptions!
Clear Preferences
Preference Ordering Possible
Logically Consistent
Full Information
Reasoning Capacities
Prefer A>B
If A>B and B>C, then A>C
Transitivity
Time
Cognitive Abilities
Emotional Detachment
'Utility' = Value
Benefits (minus) Costs for each Choice
Example:
Car 1 (combined value of each feature - price)
Car 2 (combined value of each feature - price)
Rational Choice = Biggest Utility
Can Include Probability
National Lottery -- Prize X (probability of winning)-ticket price
EuroMillions -- Prize X (probability of winning)-ticket price
Rational Actors Choose the Option with the Greatest Utility
(Oh No! Maths!!)
'Rationality' & Security
The undersupply of cooperation is “the tragedy of the commons.” Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons (1968).
While cooperation is collectively rational...
The paradox of the PD game
Same for the Other Player
Player 2
Two possible strategies: Cooperate with each other, or undermine the other (Cooperate or Defect)
PD 'Games'
How the game works -- a simple narrative
The Prisoners’ Dilemma
Here's what it looks like
Player 1


Player 1 Prefers to Defect
Player 1
Plugging in 'payoffs'
Player 1
Player 2
Each Corner is Possible
Player 1
Player 2
One of Each
Player 1
Player 2
Or One of Each
Player 1
Player 2
Both Could Defect
Player 1
Player 2
Both Could Cooperate
Player 1
Player 2


Player 2 prefers to Defect
Player 2
A Simple Game that has Become a Dominant Paradigm for Social Scientists since it was Invented about 1960
Outcomes for each player depend on actions of both
Player 1
Player 2
Defection is individually rational.
First number is payoff for Player 1
Second number is payoff for Player 2
Etc.
Here 4 is best, -1 worst (preference rankings)
Game Theory Rooted in Rational Choice
Accounts for 'Collective Action' Problems
Environmental Pollution
Nuclear Arms Races
Offers Solutions
Shift Payoffs Through Higher Authority
Internal vs External
Foreign & Domestic Policy not always easy to distinguish
Immigration; subsidies & trade; etc.
States are Primary Focus
Policies -- General Practices (Strategic Policies; Defense Policies; Doctrines)
CMC -- Specific sets of Decisions
Events -- Not all things are 'policies' or 'decisions'
FPA Looks at All of these
States?
Decision Makers?
But which ones?
Publics?
FPA Looks at All of these
Foreign Policy Making
Key Leaders
Intelligence Agencies
Military Leaders
Individuals Make FP Decisions
The 'State' = Individuals Acting on Behalf of the State
(Snyder, Bruck, & Sapin, 1954)
Choices
Outputs
Resultants
Models are not 'Reality' or 'True'
But they can be more or less helpful
Evolution Built Our Brains for Survival Long Ago
Maths and Logic Weren't Really a Big Part of the Deal
Psychologist Have Great Fun Demonstrating This!
Example:
Mary Buys a Horse for £100 & Sells it to Steve for £150
Mary then Buys the Horse Back from Steve for £180, and then Sells it to Susan for £200
How Much Money Did Mary Make or Lose?
Is it easier if she buys a horse for £100 and sells it to Steve for £150, then buys a watch from Steve for £180 and sells it to Susan for £200?
It's the EXACT SAME MATH PROBLEM!
Prospect Theory
Framing Experiment (II)
Framing Experiment (I)
Changes
in Asset Level more Important than
Actual
Asset Level
People Overvalue Losses compared to Gains
Prospects Can be 'Framed' as Gains or Losses
Rationally, Changing the Description Shouldn't Change Preferences
A 'Prospect' is a possible ('prospective') outcome based on a choice
Country Preparing for Outbreak of 'Asian Disease'
Expected to Kill 600 People; Must Take Some Action
Program A: 200 people will be saved
Program B: 1/3 Chance All 600 Saved; 2/3 Chance Nobody Saved
Which Would You Choose?
72% Chose Option A
28% Chose Option B
Country Preparing for Outbreak of 'Asian Disease'
Expected to Kill 600 People; Must Take Some Action
Program A: 400 people will die
Program B: 1/3 Chance Nobody will die; 2/3 Chance 600 will die
Which Would You Choose?
22% Chose Option A
78% Chose Option B
Going from £10 to £30
Going from £30 to £10
Reference Point is £10
Change is £20
This is a Gain
Reference Point is £30
Change is £20
This is a Loss
If Given a Choice:
Prefer a Sure Thing Here (Risk Averse)
If Given a Choice:
Prefer a Gamble Here (Risk Prone)
Example: +£20, or 50% of +£40 & 50% of 0
Example: -£20, or 50% of -£40 & 50% of 0
Notice?
