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Cognitive Process and Foreign Policy Decision Making

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Michael J. Shapiro is an American nationalist and a Professor of the Political Sciences at the University of Hawaii. He is best known as an educator, theorist and writer. His works more often described as “post disciplinary”. International relation theory, comparative politics, sociology and indigenous politics are some of his main interests apart from his numerous lists of interests. He wrote couple of books, “Cinematic Politics” and “Politics and Time” are two named among others. His co-author G. Matthew Bonham is a Professor Emeritus, Political Science, he is an affiliated faculty member at the International Relations Program, Maxwell School. He is specialized in International relation, Public diplomacy, International Politics, Foreign policy decision- making and others. He offers courses on Comparative foreign policy, advanced public diplomacy, International Affairs etc. One amongst his publications is titled “The ‘War on Terrorism’. His research interest was focused on the field of public diplomacy and international political communications. In this article, Shapiro and Bonham talked about foreign policy decision making based on past and present studies with a psychological orientation, emphasizing the influence of psychological trait of those involved in the foreign policy decision making. That includes both individuals and in groups. Their focus is more on the present studies, including, the significance on perception, cognition, and information-processing. In contrast to perception and information-processing, the cognitive process approach has endeavored in exact degrees to ejaculate beliefs of decision makers. And direct their belief structures to excavate deeper, the way international events are understood and policy alternatives are considered. The ultimate focus on this investigation is again, centered around the identification of and responses of international events by foreign policy decision makers. With the use of two dimensions in this approach. First and for most, the explanation of cognitive dynamics. Second, is the dimension on mode in which the explanations of foreign policy are to be expressed. In other words, the main focus of this investigation should be termed as “policy-oriented.”

The argument identified in this article is that, the cognitive approach used to explicate the events in international community by the foreign policy decision makers is conceptualized under normative implications and theoretical perspective. However, the two conception does not agree to each-other. Under normative implication perspective, the cognitive process approach to foreign policy decision making is based slightly on building comprehensive theoretical framework which allows foreign policy decision makers to explain and predict decisions that would be made by the decision makers’ when examining the nature of international events. However, in theoretical perspective the interpretation of the events in international environment depends on the possible outcomes. Foreign policy decision makers use deductive process to maximize their expected gains over expected loss.

The article is intended to be examined by the foreign policy decision makers, other researchers and scholars of international relations and political science who have interests in Foreign policy, Public diplomacy, international affairs and etc., including also the international relation students. Moreover, the research method used to gather information is both qualitative and quantitate research method. To support that, the authors actually used their participant’s views in the article as participant 1,2 and 3 to analyze the pattern of believe systems of the foreign policy decision makers. They also used data in a flow chat to show series of events and decision makers explanation for a policy situation. The authors concluded by saying that both theoretical perspective and cognitive implications have been successful precedes for the experiment of foreign policy decision making.

The article has relevancy to the course of study as the article itself contains the information about foreign policy. More precisely, the information to one of the sub-topic which is foreign policy decision making. There were illustrations used, especially two mappings termed as perceptual and cognitive mappings used for further clarifications. Furthermore, the strength identified is that, the article was explained in detail with the use of illustrations which made it easy in terms of reader’s understanding. The limitation was that, the article was written in a broader terms and most of the time was taken to consult dictionary. The article was interesting in the way it was written, with the use of more illustration which caught readers’ attention.

However, I recommend that similar research needs to be done to help interested parties to get a chance to compare different perceptions of different scholars on foreign policy decision making to broaden readers’ understanding.

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