Rationality Ast Value-maximizing Choice Paper

Published: 2021-10-23 13:13:02
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Rationality refers to consistent value-maximizing choice within special fiend constraints. Allison et al (1999). Hence, rational actor model of decision making is the process to choose the right options to achieve national goal by analyzing all possible alternatives and its consequences. Rational decision making is the ability to relate means to ends, (ibid). In a rational decision-making process, people should be logical and orderly and maximization of national goal is the ultimate aim of the decision makers. It is vital to take into consideration that rational is important in understanding the goals and intention behind a foreign policy action. Actors are assumed to employ purposive action motivated by goal oriented behavior and not simply by habit or social expectations. Rationality has been considered as the best way to solve the outstanding issues. It is the behavioral attitude having its very purpose. In defining rationality, Allison (1999) refers to consistent value-maximizing choice within special fiend constraints?. In the rational actor model, decision maker’s aims to acquire the optimum benefit with minimum cost. The decision maker must be able to identify an apriority goal and move with the intention of reaching that objective. It is the behavior of a certain country which determines its fate. A single wrong move may cost heavily even to the survival of a country. There are game theoretical models that are used by decision makers to make their decision and this include the prisoner’ dilemma, chicken game and the tit of tat game. The impacts of rationality by decision makers will be shown below using examples in the contemporary world of politics.
Decision makers make choices that will maximize benefits and minimize its cost. From a neorealist point of view, there can never be complete security for states in what is essentially an anarchical self-help international system, states must always strive to preserve or increase their security. For example, joining a military alliance may help a state to reduce its defense expenditures. On the other hand, through its formal promise to come to the aid of its allies if attacked, it pre-commits its resources to a cause, which, when it comes to the crunch, may turn out not it be its own. Hollis et al (1986). Decision makers have seen that the world is slowing moving from a unipolar system to a multipolar system. In order to maintain their supremacy, the hegemonic powers like America through Trump was implemented policies that twill guarantee than there have security and safe from rising polarity. This can be evidenced by how Trump has engaged with Israel to protect himself from attacks from the Islamic states like Iraq and Iran because these countries has to first pass through Israel to attack America. Hollis et al (1986). The One China Policy is viewed as a rational foreign policy decision because it kept China safe from demonstration from Taiwan which claims that it is independent from china and is a democratic state. The move by China is rational because it minimizes the chances of getting into a war with Taiwan which can losses for china in the event of war with Taiwan. In this case, one can argue that decision makers make choices that will maximize benefits and minimize its cost as illustrated in the argument alluded to above.
Decision makers make choices that will maximize benefits and minimize its cost the decision maker with the possible outcomes and use their rationality to choose what has the best outcome to them on the behalf of the nation. This is evidenced in the case of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe’s Look East Policy was a deliberate foreign policy stance adopted by President Mugabe following the diplomatic fallout between Zimbabwe and Britain and later the United States of America and the entire European Union. Chan and Patel (2006: 178) note that as early as 1992 Zimbabwe had announced an economic thrust to its foreign policy, which anticipated future trade, investments, joint ventures and tourists coming from the East. Since 1980 Zimbabwe has pursued relations with the then Eastern Bloc, China, Cuba, North Korea both because of their support for the armed struggle and as a method of modulating its historically structured dependence on the West, (Ibid: 178). One can argue that, Mugabe’s Look East policy had positive effects on the country in the sense that the Eastern countries has managed to build infrastructure in Zimbabwe for instance the construction of the Tokwe-Mukosi dam. China solicits funds and drum support for Zimbabwe’s newly crafted economic blue print of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset). In this case, one can note that maintaining relations with the western countries had not benefit to Zimbabwe; therefore, in this instance Mugabe can be credited for making a rational decision. However, though Mugabe is credited for making rational choice by the Look East policy, his decision was weak from birth, because he failed to consider that the China adopted a policy to open new markets and trade relations through its initiative of the Forum of China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which was used to loot precious minerals with low prices and this can be shown on how 15 billion from the extraction of the Marange diamonds went missing. Chan and Patel (2006: 181) argue that the Chinese have been reluctant to ride to Zimbabwe’s economic rescue but instead intends to use the Southern African country as a spring board into other African states. In this case one may conclude that the Look East policy was rational because its benefits outweigh its costs.
