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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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Summary and Implications

Summary and Implications

(p.241) Chapter 11 Summary and Implications
Knowing the Adversary

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Princeton University Press

This chapter summarizes the book's empirical findings and explains their practical policy implications as well as their significance for international relations theory. The selective attention thesis is pitted against the capabilities thesis, strategic military doctrine thesis, and behavior thesis for each of the three historical episodes of intentions assessment. The selective attention thesis is more successful than the capabilities, strategic military doctrine, and behavior theses in accounting for the empirical patterns observed for the three cases. The evidence shows that when assessing intentions, decision makers rely on their personal impressions and are influenced by indicators that are consistent with their own theories about how the world operates as well as their preexisting stance toward an adversary. In contrast, intelligence organizations pay selective attention to those indicators that match their bureaucratic expertise. The chapter concludes by suggesting important avenues for further research.

Keywords:   international relations theory, selective attention, capabilities, strategic military doctrine, behavior, intentions assessment, decision makers, intelligence organizations

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