Cuban Missile Crisis Analysis Model

900 Words 4 Pages
In Essence of decision, Graham Allison leverages the incredible events of the Cuban missile crisis to challenge the way people think about foreign and military affairs. He compares the application of three analytical models to showcase the limitations of the rational actor model, arguing that the crisis could be better understood when the organizational behavior and government politics model are applied as well. Treating these models as lenses, Allison provides the reader with both an in-depth explanation of these models as well as their unique conclusions when applied to the crisis. Allison begins with a description of the rational actor model and its explanation of the crisis. Found on maximizing utility, the model assumes that the actor …show more content…
The organizational behavior model describes actions of governments as the outputs of the organizations within it. When confronting a crisis, government leaders break down the challenges involved and assigns them to pre-established organization lines. These organizations then act in accordance to their standard operating procedures, producing recommendations under the constraint of time and resources. This model considers the bounded rationality that national leaders work under. They are unable to completely examine the costs and benefits of every option available to them and instead settle for the first proposal that adequately addresses the issue. Under this lens, certain matters are explained – the poor camouflage of Soviet missile bases, the decision for a blockade rather than an airstrike and Soviet withdrawal from Cuba in the face of US decisive action. This model goes into detail to illustrate the reality behind how decisions are implemented but minimizes the impact of …show more content…
His two new models act as complements, explaining events by moving us from the abstract concepts of utility maximization to the realities of how governments and people operate. For the historian, Essence can serve as a guideline for historical analysis. Adopting the models would give any event an analysis that looks at the broad context, organizational routines and the individuals involved with their competing perceptions. To the Analyst, Essence should serve as a warning that reliance on the rational actor model could be dangerous. Models make various assumptions about reality that prove time and again to be false. The attacks on Pearl Harbor are one such example. While the Japanese military were aware that they lacked the industrial capabilities to win a war against the US, they attacked regardless. In the modern day, the invasion of Iraq could be viewed as a security maximization decision, but analysis at the government politics level would indicate that the democrats were pressured to support the war lest they looked weak in the face of Republican success in Operation Desert Storm and the national tragedy of 9/11. While the addition of these two models may not account for all the details, all scholars stand to benefit when exploring alternate viewpoints as Allison has

Related Documents