Analogies at War: Korea, Munich, Dien Bien Phu, and the by Yuen Foong Khong

By Yuen Foong Khong

From global warfare I to Operation barren region hurricane, American policymakers have time and again invoked the "lessons of heritage" as they meditated taking their state to struggle. Do those historic analogies truly form coverage, or are they essentially instruments of political justification? Yuen Foong Khong argues that leaders use analogies no longer only to justify guidelines but in addition to accomplish particular cognitive and information-processing initiatives necessary to political decision-making. Khong identifies what those initiatives are and exhibits how they are often used to provide an explanation for the U.S. determination to interfere in Vietnam. counting on interviews with senior officers and on lately declassified files, the writer demonstrates with a precision no longer attained by way of past experiences that the 3 most crucial analogies of the Vietnam era--Korea, Munich, and Dien Bien Phu--can account for America's Vietnam offerings. a different contribution is the author's use of cognitive social psychology to aid his argument approximately how people analogize and to give an explanation for why policymakers usually use analogies poorly.

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Subsequent works will probably not advance the research program very far by adducing more examples of poor analogical reasoning and showing how they led to bad policies. Given the high quality of previous work, new research might stand a better chance of uncovering new patterns and generating fresh questions through an intensive analysis of a restricted number of cases. In other words, given that the existing research has range (large N) but lacks depth, it seems worthwhile for new research to reverse the emphasis.

46 Process tracing can show that these factors were important right to the end. It can also tell which of these factors had more weight at the meeting: no One questioned Lodge's analogy, Ball's analogy was criticized as being too pessimistic, and Johnson's preoccupation with Korea had weight simply because he had it and used it at a critical juncture in the meeting. D. , Harvard University, 1987), pp. 13-22. 43 Munich is often used as an example not because it is the most important analogy in Vietnam decision-making, but because its lessons are the most well known and most universally shared.

Does not determine in a linear, specific way his decision choice, but it does bound and delimit the general range or type of response he is likely to make in a given situation. S. response to the deteriorating situation in South Vietnam. In each chapter, I begin by using the AE framework and process tracing to identify what lessons policymakers drew from these analogies. I then trace the role of the analogy in the policy process by identifying its advocates, its detractors, and its impact on the decision-makers.

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