In the world of foreign affairs, rational decisions are made in the in order to protect the economy of countries. Many decision makers who use rationality in making economic decision are most guided by the chicken game model in rationality decision making. Chicken game has implications for brinksmanship behavior between states. Essentially, brinksmanship means a continuous escalation of threat to prevent the other player in this case country from defecting. Brinksmanship was a policy of the superpowers during the Cold War. Glenn et al (1991). It is vital to note some decision makers possess tendencies that may see the international arena as a convient arena outlet to release their aggression. This can be supported by a statement by America vice president Mike Pence who delivered a searing speech, enumerating a long list of reproaches against china from territorial disputes in the South China Sea to alleged Chinese medaling in the us elections. Pense accused Beijing of breaking international norms and acting against American interest and as a result the American government banned the use of Huawei and ZTE telecoms by American government employees using the excuse that the phones were spying on the American government, as a response china banned IPhones from being sold in china. In this one can argue that Pense as a decision maker he was making a rational choice that would protect the interest of America thus to remain a superpower by intimidating others. From a critical point of view, one can be tempted to assert that Pence’s rational decision was weak in the sense that he failed to look for other alternatives which will not increase hostility with China.
1(b) is rationality a justified expectation to have the foreign policy process?
This model ignores the importance of the individuals involved in decision making as individuals are grownup with their own emotions, perceptions, ideologies and host of other traits which might affect their decisions and this makes rationality to be sometimes justified to a lesser extent in the foreign policy process in the sense that in foreign policy rationality is outweighed by certain factors which include personality and belief system, social cultural factors, leadership’s styles and situational variables. This points alluded to above will be elucidated further in the ongoing analysis.
Leaders who are decision makers tend sometimes to have a holistic behavior with certain countries and this affects their decision when implementing decision with such countries. According to Farber (1955), some individuals possess aggressive tendencies that there may see the international arena as a convenient outlet to release this. Under such circumstances rationality with be suppressed as far as issues of decision making is concerned. Sometimes leaders make decisions that seem to defy the rational ideal. For example, it may appear that Saddam Hussein was not rational in his de?ance of the United States in 1990 to1991 and again in the wake of 9/11. Hudson (2006). It was irrational for a leader of a small country to make a decision knowing it will undermine the credibility of its major military alliance because America is a super power that can destroy Saddam’s country but Saddam was concerned about his belief system that is terrorism. Therefore from this case, one can note that rationality to a limited extent can be justified in foreign policy process.
Socio-cultural factors can outweigh rationality in decision making in the sense that, decision makers may possess ethnocentric or nationalistic attitudes learned from their own socialization, which may influence their choices if they seek to satisfy a needy to affirm national ethnic superiority rather than ends of foreign policy. Gladstone (1955). This can be evidenced on how Mugabe’s policies were greatly influenced by nationalistic feeling this can be evidenced by the Zimbabwe and America relations after the ‘Fast-Track’ Land Reform Program. In this case, it is alleged that Mugabe didn’t use rationality but used emotions because he failed to see that the majority of war vets who acquired farms were not farmers by profession and this reduced the country’s GDP. Therefore, in this case one can note that rationality may not be justified in foreign policy process but if it’s totally neglected it will cause challenges because it checks for loopholes.
Situational variables can cause decision makers to neglects rationality in foreign policy process. These situational variables include threats, time and pressure. Threat perception refers to a decision problem that is characterized by the anticipation of harm. For instance, America has told the Mexican president to build wall to stop his people from migrating to America. This was provocative and it carries a threat and as a result the Mexican president will not use rationality to consider an action to take because the situation is not allowing. Moreover, time pressure involves the perceived clock for making a decision, for instance, during the Cuban Missile crisis. Alden
(2011). The decision makers perceived a good deal of time pressure to choose a course of action before the Soviet installation of the missiles was complete. (iBid). Time pressure is frequently associated with stress. High stress situations are also associated with consideration of the well-worn alternatives because of a condensed time frame for response search and in such cases; one may be able to see that rationality may not be justified in foreign decision making.
As the information is the key to decision outcomes, there is a possibility that the leader may not evaluate the situation correctly and may be misinformed and may choose the inappropriate policy which may hinder the national goal. Further, the leader or the advisor may tend to block out information that does not agree with what they have already believed to be accurate. President Bush, for example gave misinformation about the possible development of war by Iraq, which proved false after the war. Here the US government gained nothing rather than losing thousands of forces in war and made Muslim World as its enemy, Smith (2008). Therefore, in this case one can note that rationality may not be justified in foreign policy process but if it’s totally neglected it will cause challenges because it checks for loopholes.
In conclusion of the above statement, one can note and argue that Rationality sometimes can to be justified to a lesser extent in the foreign policy process in the sense that in foreign policy rationality is outweighed by certain factors which include personality and belief system, social cultural factors, leadership’s styles and situational variables.

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