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Beyond the enemy image and spiral model: cognitive–strategic research after the cold war

  • Richard K. Herrmann (a1) and Michael P. Fischerkeller (a2)
Abstract

Systemic theories of international politics are inadequate for explaining particular states' policies, and some neorealists reach for supplementary foreign-policy-level concepts. Yet these studies almost never provide the empirical evidence required by their motivational constructs. Available psychological studies rely too heavily on notions peculiar to the cold war—such as the image of the enemy. A new theory proposes four additional ideal-type images. Each image is likely to lead to a specified set of strategic behaviors. An application to dyadic relations across the Persian Gulf from 1977 through 1990 suggests that this theory can help account for otherwise puzzling behavior, and it illustrates a promising route toward a more sensitive interactionist international relations theory suited both to the former superpower relationship and to diverse others.

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16. Ibid., pp. 7, 241–56, and 327–54.

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30. See Waltz, , Theory of International Politics, pp. 102–28 and 105, respectively.

31. See Walt, Stephen, The Origins of Alliances, op. cit., pp. 263285, and Walt, Stephen, “Revolution and War,” World Politics, vol. 44, no. 3 (04 1992), pp. £321–368.

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33. Wendt, Alexander, “Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics,” International Organization 46 (Spring 1992), pp. 391425; and Osgood, Charles, An Alternative to War or Surrender (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1962).

34. See Waltz, , Theory of International Politics, pp. 170–76; and White, Ralph K., Fearful Warriors: A Psychological Profile of U.S.Soviet Relations (New York: Free Press, 1984).

35. Silverstein, Brett, “Enemy Images: The Psychology of U.S. Attitudes and Cognitions Regarding the Soviet Union,” American Psychologist, vol. 44, no. 6, 1989, pp. 903–13.

36. For these competing perspectives see Herrmann, Richard, “Coercive Diplomacy and the Crisis over Kuwait,” in George, and Simons, , The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy, pp. 229–64; and Stein, Janice Gross, “Deterrence and Compellence in the Gulf, 1990–91: A Failed or Impossible Task?International Security 17 (Fall 1992), pp. 147–79.

37. See Leng, Russell, Interstate Crisis Behavior, 1816–1980: Realism Versus Reciprocity, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); and Goldstein, Joshua and Freeman, John, Three-Way Street: Strategic Reciprocity in World Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990).

38. See Leites, Nathan, A Study of Bolshevism (Glencoe, 111.: Free Press, 1953); George, Alexander, “The Operational Code: A Neglected Approach to the Study of Political Leaders and Decision-Making,” International Studies Quarterly 13 (06 1969), pp. 190222.

39. Goldstein, Judith and Keohane, Robert, “Ideas and Foreign Policy: An Analytical Framework,” in Goldstein, and Keohane, , Ideas and Foreign Policy, pp. 330 and 8–11.

40. Axelrod, Robert, ed., The Structure of Decision: The Cognitive Maps of Political Elites (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1976).

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42. Goldstein, and Keohane, , “Ideas and Foreign Policy,” p. 8.

43. Jackson, Robert, “The Weight of Ideas in Decolonization: Normative Change in International Relations,” in Goldstein, and Keohane, , Ideas and Foreign Policy, pp. 111–38.

44. White, Ralph K., “Hitler, Roosevelt, and the Nature of War Propaganda,” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 44 (1949), pp. 157–74; George, Alexander, Propaganda Analysis: A Study of Inferences Made from Nazi Propaganda in World War II (Evanston 111.: Row, Peterson, 1959); and Silverstein, Brett, “Toward a Science of Propaganda,” Political Psychology, vol. 8, no. 1, 1987, pp. 4959.

45. See George, Presidential Decision Making in Foreign Policy; Steinbruner, The Cybernetic Theory of Decision; Snyder, Myths of Empire; Jentleson, Bruce, “Discrepant Responses to Falling Dictators: Presidential Belief Systems and the Mediating Effects of the Senior Advisory Process,” Political Psychology 11 (06 1990), pp. 353–84; Haas, Peter, “Introduction: Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination,” International Organization 46 (Winter 1992), pp. 135; and Hermann, Margaret, A Psychological Examination of Political Leaders (New York: Free Press, 1977).

46. See Stuart, Douglas and Starr, Harvey, “Inherent Bad Faith Reconsidered: Dulles, Kennedy, and Kissinger,” Political Psychology 3 (1982), pp. 133.

47. We examined the images of the President, the secretary of state, and the national security adviser in each time period. We identified these images from released official documents, secondary studies, and memoirs when available. See, for example, Carter, Jimmy, Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (New York: Bantam Books, 1982); Vance, Cyrus, Hard Choices: Critical Years in American Foreign Policy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983); Brzezinski, Zbigniew, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, 1977–1981 (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1983); Sick, Gary, All Fall Down: America's Tragic Encounter with Iran (New York: Random House, 1985); Bill, James, The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American-Iranian Relations (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988); Cottam, Richard, Iran and the United States: A Cold War Case Study (Pittsburgh, Penn.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1988); Chang, Laurence and Baker, Glenn, eds., The Chronology: The Documented Day-by-Day Account of the Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Contras (New York: Warner Books, 1987); and Tower, John, Muskie, Edmund, and Scowcroft, Brent, The Tower Commission Report (New York: Bantam Books, 1987). For the Bush administration, public speeches were used as well as testimony in Congress. See Richard Herrmann, “Coercive Diplomacy and the Crisis over Kuwait: 1990–1991,” in George and Simons, The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy; and Efraim Karsh and Lawrence Freedman, The Gulf Conflict: 1990–1991.

48. See Herrmann, Richard, Perceptions and Behavior in Soviet Foreign Policy (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985); Herrmann, Richard, “The Soviet Decision to Withdraw from Afghanistan: Changing Strategic and Regional Images,” in Jervis, Robert and Snyder, Jack, eds., Dominoes and Bandwagons: Strategic Beliefs and Great Power Competition in the Eurasian Rimland (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 220–49; Herrmann, Richard, “The Role of Iran in Soviet Perceptions and Policy,” in Keddie, Nikki and Gasiorowski, Mark, eds., Neither East Nor West (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1990), pp. 6399; and Herrmann, Richard, “Soviet Behavior in Regional Conflicts: Old Questions, New Strategies, and Important Lessons,” World Politics 44 (04 1992), pp. 432–65.

49. In certain instances, fewer than three leaders had to suffice. Iraqi leaders selected for the 1977 period were President al-Bakr and Saddam Hussein. In the 1979–80 period they were Saddam, Tariq 'Aziz, and Deputy Prime Minister Haddad. For 1985–86 they were Saddam and 'Aziz. And for 1989–90, they were Saddam and Taha Ramadan. The Iranian leader selected for the 1977 period was the Shah of Iran. For the 1979–80 period the leaders were Ayatollah Khomeini, President Bani Sadr, and Interior Minister Rafsanjani. In 1985–86 they were Khomeini, President Khamene'i, and Prime Minister Musavi. And for 1989–90 they were spiritual leader Khamene'i, former Interior Minister Mohtashemi, and President Rafsanjani.

50. For examples of this literature, see Ramazani, R. K., Revolutionary Iran: Challenge and Response in the Middle East (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988); Ramazani, R. K., “Iran's Foreign Policy: Contending Orientations,” The Middle East Journal 43 (Spring 1989), pp. 202–17; Halliday, Fred, “Iranian Foreign Policy Since 1979: Internationalism and Nationalism in the Islamic Revolution,” in Cole, Juan and Keddie, Nikki, Shi'ism and Social Protest (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1986); and Halliday, Fred, “The Iranian Revolution and Great Power Politics: Components of the First Decade,” in Keddie, and Gasiorowski, , Neither East Nor West, pp. 247–64.

51. See New York Times, The New York Times Index, 1978: A Book of Record, The New York Times Index, 1979: A Book of Record, The New York Times Index, 1981: A Book of Record, The New York Times Index, 1982: A Book of Record, The New York Times Index, 1986: A Book of Record, The New York Times Index, 1987: A Book of Record, The New York Times Index, 1991: A Book of Record, and The New York Times Index, 1992: A Book of Record (New York: The New York Times company, 1979,1980,1982,1983, 1987, 1988,1992, and 1993, respectively); and the following indexes for the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS): FBIS Daily Report: Middle East and North Africa, FBIS Daily Report: Middle East and Africa, FBIS Daily Report: Soviet Union, and FBIS Daily Report: Central Asia (Stamford, Conn.: Newsbank, Ind., 1978, 1981,1987,1978, and 1992, respectively).

52. See the secondary sources cited in footnotes 48–49 and 51 above. Also see Smolansky, Oles and Smolansky, Bettie, The U.S.S.R. and Iraq: The Soviet Quest for Influence (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1991); Axelgard, Fred, Iraq in Transition: A Political, Economic, and Strategic Perspective (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1986); Axelgard, Fred, A New Iraq? The Gulf War and Implications for U.S. Policy (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1988); Grimmett, Richard, Trends in Conventional Arms Transfers to the Third World, by Major Supplier, 1976–1983 (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, 1984); and Grimmett, Richard, Trends in Conventional Arms Transfers to the Third World, by Major Supplier, 1982–1989 (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, 19 06 1990).

53. Our weighting scheme uses roughly comparable ratios as those used in the COPDAB/ASHLEY scale. For a discussion of that scale see Goldstein, and Freeman, , Three-Way Street, pp. 3839.

54. For more on the Iranian decision, see Ramazani, R. K., “Iran's Resistance to the U.S. Intervention in the Persian Gulf,” in Keddie, and Gasiorowski, , Neither East Nor West, pp. 3660 and 49–52.

55. Iran, Israel, and the United States helped to arm the Kurds and support their resistance from 1972–75. The policy ended after the Algiers accords between Iran and Iraq were signed in 1975. Saddam claimed that Soviet support had been slow in coming and insufficient, attributing the defeat of the Iranian-Israeli-U.S. “conspiracy in Kurdistan” to the strength of Iraq alone. See The Papers, Pike, The Village Voice, 16 02 1976, pp. 85 and 87–88.

56 George, Alexander, Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace, 1993), pp. 125131.

57. Osgood, Charles, An Alternative to War or Surrender (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1962).

58. On the symbolic nature of interest during the cold war, see Jervis, Robert, The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution: Statecraft and the Prospect of Armageddon (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1989), pp. 174225.

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