72% vs 22%
78% vs 28%
Leaders Take More Risks to Maintain Than Gain
Losses Hurt Worse Than Gains feel Good
After a Loss, Take Risks to Recover
Territory, Prestige, Domestic Support
Reference Point Doesn't Shift; Still in Domain of Losses
Easier to Deter Gain-Seeing than Loss-Recovery
Easier to Cooperate Distributing Gains than Losses
Not Polluting
(foregone Gain)
vs Stopping Polluting
(Loss)
Application to FP
Organisational Process
Fall back on 'Routines'
Not 'Optimal' choices; 'Satisfactory' choices
The Stakes
Cuban Missile Crisis -- Case Study
Nuclear Deterrence
Global Thermonuclear War
Based on Rational Calculations
MAD
Allison Wants to Question Rationality
The future of humanity is at stake!
What is the Future of International Security?
Security Quiz!
Grand IR Debates
Globalisation
'Real' Security Threats
National Security
New Technologies
A) Rising, Disatisfied China
B) Nuclear Proliferation
C) Global Terrorism
What is the Biggest Threat to International Security, in the next 20 years?
D) Climate Change
E) Financial Meltdown
G) War Technology (Nano; Robots; AI)
(if you *had to* pick one)
H) Other ______________________________
F) War (interstate &/or Civil)
There's a lot to be afraid of!
Decline of War/Violence
Return of Great Power Politics
Human Security
'Securitization'
Nuclear Weapons
'Expert Political Judgments'
Tetlock, 2005
20 Year study of Expert Predictions
Thousands of Prediction, across several fields
Some Key Findings:
Experts no better than Dilettantes
Experts worse than basic statistical models
Nature of Expertise Doesn't Really Matter
Worst Predictors most likely to get on T.V.
How Did YOU decide the future of international security?
Quiz
A) Rising, Disatisfied China
B) Nuclear Proliferation
C) Global Terrorism
What is the Biggest Threat to International Security, in the next 20 years?
D) Climate Change
E) Financial Meltdown
G) War Technology (Nano; Robots; AI)
H) Other ______________________________
F) War (interstate &/or Civil)
These are all Wrong!
(probably)
What Mistakes do Experts Make?
The Same Ones We All Make!
Fail to Recognize the Complexity of Big and Distant Predictions
Overconfidence in Own Accuracy
Over-predict Change; Under-predict Status Quo
Fail to Use the Baserate: Example
My Prediction about International Security in 20 Years...?
The Status Quo Baserate!
Only Slightly Better than Random Guessing
Usually Should Predict 'More of the Same'
So, What is the Greatest Threat to International Security, right now?
We should predict 'more of the same'
What do they all have in common?
War
States
Non-State Actors
New Security Threats
Old Security Threats
READY?
TURN THE FEWEST CARDS TO BEST TEST THE HYPOTHESIS
K
J
3
4
Hypothesis: On the Back of Every 'K' there is a '3'
Quiz!
(don't say anything out loud)
(Write it Down)
vs.
Governmental Politics
JFK speech: "The essence of ultimate decision remains impenetrable to the observer - often, indeed, to the decider himself."

Why did Soviets put them there?
Why did U.S. choose to 'blockade' Cuba?
Why did Soviets pull them out?
Rational Actor
Organizational Process
Governmental Politics
Rational Actor: Explanation
Khrushchev Counters 'Missile Gap'
JFK Responds with Blockade
USSR has fewer missiles than claimed
Shorter Range from Cuba Compensates
Scores Cold War Points
Considered full range of options
Blockade Best
Doesn't Over-escalate
Puts ball in Khrushchev's Court
Soviets Back Down
Calculated risk of nuclear war as too high
Time Constraints
Information Constraints
Crisis
Standard Operating Procedures
Break Problem Down into Components
Different agencies deal with different bits
Short-term solutions
High Threat, Short Time, Surprise
Organizational Process: Explanation
Lots of 'irrationalities'
Why didn't Soviets Camouflage missiles?
Soviets New to Placing Nukes Elsewhere
Agency followed standard procedures
Soviet troops decorating barracks with Red Stars
JFK's Group Considered Few Options
Air Strikes vs Blockade
Confusion over precision of strikes
Navy was prepared; could easily communicate with
Soviets had no follow-up plan
Few standing options against US action
Internal Political Battles
Various Organisational Interests Compete
Organisational Position Shapes View
'Where you stand depends on where you sit'
Policies often 'Compromise' or 'Resultant'
Who is most powerful bureaucrat?
Policies change over time
Internal power struggles shift outcomes
Governmental Politics: Explanation
Khrushchev Facing Political Demands
Cutting Military Spending
'Missile Gap'
Placates governmental constituencies
JFK Need to Look Tough
Bay of Pigs & Congressional Elections
Advisors favoured air strike; but not Bobby
JFK Distrusted advice of CIA after Bay of Pigs
Khrushchev Tries to 'Save Face'
Turkey missiles = Cuban missile
Strikes private deal on this
Air Force vs CIA wrangling
By Individuals, Groups, and Organizations
Remember Tetlock's Study?
Tetlock, 2005
20 Year study of Expert Predictions
Thousands of Prediction, across several fields
Some Key Findings:
Experts no better than Dilettantes
Experts worse than basic statistical models
Nature of Expertise Doesn't Really Matter
Worst Predictors most likely to get on T.V.
Only Slightly Better than Random Guessing
Agent-Centred Approach (Hudson)
Diplomats
We'll Come Back to This Later
(but I have the answer...)
