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Knowing the AdversaryLeaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations$
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Keren Yarhi-Milo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159157

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159157.001.0001

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Theories of Intentions and the Problem of Attention

Theories of Intentions and the Problem of Attention

(p.14) Chapter 1 Theories of Intentions and the Problem of Attention
Knowing the Adversary

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Princeton University Press

This chapter outlines the theoretical foundations of the selective attention thesis and three competing ones: the capabilities, strategic military doctrine, and behavior theses. It divides perceived political intentions into five ideal-type categories based on the degree to which the enemy is believed to have the determination required to revise the status quo and the extent of its revisionist intentions: unlimited expansionist, limited expansionist, unlimited opportunistic, limited opportunistic, and status quo powers. The chapter proceeds by offering a set of hypotheses as to how civilian decision makers and intelligence organizations conduct intentions assessment. In particular, it considers the vividness hypothesis, the subjective credibility hypothesis, the organizational expertise hypothesis, and the offense–defense theory. It also explains the methodology used in the three case studies.

Keywords:   selective attention, capabilities, strategic military doctrine, behavior, political intentions, decision makers, intelligence organizations, intentions assessment, vividness hypothesis, offense-defense theory

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