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A Three-level analysis of the US decision to develop and deploy Ballistic Missile Defence
Master Thesis International Relations – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – The Netherlands
Student: Supervisor: Second Reader: Date:
Wilbert van der Zeijden Dr. E.B. van Apeldoorn Dr. J.J. Woldendorp July 11th 2007
The Essence of Ballistic Missile Defence
A Three-level analysis of the US decision to develop and deploy Ballistic Missile Defence
Master Thesis International Relations – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – The Netherlands
Student: Supervisor: Second Reader: Date:
Wilbert van der Zeijden Dr. E.B. van Apeldoorn Dr. J.J. Woldendorp July 11th 2007
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: Why Missile Defence Matters 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Background Moral relevance: What the US decided not to do The debate The puzzle A readers guide `
1 1 3 5 7 13
Theoretical Framework: Allison and Zelikow’s three model framework 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The logic of Allison’s three model framework Empirical Research Questions Critique of the three model framework Theoretical Research Questions 15 15 18 19 23
Defining ‘the decision’ to develop and deploy ‘Ballistic Missile Defence’ 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 What Missile Defence? A short history of BMD What decision? Technical specifics of BMD
25 25 28 30 33
The Rational Actor Model: BMD as attempt to counter emerging threats 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 The origins of the Rational Actor Model The Rational Actor Paradigm and Critique RAM analysis 1: Notional State Games RAM analysis 2: Identified State Decisions Conclusions and Implications 35 36 40 44 50 58
The Organisational Behaviour Model: BMD as output of governmental organisations 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 The origins of the Organisational Behaviour Model The Organisational Behaviour Paradigm and Critique Adapting the OBM for BMD analysis OBM Analysis: BMD as organisational output Conclusions and Implications 59 60 62 63 65 73
The Governmental Politics Model: BMD as result of political bargaining 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 The origins of the Governmental Politics Model The Governmental Politics Paradigm and Critique Adapting the GPM for BMD analysis GPM analysis 1: Bureaucratic positions GPM analysis 2: Political beliefs Conclusions and Implications 77 77 79 81 82 87 93
Conclusions 7.1 7.2 7.3 Empirical findings Theoretical findings Future research
95 95 98 101
List of Abbreviations
ABM treaty BMD BMDS BMDO CIA DoD EKV FAS FPA GMD GPALS GPM ICBM HTMD MD MDA MTMD NMD NPT OBM RAM RQ SALT SBIRS SDI SOP START TMD Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty Ballistic Missile Defence Ballistic Missile Defence System Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation Central Intelligence Agency Department of Defence Exo-Atmospheric Kill-Vehicle Federation of American Scientists Foreign Policy Analysis Global Missile Defence Global Protection Against Limited Strikes Governmental Politics Model Intercontinental Ballistic Missile High Tier Missile Defence Missile Defence Missile Defence Agency Multi-Tier Missile Defence National Missile Defence Non-Proliferation Treaty Organisational Behaviour Model Rational Actor Model Research Question Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty Space Based Infra-Red Laser System Strategic Defence Initiative Standard Operating Procedure Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty Theatre Missile Defence
At first glance, the idea to pursue defence against ballistic nuclear missiles seems a logical step for any country. It would in theory be able to protect against a single nuclear weapon launched by a desperate state, a terrorist sub-state group, or against an erroneous fired missile by an accepted nuclear power. Yet, when US President George W. Bush announced on May 1, 2001 his decision to develop and deploy an elaborate system of defence against ballistic missiles, it puzzled me as it did many others. Why would the administration want to attempt something that had failed so hopelessly before? Why attempt something that the Federation of American Scientists labelled technologically impossible? Why invest 200 plus billion US$ when the US deficit is exploding at a rate of 3 billion US$ a day? Why run the risk of a renewed arms race? In response to the decision, many opinions about missile defence and about the ‘real reasons’ behind it were postulated, by politicians, heads of state, scholars, media and civil society. Yet the polarisation of the debate that followed even among scholars has been standing in the way of a thorough and non-partisan answer to the first question that should have been raised: Why this decision? Or: What explains the decision by the US Government to develop and deploy ballistic missile defence? In this thesis, I hope to contribute in a modest way to solving this puzzle. Depending on perspective, getting to this point took me two months of solitary confinement, or some 10 years of being a political sciences student….. I wouldn’t know where to start to thank each and every person that offered help in that time, so I thank you all in one go. I can’t convincingly say: “I couldn’t have done it without you”, because frankly, I probably would have finished some thesis long ago if it weren’t for EKKO, Protos, the NO-BASES gang, the Strangelove Institute (forthcoming) and now the Hot Fox Five. But without all that to distract me, it wouldn’t have been half the fun and what’s more, not being part of all that would have to stood in the way of being me. There’s a few that deserve singling out though. Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, my supervisor, for reminding me of my thesis at exactly the right moment, about a year ago; for his insightful comments on earlier drafts; and for the interesting discussions throughout the years. My mother for never giving up on her prodigal son, my father for valuable feedback on the drafts and for our never boring discussions. Both for always being there. Sebastian Dinjens for his enthusiasm and for allowing me to pick his brain in the earlier stages of this work. Jelle Boomstra for his daily ‘voortgangscontrole’, Arjen van Gend for all the years of providing an exquisite hideout, Okkem, Hette, Richard, Marjoleine…. The Transnational Institute and my colleagues there, for providing me with all the right reasons not to finish this for six years, and for giving me two months off to do just that. And last but not least my two boys, Jonathan and Ruben, for putting it all in the right perspective. Utrecht, June 28, 2007
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
INTRODUCTION: Why Missile Defence Matters
This thesis aims to shed light on the decision by the US Government to develop and deploy an extensive capability to defend against enemy ballistic missiles1, potentially with nuclear payload. It will take a closer look at the argumentation used by the US government and engage in discussions about the validity of the assumptions and claims made by the decision makers. It will also look at the decision making process and the forces within US society and politics contributing to the drive for this decision. This introductory Chapter will give some brief background on the topic of missile defence, and it will spell out ‘the puzzle’ that this thesis seeks to solve. This Chapter ends with a brief overview of Chapters, to guide the reader through the thesis.
The Second World War saw the first use of longer range missiles with payload. In 1944, the German army launched its first ‘Vergeltungswaffe 2’ rocket (V2), with an explosive payload. The V2 moved faster than sound and hit London. Within a year, both sides to the conflict used similar rockets. The US signed for another first, dropping from a plane ‘the big one’, the first nuclear bomb, ironically dubbed ‘little boy’, on Hiroshima, August 6th 1945. Thus leading the world into the Nuclear Age. After the war, those two new technologies, longer range missiles and nuclear weapons, were combined into the single most powerful weapon in human history: The Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with nuclear payload. This weapon came to dominate world politics throughout the second half of the 20th century, leading to the delicate balance of power known as “Mutual Assured Destruction” during the Cold War, a nuclear stand-off between the US and the USSR. And nuclear weapons continue to influence defence policies and foreign politics today. The history of warfare and defence can be described as a continuous arms race. Much the same as with the race in which national banks try desperately to outsmart counterfeiters, those who develop military offence capabilities try to stay one step ahead of those developing military defence capabilities. As French President Jacque Chirac put it:
Ballistic literally means ‘describing the trajectory of a projectile’. In rocket science the term ‘ballistic missiles’ specifies those missiles that use motor power to climb after which the payload falls back to earth unpropelled; direction and velocity determined by gravity, see Chapter 3.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence If you look at world history, ever since man began waging war, you will see that there’s a permanent race between sword and shield. The sword always wins. The more improvements you make to the shield, the more improvements are made to the sword…. (New York Times, December 17, 1999). Chirac echoes what is commonly known in the study of International Relations as the security dilemma. The dilemma is often exemplified by quoting Lord Grey, reflecting on the First World War: The increase of armaments, that is intended in each nation to produce consciousness of strength, and a sense of security, does not produce these effects. On the contrary, it produces a consciousness of strength of other nations and a sense of fear. Fear begets suspicion and distrust and evil imaginings of all sorts, till each Government feels it would be criminal and betrayal of its own country not to take every precaution, while every government regards every precaution of every other Government as evidence of hostile intent (In Jervis 1976: 65). The security dilemma accurately describes the driving force behind the Cold War nuclear arms-race, as well as predicts a natural desire for countries to try and out-smart a nuclear adversary by building a defensive shield to protect against ICBMs. Yet, at the same time, the dilemma does not stop with such protection. Worse, realising that no military capability is purely ‘defensive’ in function, it will in turn aggravate the security dilemma of adversaries.