=
/
Phew!
International Relations
Realism
Behaviours Predicted from Key Assumptions
Applies to All Individuals
CMC
Why Did Soviets Place Missiles?
Why Did U.S. Choose to Blockade?
Why Did Soviets Back Down?
Nuclear War Rationally Averted!
We Look at Things...
...a Little Differently
No Choice but to Back Down
200 Saved = 400 Die
1/3 Chance Nobody will die & 2/3 Chance 600 will die
People are Risk Prone with Losses but Risk Averse with Gains
Hurts More to Lose £20 than it Feels Good to Gain £20
Changes are Relative to a 'Reference Point'
Probability X Value = Expected Value
80% Chance of Winning £100 = £80
80% Chance of Losing £100 = -£80
People are Quicker to Adjust Their Reference Points Up than Down
Reference Points
'Pouring Good Money After Bad'
Leads to 'Sunk Cost' Effect
Don't Adjust to the Loss
Down £10
Playing Poker: Down £20, then Win £10 Back. How Do You Feel?
Down £10
Playing Poker: Up £20, then lose £10. How do You Feel?
Assign Devil's Advocate
Include Outside Experts
Assign 'Critical Evaluators'
Unbiased (non-advocating) leader
CMC & Groupthink?
Impartial Leader; Methodical Decision Procedures
Some Refinements to Janis
Shafer and Crichlow: 39 Cases (U.S., British, Israeli)
Janis
Problem? What Problem?
Key: Reduce Interpersonal Conflict
Problem: Excessive Conflict
Groups Can Be Made More Effective
Groups: The Old School
Thus: Individual Mistakes and Irrationalities will be Checked (will 'wash out') by Groups and Institutions
County Fair and Bull Weight Guessing
Argument: Collectively We Will be Pretty Accurate
Problem: Not Same Irrationalities Across Several Actors
Yes, Individual Irrationality is Real
The Aggregation Issue
But Choices are Almost Opposite!
Expected Values are Identical
Illustration
Central Propositions
Framing
Strange Human Minds!
CMC?
Khrushchev sees as a 'Gain'
JFK sees as a 'Loss'
Gets Missiles Closer
Scores points in Cold War
Changed the Status Quo
Lose Face as Leader
Risk Averse in Domain of Gains
Backed Down
Risk Prone in Domain of Losses
Escalated to Blockade
One of the Cases Examined by Janis
Found Groupthink was Avoided
JFK Absented Self from some Meetings
Encouraged Multiple Points of View
Included 'Outside' Experts
Built from two rational actors interacting
Two 'players' -- each with two options
Many Applications in IR
Pollution; arms races; etc.
e.g. Don't Build Weapons; Don't Pollute
e.g. Build Weapons; Pollute
e.g. Don't Build Weapons; Don't Pollute
e.g. Build Weapons; Pollute
That is, Punish Defectors
Consequences
What's the biggest threat to International Security?
What's the Biggest Threat to Security?
Rising China?
Global Terrorism?
War?
Etc.?
(that 'Prospect Theory' stuff)
Allison's Alternative Models
Individuals and Groups
Rationality & Alternatives
Both Don't build/pollute
Both build/pollute
One does, one doesn't
One does, one doesn't
Easier Domestically than Internationally
Review
Allison's Models
Rational Actor Problematic
Different Lenses Reveal Different Features
Prospect Theory
Systematic 'Biases' Challenge Rationality
Groupthink
Groups won't necessarily eliminate 'errors' or 'biases'
Groups can make Systematic Mistakes too
Rationality a Powerful Assumption
Helps Explain Structures & Problems
Decision Making 'Mistakes' Matter
Helps Explain some Bad Choices
It's just a model (not 'right' or 'true')
Different Models (Allison's; Prospect Theory; Groupthink; etc.)
That Violates Rationality!
Groups Have Problems?
Allison Shows Organisational Problems
Systematic Problems in Small Groups?
Organisational Process
Bureaucratic Politics
Group 'Irrationality'?
Etc.
'Split' or 'Steal'
e.g. Both say they won't build nukes, but then one does
The outcome depends on BOTH choices
(What the hell is wrong with Mary!?)
(player 1 payoffs shown)
(player 2 payoffs shown)
So Anarchy & Rationality Result in Security Threats
Every card has a letter on one side and a number on the other
'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet'
It's the underlying 'utility' or 'value', not the label
'Asset Level' means 'how much you have'
=
1/3 Chance All 600 Saved & 2/3 Chance Nobody Saved
Phew! Nuclear War Irrationally Averted!
If so, the individual irrationality may not 'wash out'
Player 1
Player 2
Etc.
Both Don't build/pollute
Both build/pollute
One does, one doesn't
One does, one doesn't
Every card has a letter on one side and a number on the other
Lots of Applications
CO2 Emissions
Building Nuclear Weapons
Athletes Using Performance Enhancing Drugs
Overfishing
Advertising Budgets
But we over-rate change: Worst Predictors get on TV!
Which Seems to be a better explanation to You?
Full transcript