Imitation in International Relations: Observational - download pdf or read online

By B. Goldsmith

Imitation and emulation are mechanisms of pageant in diplomacy which are theoretically posited yet empirically diffuse. Goldsmith presents a trenchant evaluation of the extant literature and proof, discovering that specification and operationalization difficulties may possibly clarify the disconnect. supplying a particular and generalizable strategy drawing on suggestions from psychology and organizational habit, this booklet refines theories of overseas coverage to incorporate observational studying to spot while imitation is probably going and what behaviors are such a lot imitated. either statistical and case research equipment are used to discover styles of analogy utilization. taking a look at Russia and the Ukraine, Goldsmith raises our figuring out of the overseas rules of those states whereas additionally increasing the empirical base of analysis. via exploring the sensible and theoretical importance of studying and imitation, this is often a big contribution for international coverage pros and students.

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Extra resources for Imitation in International Relations: Observational Learning, Analogies and Foreign Policy in Russia and Ukraine

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Keohane and Nye (1989) develop similar ideas. They write “we identified ‘political realism’ with acceptance of the view that state behavior is ‘dominated by the constant danger of military conflict,’ and we argued that ‘during the 1960s, many otherwise keen observers who accepted realist approaches were slow to perceive the development of new issues that did not center on military-security concerns’ “ (245–246). “State choices reflect elites’ perceptions of interests, which may change in several ways” (264, emphasis added).

Learning in international relations in this case is not a question of greater cognitive complexity; rather, it is a question of policy success or failure. It facilitates a choice between options based on past experience, not necessarily on more complex thought patterns. I do not wish to exclude by definition this type of learning, so I don’t see increasing complexity as a necessary component of learning. Rather, any rearranging or reinforcing of preferences (fundamental, strategic, or tactical) based on lessons of success or failure can be called learning.

But there is reason to believe it is unlikely that this borrowed knowledge is used only instrumentally to support previously held positions. As Jervis (1976, 215–219) and Khong point out, lessons and analogies can shape the way policy is made even if they are not initially used as analytical tools. “Even when analogies are used for advocacy and justification, it does not follow that they will have no impact on the decision outcome” (Khong 1992, 15n44). Khong points out that cognitive psychology gives analogical reasoning a central position in human thinking—analogies contribute to, or even function as, cognitive “schemata” (25–26).

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