Essence of Decision (Second Edition) by Graham Allison & Philip Zelikow. pages, New York: Longman, Reviewed by Barton J. Bernstein n Buy Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (Alternative Etext Formats) 2 by Graham T. Allison, Philip Zelikow (ISBN: ) from. Graham T. Allison – The Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. Chapter (PDF . Philip!Zelikow,!it!introduces!some!new!insights!based!on!.

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The US response of a blockade was optimal — it leveraged the strong US tactical advantages e.

Essence of Decision – Wikipedia

This model describes action as the outputs of organizations. Aug 19, Patrick F rated it it was amazing. Feb 04, Chad rated it it was ok. I liked the book but I haven’t read much international relations so most of the book was new to me.

This article possibly contains original research. I believe the RAM Model works best. He served as assistant secretary of defense for policy and plans and is the author of “Essence of Decision: This fascinating book is the Rashomon of foreign policy. However, humans are not inextricably bound to act in a rational manner, which history has proven time and time again.

The organizational behavior model reconciles some of the weakness of the rational actor model. Why is this divide never examined? This third category combines elements that I would have called ‘realism’ in undergrad IR such as the idea that leaders have goals other than national powerelements that I would have called ‘liberalism’ such as the idea that ‘where you sit determines where you stand’ — e.

When he first wrote the book, Allison contended that political science and the study of international relations were saturated with rational expectations theories inherited from the field of economics. However, as he puts it:. In Washington, discovery of the Soviet missiles is a story of a political tug of war between powerful officials.


The book looks at: Sign In We’re sorry! Feb 02, Christina Mitchell rated it really liked it. The primary argument, of course, is that the unitary rational actor model is woefully insufficient, as it neglects the important role that bureaucratic standard operating procedures and cultures play in shaping and constraining state action. I could only take the book’s claims about the missile crisis at face value.

But in the second week he seems so resigned to military action that he sees new virtues and possibilities in trying a surprise attack against Cuba. Also, I learned a ton about the Cuban Missile Crisis! For example, inhe guessed that Kennedy must have made an “under the table” agreement concerning the Turkish missiles, probably using his brother as a liaison.

Never in history has the struggle for political power put more lives in danger than the Cold war. It was theoretical messiness like this that led me into econ and away from pol sci: Allison noted there were many facts that the rational model had to ignore, such as why the Soviets failed to camouflage the nuclear sites during construction, but did so only after U-2 flights pinpointed their locations.

The reason was not a “rational” change in U. The organizational behavior theory section comes off as a long list of ‘shit that organizations do sometimes’ the governmental politics section also has one of these long ass lists.

Indeed, his most competent expert on American affairs is not even informed that the missiles are being deployed. This is the idea that any nuclear showdown is a game of chicken, in which the side with the least to lose will refuse to back down. It is a work that offers no conclusive advice on how to approach policymaking, yet Allison and Zelikow have utilized modernity-based models and economics to endorse a sort of post-modern inconclusiveness. PaperbackSecond Editionpages. The Kennedy School of Government classic.


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Bargaining among players who shared power but saw separate problems yielded: An amazing discussion of institutional biases set against a potentially cataclysmic historic event! Allison, Graham; Zelikow, Philip Personalities play a big part, as does the amount of power allisob players wield. The work is protected by local and international copyright laws and is provided solely for the use of instructors in teaching their courses and assessing student learning.

Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis

This model underscores the belief zlikow.essence relationships matter. The politics model includes the possibility of political bargaining when trying to analyze an outcome.

Whether you study IR, history, or are just interested in how government agencies approach problems, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Allison attributes such viewpoints to the dominance of economists such as Milton Friedmanstatesmen such as Robert McNamara and Henry Kissingerdisciplines such as game theoryand organizations such as the RAND Corporation.

Jan 27, Linda rated it it was amazing. Nov 28, Mike Edwards rated it really liked it Zelikow.essence Also, Allison notes that “rational” analysts must ignore a lot of facts in order to make their analysis fit their models. When I went back to college after leaving my first career, my fascination with this book was one of the principle reasons I choose International Relations as my subject matter. Yet these comments reveal an unforeseen argument inherent in Essence of Decision: