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The polythink syndrome : U.S. foreign policy decisions on 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and ISIS

Author: Alex Mintz; Carly Wayne
Publisher: Stanford, California : Stanford University Press, [2016] ©2016
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Why do presidents and their advisors often make sub-optimal decisions on military intervention, escalation, de-escalation, and termination of conflicts? The leading concept of group dynamics, Groupthink, offers one explanation: policy-making groups make sub-optimal decisions due to their desire for conformity and uniformity over dissent, leading to a failure to consider other relevant possibilities. But presidential  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Case studies
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Mintz, Alex, 1953-
Polythink syndrome
(DLC) 2015030662
(OCoLC)908990585
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Alex Mintz; Carly Wayne
ISBN: 9780804796774 0804796777
OCLC Number: 931534279
Description: 1 online resource (viii, 190 pages)
Contents: The polythink syndrome --
Causes, symptoms, and consequences of polythink --
Polythink in national security : the 9/11 attacks --
Polythink and Afghanistan war decisions : war initiation and termination --
Decision making in the Iraq War: from groupthink to polythink --
Polythink in the Iranian nuclear dispute : decisions of the U.S. and Israel --
Recent challenges : the Syria debate, the renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, and the ISIS decision --
The global nature of polythink and its productive potential.
Responsibility: Alex Mintz and Carly Wayne.

Abstract:

Why do presidents and their advisors often make sub-optimal decisions on military intervention, escalation, de-escalation, and termination of conflicts? The leading concept of group dynamics, Groupthink, offers one explanation: policy-making groups make sub-optimal decisions due to their desire for conformity and uniformity over dissent, leading to a failure to consider other relevant possibilities. But presidential advisory groups are often fragmented and divisive. This book therefore scrutinizes Polythink, a group decision-making dynamic whereby different members in a decision-making unit espouse a plurality of opinions and divergent policy prescriptions, resulting in a disjointed decision-making process or even decision paralysis. The book analyzes eleven national security decisions, including the national security policy designed prior to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the decisions to enter into and withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2007 "Surge," the crisis over the Iranian nuclear program, the UN Security Council decision on the Syrian Civil War, the faltering Kerry Peace Process in the Middle East, and the U.S. decision on military operations against ISIS. Based on the analysis of these case studies, the authors address implications of the Polythink phenomenon, including prescriptions for avoiding and/or overcoming it, and develop strategies and tools for what they call Productive Polythink. The authors also show the applicability of Polythink to business, industry, and everyday decisions. -- from back cover.

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"Americans excel in most things, from technology to music. But they keep failing in foreign policy. It is desperately important to understand why. The Polythink Syndrome offers a novel Read more...

 
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