Catalogue


Pandora's trap : presidential decision making and blame avoidance in Vietnam and Iraq /
Thomas Preston.
imprint
Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, c2011.
description
x, 264 p.
ISBN
0742562638, 9780742562639
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, c2011.
isbn
0742562638
9780742562639
catalogue key
7977745
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 245-255) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Thomas Preston is the C. O. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Political Science in the Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Policy at Washington State University (WSU). He frequently serves as a consultant for various U.S. governmental departments and agencies. Dr. Preston has published a number of books and articles including The President and His Inner Circle and From Lambs to Lions: Future Security Relationships in a World of Biological and Nuclear Weapons.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-05-01:
Preston's work adds significantly to the key scholarly debate in presidential studies over whether institutional forces or idiosyncratic aspects of each president determine policy outcomes. The author argues that "leaders matter!" Preston (Washington State Univ.) uses his earlier work on leadership style to compare the decision-making styles of Lyndon Johnson during Vietnam and George W. Bush during the Iraq War. Though the political contexts of Vietnam and Iraq differed greatly, the Johnson and G.W. Bush decision-making styles were similar enough--lack of foreign policy experience, lack of nuanced thinking, passionate belief that they were right, and insular decision making--that both followed a path to intervention. The book is theoretically elegant and empirically dense. Rooted in literature on cognitive styles, the theoretical structure is based on two frameworks. The first measures the leader's need for control and his prior experience in the policy area. The second measures the leader's sensitivity to context and conceptual complexity. Through this framework a typology of leadership styles is developed for use in comparing actual decision making in case studies, here Iraq and Vietnam. An outstanding contribution to the literature. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. W. W. Newmann Virginia Commonwealth University
Reviews
Review Quotes
Preston's work adds significantly to the key scholarly debate in presidential studies over whether institutional forces or idiosyncratic aspects of each president determine policy outcomes. The author argues that 'leaders matter!' Preston uses his earlier work on leadership style to compare the decision-making styles of Lyndon Johnson during Vietnam and George W. Bush during the Iraq War. Though the political contexts of Vietnam and Iraq differed greatly, the Johnson and G.W. Bush decision-making styles were similar enough--lack of foreign policy experience, lack of nuanced thinking, passionate belief that they were right, and insular decision making--that both followed a path to intervention. The book is theoretically elegant and empirically dense. Rooted in literature on cognitive styles, the theoretical structure is based on two frameworks. The first measures the leader's need for control and his prior experience in the policy area. The second measures the leader's sensitivity to context and conceptual complexity. Through this framework a typology of leadership styles is developed for use in comparing actual decision making in case studies, here Iraq and Vietnam. An outstanding contribution to the literature. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.
Preston's work adds significantly to the key scholarly debate in presidential studies over whether institutional forces or idiosyncratic aspects of each president determine policy outcomes. The author argues that "leaders matter!" Preston (Washington State Univ.) uses his earlier work on leadership style to compare the decision-making styles of Lyndon Johnson during Vietnam and George W. Bush during the Iraq War. Though the political contexts of Vietnam and Iraq differed greatly, the Johnson and G.W. Bush decision-making styles were similar enough--lack of foreign policy experience, lack of nuanced thinking, passionate belief that they were right, and insular decision making--that both followed a path to intervention. The book is theoretically elegant and empirically dense. Rooted in literature on cognitive styles, the theoretical structure is based on two frameworks. The first measures the leader's need for control and his prior experience in the policy area. The second measures the leader's sensitivity to context and conceptual complexity. Through this framework a typology of leadership styles is developed for use in comparing actual decision making in case studies, here Iraq and Vietnam. An outstanding contribution to the literature. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.
Thomas Preston illuminates the unattractive underside of the making of U.S. foreign policy. He shows how and why the public face of some major decisions has diverged substantially from the inside reality.
"Thomas Preston illuminates the unattractive underside of the making of U.S. foreign policy. He shows how and why the public face of some major decisions has diverged substantially from the inside reality. " ”Paul R. Pillar, Georgetown University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
How important is presidential personality and leadership style in foreign policy decisions? To answer this question, Thomas Preston takes readers inside the Bush administration's decision making process and use of intelligence to better understand how administration officials justified the Iraq War-and how they sought to avoid blame for the consequences of their actions. Based on extensive interviews with key Bush and Johnson administration officials, Preston offers students of American foreign policy, presidential decision making, the dynamics of blame avoidance, and future practitioners with an in depth examination of how presidential personality and leadership style impacted Bush's central foreign policy failure. In addition, Preston looks critically at the oft-cited comparisons of Iraq to Lyndon Johnson's leadership during the Vietnam War, exploring where the analogy fits and a number of important differences. He shows how both presidents' styles exacerbated their managerial weaknesses in these cases and the limits of blame avoidance strategies. Importantly, the book provides a cautionary tale for future leaders to consider more carefully the long-term consequences of satisfying their short term policy desires by lifting the lid to any new Pandora's trap.
Long Description
How important is presidential personality and leadership style in foreign policy decisions? To answer this question, Thomas Preston takes readers inside the Bush administration "s decision making process and use of intelligence to better understand how administration officials justified the Iraq War ”and how they sought to avoid blame for the consequences of their actions. Based on extensive interviews with key Bush and Johnson administration officials, Preston offers students of American foreign policy, presidential decision making, the dynamics of blame avoidance, and future practitioners with an in depth examination of how presidential personality and leadership style impacted Bush "s central foreign policy failure. In addition, Preston looks critically at the oft-cited comparisons of Iraq to Lyndon Johnson "s leadership during the Vietnam War, exploring where the analogy fits and a number of important differences. He shows how both presidents " styles exacerbated their managerial weaknesses in these cases and the limits of blame avoidance strategies. Importantly, the book provides a cautionary tale for future leaders to consider more carefully the long-term consequences of satisfying their short term policy desires by lifting the lid to any new Pandora "s trap.
Main Description
How important is presidential personality and leadership style in foreign policy decisions? To answer this question, Thomas Preston takes readers inside the Bush administration's decision making process and use of intelligence to better understand how administration officials justified the Iraq War ”and how they sought to avoid blame for the consequences of their actions. Based on extensive interviews with key Bush administration officials, Preston offers students of American foreign policy, presidential decision making, the dynamics of blame avoidance, and future practitioners with an in depth examination of how presidential personality and leadership style impacted Bush's central foreign policy failure. In addition, Preston looks critically at the oft-cited comparisons of Iraq to Lyndon Johnson's leadership during the Vietnam War, exploring where the analogy fits and a number of important differences. He shows how both presidents' styles exacerbated their managerial weaknesses in these cases and the limits of blame avoidance strategies. Importantly, the book provides a cautionary tale for future leaders to consider more carefully the long-term consequences of satisfying their short term policy desires by lifting the lid to any new Pandora's trap.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
A Tale of Two Texans: The Leadership Styles of George W. Bush and Lyndon Johnsonp. 11
The Politics of Blame Avoidance: Presidential Strategies for Surviving the Washington "Blame Game"p. 69
Opening Pandora's Box: Blame Avoidance, 9/11, and the Push for War with Iraqp. 105
Opening Pandora's Box: Blame Avoidance during the Iraq Warp. 149
Bush and Iraq: Revisiting the Vietnam Analogyp. 193
Notesp. 229
Bibliographyp. 245
Indexp. 257
About the Authorp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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