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Painful Choices : A Theory of Foreign Policy Change - David A. Welch

Painful Choices

A Theory of Foreign Policy Change

Hardcover Published: 4th September 2005
ISBN: 9780691123400
Number Of Pages: 288

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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.

Industry Reviews

Winner of the 2008 Best Book Award, International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association "David Welch is to be commended for developing an ambitious theory that recognizes that humans, not factors, make decisions, and that they are affected by history and psychology."--Max Paul Friedman, Political Science Quarterly "Welch's theory is original and merits further testing against other cases of foreign policy change. Political scientists and foreign policy practitioners alike would benefit from reading this lucidly written book."--Guy Ziv, International Relations and Political Economy "Well written and accessible to non-specialists... Welch's skillful use of historical materials should please historians in particular... Welch has made a substantial contribution to international relations theory with this book."--Barbara Farnham, International History Review

List of Figures and Tablesp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Surprise, Anticipation, and Theoryp. 10
The Case for a Decision-Based Theory of Behaviorp. 18
The Case for a Theory of Foreign Policy Changep. 23
A Theory of Foreign Policy Changep. 30
Building Blocksp. 31
A Loss-Aversion Theory of Foreign Policy Changep. 45
Devils in the Detailsp. 51
Useless Islands Disputesp. 72
Las Islas Malvinasp. 73
The Northern Territoriesp. 95
Crucial Differencesp. 113
American Boys in an Asian Warp. 117
Backgroundp. 118
Turning Pointsp. 129
The Johnson Escalationp. 134
Nixinger and the Endgamep. 147
How Do the Hypotheses Fare?p. 160
Free Trade with the United States: Two Funerals and a Weddingp. 168
Overview and Backgroundp. 169
Laurier and the Reciprocity Agreement of 1911p. 177
King and the Reciprocity Nonagreement of 1948p. 185
Mulroney and the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, 1988p. 193
Analysisp. 206
Conclusionp. 216
Works Citedp. 233
Indexp. 265
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691123400
ISBN-10: 0691123403
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 4th September 2005
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.33 x 16.26  x 2.29
Weight (kg): 0.56

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