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Painful Choices: A Theory of Foreign Policy Change
     

Painful Choices: A Theory of Foreign Policy Change

by David A. Welch
 

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ISBN-10: 0691123403

ISBN-13: 9780691123400

Pub. Date: 08/15/2005

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Under what conditions should we expect states to do things radically differently all of a sudden? In this book, David Welch seeks to answer this question, constructing a theory of foreign policy change inspired by organization theory, cognitive and motivational psychology, and prospect theory. He then "test drives" the theory in a series of comparative case studies in

Overview

Under what conditions should we expect states to do things radically differently all of a sudden? In this book, David Welch seeks to answer this question, constructing a theory of foreign policy change inspired by organization theory, cognitive and motivational psychology, and prospect theory. He then "test drives" the theory in a series of comparative case studies in the security and trade domains: Argentina's decision to go to war over the Falklands/Malvinas vs. Japan's endless patience with diplomacy in its conflict with Russia over the Northern Territories; America's decision to commit large-scale military force to Vietnam vs. its ultimate decision to withdraw; and Canada's two abortive flirtations with free trade with the United States in 1911 and 1948 vs. its embrace of free trade in the late 1980s.

Painful Choices has three main objectives: to determine whether the general theory project in the field of international relations can be redeemed, given disappointment with previous attempts; to reflect on what this reveals about the possibilities and limits of general theory; and to inform policy. Welch argues that earlier efforts at general theory erred by aiming to explain state behavior, which is an intractable problem. Instead, since inertia is the default expectation in international politics, all we need do is to explain changes in behavior. Painful Choices shows that this is a tractable problem with clear implications for intelligence analysts and negotiators.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691123400
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/15/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

CHAPTER 1: Surprise, Anticipation, and Theory 10

The Case for a Decision-Based Theory of Behavior 18

The Case for a Theory of Foreign Policy Change 23

CHAPTER 2: A Theory of Foreign Policy Change 30

Building Blocks 31

A Loss-Aversion Theory of Foreign Policy Change 45

Devils in the Details 51

CHAPTER 3: Useless Islands Disputes 72

Las Islas Malvinas 73

The Northern Territories 95

Crucial Differences 113

CHAPTER 4: American Boys in an Asian War 117

Background 118

Turning Points 129

The Johnson Escalation 134

Nixinger and the Endgame 147

How Do the Hypotheses Fare? 160

CHAPTER 5: Free Trade with the United States: Two Funerals and a Wedding 168

Overview and Background 169

Laurier and the Reciprocity Agreement of 1911 177

King and the Reciprocity Nonagreement of 1948 185

Mulroney and the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, 1988 193

Analysis 206

CHAPTER 6: Conclusion 216

Works Cited 233

Index 265

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