"Understanding Decisionmaking, U.S. Foreign Policy, and the Cuban Missile Crisis: A Review Essay"
Journal Article, International Security, volume 25, issue 1, pages 134-164
Author: Barton J. Bernstein
Stanford University's Barton Bernstein reviews the 1999 revised edition of Essence of Decision by Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow. Bernstein begins with a brief overview of the 1971 edition of Essence, in which Allison laid out three now-famous models—the rational actor, organization process (renamed "organization behavior" in the revised edition), and bureaucratic politics—to explain decisionmaking processes. Bernstein recognizes that Essence has been influential, but contends that the revised edition neither explains the Cuban missile crisis nor resolves some of the conceptual problems of the first edition.
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