Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (2nd Edition)
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One of the most influental political science works written in the post World War II era, the original edition of Essence of Decision is a unique and fascinating examination of the pivotal event of the cold Cold War. Not simply revised, but completely re-written, the Second Edition of this classic text is a fresh reinterpretation of the theories and events surrounding the Cuban Missle Crisis, incorporating all new information from the Kennedy tapes and recently declassified Soviet files. Essence of Decision Second Edition, is a vivid look at decision-making under pressure and is the only single volume work that attempts to answer the enduring question: how should citizens understand the actions of their government?
conditions in which states find them selves, on the one h an d , an d the d isposition o f states, on the other. For example, whereas Waltz attem pts to explain the likelihood o f w ar in term s o f pow er differentials betw een states and groups o f states, o th er scholars note th at such risks are pow er fully affected by changes in technology; for exam ple, w hether the p rev ailin g te c h n o lo g y favors th e “offense,” o r alternatively, the “defense.”40 S tephen W alt goes fu rth e r
t the inability o f rational antagonists in various bargaining situations to com e to an agreem ent at any other point. The th ird proposition— a conception of intern atio n al politics as “essentially bargaining situ atio n s” in w hich alert, intelligent, co o rd in ated n atio n s speak an d m ove in o rd er to influence o th er natio n s by changing th eir expected payoffs— consti tutes a highly refined, explicit statem ent o f the basic RAM .87 As tension m o u n ted in 1961 d u rin g the
Democracy (New York: H arper and Row, 1957), p. 4. 15. John Harsanyi, “Some Social Science Implications of a New Approach to Game Theory,” in Strategic Interaction and Conflict, Archibald, ed., pp. 1, 139 (emphasis added). 16. On this point see Jack Levy, “Misperception and the Causes of War: Theoretical Linkages and Analytical Problems,” World Politics 36 (1983): 76, 79-80. 17. Simon, “H um an Nature and Politics,” p. 294. Students of foreign policy behavior have noticed that, across a host of
extraordinary. We have also been privileged to have interviews and conversations w ith m ost o f the high-level participants in the crisis and m any individuals w ho have spent tim e rem iniscing w ith th e ce n tral p a rtic ip a n ts. We have in terv iew e d a n u m b e r o f people w ho were involved in the lower-level o p eratio n s o f the U.S. and Soviet governm ents d u rin g the crisis. For their patience and con sideration, as well as th eir info rm ation, we are m o st grateful.
first place? They surely ex pected us to see th em at som e stage.”86 H ow else can one explain the Why Did the U.S. Respond to the Missile Deployment with a Blockade? 109 fact th at the missile sites were constructed in the configuration that was standard in the Soviet Union? At the W hite H ouse m eeting on the evening o f O cto b er 16, the intelligence briefer explained th a t they could spot the launchers, in part, because “they have a four-in-line deploym ent p attern . . . w hich is