Political Model

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					       Political Model

The Decision Making Process Behind
    the Use of the Atomic Bomb
Political Model in Context
     Political Model Overview
• Goal conflict  decision to use the atomic
1. Organizational Politics
 1.1 Environmental Uncertainty
• Many actors involved in complex
• Nuclear armament race
• Hard to determine the true or full
  motivations of actors involved
   1.2 Resource Dependency
• The Franck Report (June 11, 1945)
• “Creative capacities” of physicists
   1.3. Task Interdependency
• Many groups with different goals
• Communication flow, reporting structure
• Reliance on Truman to approve decisions
            1.4 Goal Conflict
•   Moral dilemma (scientists)
•   Absolute solution (Interim Committee)
•   Leo Szilard’s petitions
•   Monetary expenditures
•   Groves’ desire for triumph
•   Achieving balanced view
•   US military superiority
2. Process
2.1 Coalitions
              2.1 Coalitions
• Shifting coalitions:
  – Form alliances with like-minded
  – Negotiation with rivals
        2.1 Coalitions cont’d
• Quasi conflict resolution:
  ? Treat multiple goals as constraints
  √ Seek local rationality (Target Committee,
    scientists held town-meetings)
  X Use acceptable-level decision rules
  √ Attend to goals sequentially
2.2 Procedural Rationality
    2.2 Procedural Rationality
• Many groups involved in arriving at
• Holding conferences to plan operations
  and discuss solutions (i.e. Operation
• Advisors reporting to Truman
3. Role of Power
     3.1 Building Power Base
• Strategic control
• Scientists:
  – Created dependency by exploiting “esoteric
    scientific discovery and own talents to
    produce a powerful destructive
    weapon…recognize existence of resource of
    national value” (Moore, 1958, p. 84)
   3.2 Exercising Decision Making
• Building coalitions:
   – Uranium Committee
   – Manhattan Project (in collaboration with UK &
   – Interim Committee + Scientific Panel
   – Target Committee
   3.2 Exercising Decision Making
            Power cont’d
• Controlling decision premises:
   – Information gatekeeping
   – Surrender terms:
   – "This may include a constitutional monarchy under
     the present dynasty if it be shown to the complete
     satisfaction of the world that such a government will
     never again aspire to aggression." (U.S. Dept. of
     State, Foreign Relations of the U.S., The Conference
     of Berlin (Potsdam) 1945, vol. 1, pg. 892-894.)
   – Value premises
  3.2 Exercising Decision Making
           Power cont’d
• Enhancing expertise
• Make preferences explicit:
  – Speakers presented viewpoints at committee
  – Justifying use of atomic bomb to “save
    American lives”, hard to challenge moral
  4. Quality of Decision Making
• Dominant factors:
  – Claim America’s supremacy in nuclear arms
  – Greater good: will save American lives and
    end the war early
  – Support stability in post-war world &
    strengthen American diplomacy
     4. Quality of Decision Making
• Focusing on military approach vs. diplomatic strategies:
   – “The consensus among scholars is that the bomb was
     not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan.... It is clear
     that alternatives to the bomb existed and that Truman
     and his advisers knew it.” (Walker, 1990, p. 110)
   – Soviet participation
• John McCloy: “The use of nuclear weapons on Japan
  "was not given the thoroughness of consideration and
  the depth of thought that the president of the United
  States was entitled to have before a decision of this
  importance was taken“ (Reston, 1991, p. 500)
  4.3 Strengths & Weaknesses
• Strengths:
  – Low goal ambiguity
  – Various opinions consulted
• Weaknesses:
  – Multiple conflicts & interests
  – Groups can be misleading
  – Singular authority
  – Forming coalitions based on personal reasons
 4.4 Suggested Improvements
• External entity
• Reduce conflict
• Break conventions
  – Transparency
              4.5 Insight
• Analyzing the decision to use the atomic
  bomb revealed a multitude of perspectives
• Uncovering secret agendas
• Moral implications of nuclear warfare

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