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Rolling the Iron Dice: Historical Analogies and Decisions to Use Military Force in Regional Contingencies (Contributions in Military Studies) [Hardcover]

Scot Macdonald

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Book Description

July 30, 2000 0313314217 978-0313314216 First Edition

Does history provide lessons for foreign policy makers today? Macdonald combines cognitive psychology theories about analogical reasoning, international relations theories about military intervention, and original archival research to analyze the role of historical information in foreign policy decision making. He looks at the role of historical analogies in Anglo-American decision making during foreign policy crises involving the possible use of force in regional contingencies during a crucial period in the 1950s when the West faced an emerging Soviet threat. This study analyzes the influence of situational and individual variables in a comparison of more than ten leaders from two nations facing four different crises.

Rolling the Iron Dice describes the often significant effect of historical analogies on perceptions of the adversary and of allies, time constraints, policy options and risks, as well as the justification of policy in four crises: the 1950 Korean invasion; the 1951-53 Iranian oil nationalization incident; the 1956 Suez crisis; and the 1958 crisis in Lebanon and Jordan. Contrary to both the slippery slope and the escalation models of military intervention, Macdonald argues that leaders decide extremely early in a crisis, often on the basis of an historical analogy, but also based on perceptions of the rationality of an adversary, whether to use military force. Their decision does not change unless the adversary capitulates to every demand.


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Editorial Reviews

Review

?Rolling the Iron Dice offers many lessons on the use of history to justify policy, and Macdonald urges decision makers to use caution when they compare crises to past events. Since people, time, and technology do not stand still, one should not place a blanket label on petty dictators or strongmen by labeling them Hitlers or Mussolinis. Doing so will prevent analysts form truly understanding their adversaries. In short, the author has done a commendable job, and I highly recommend his book to readers interested in strategy and policy.?-Air & Space Power Journal

About the Author

SCOT MACDONALD has taught at the University of Southern California and Occidental College and has guest lectured at the University of Nevada and at California State University, San Bernardino.

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More About the Author

Scot Macdonald is the author of the novels, "The Shakespeare Drug" and "In Justice Found," and two non-fiction books: "Propaganda and Information Warfare in the 21st Century" and "Rolling the Iron Dice: Historical Analogies and Decisions to Use Military Force in Regional Contingencies."

As an author, he has contributed articles to "The Writers' Journal", and is an editor and writer for a range of businesses in the healthcare field, academia and event planning.

In the field of international relations, he specializes in military intervention and has published articles in the "U.S. Marine Corps Gazette," the "U.S. Naval Institute's Proceedings," the "Journal of Diplomacy and Statecraft," and the "Fletcher Forum of International Affairs." He has also contributed to two edited volumes.

Dr. Macdonald earned his doctorate in International Relations from the University of Southern California (USC) and has taught at USC and Occidental College, as well as guest lecturing at Chapman University, California State University, San Bernardino and the University of Nevada, Reno. He was awarded fellowships to conduct research at the Truman and Eisenhower presidential libraries, as well as a grant to study sovereignty issues within the European Union. He is an adjunct professor at the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California.

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