Missile Defence: The Holy Grail of National Security
Writing in 2007, it has been 6 decades since the invention of the nuclear ICBM. Powerful states like Russia and the US have since tried to develop the means necessary to defend their territories against the horrific threat of ICBMs, thus trying to match in Chirac’s words the capabilities of the shield to those of the sword. Up till today, no one has managed to master the technological difficulties connected to “hitting a bullet with a bullet”. As a consequence of all previous failures (see Chapter 3), the dream of ballistic missile defence seemed to have died with the Cold War in the early 1990s. The Clinton administration still pursued some modest technological breakthroughs, without much success, but his administration seemed altogether unenthusiastic about the concept. Ballistic missile defence resurfaced as a top priority in 2001, when the new George W. Bush administration launched a new, and extensive plan. Arguing that after the Cold War the world had become a more dangerous place because of the growing possibility of proliferation of both the technology required for nuclear weapons and for ICBMs, the
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence administration felt compelled to stay a step ahead of this possible future threat. The decision was much debated, and on many different grounds. Renowned economists debated whether the 200 plus billion dollars needed to develop the system would be worth it – how it would affect the national economy. Professors in physics and engineers disagreed vehemently on the technological feasibility. International relations experts discussed the question whether or not the plan would lead to a renewed arms race with Russia and more specifically China. Legal experts – and governments – argued whether or not the proposed missile defence system would violate international treaties, especially the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. That last discussion ended with the US withdrawal from that Treaty. As for the rest, only time can tell who was right and on which point.
1.2 Moral relevance: What the US decided not to do
The moral relevance of the decision of the US government to again attempt to defend itself against ICBMs is contained first and foremost in the international political consequences of the decision. Better yet, it is contained in what the US decided not to pursue. The existence of nuclear weapons has burdened mankind since the Second World War. The two superpowers, the US and the USSR were the first to develop nuclear ICBMs, over time joined by the UK, France, Israel, China, Pakistan and India. A stalemate line in the cold conflict was reached when under UN auspices most countries relevant signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968.2 The NPT asked of non-nuclear states to refrain from developing the bomb, and with some success. Over the years, several countries decided – arguably in conflict with their immediate strategic interest – to stop researching and developing nuclear arms. Australia, Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Italy, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Ukraine all at one point rolled back their nuclear ambitions. (Rauf 1999: 4) The moral justification of the NPT towards these countries was that it offered them a deal. In return for the promise not to build up a nuclear arsenal, the already existing nuclear states (China, France, the UK, the US and the USSR) promised to negotiate first a reduction of their nuclear arsenal, and ultimately the abolition of all nuclear arms, including their own. The nuclear powers have not met the obligations of the NPT, at all.3 In a world without nuclear arms, the US or any other country would not have
For the entire treaty text of the NPT, see: [http://www.un.org/events/npt2005/npttreaty.html] This remark refers to Article IV of the NPT: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence to resort to shielding themselves from a nuclear attack. The unwillingness to disarm, in combination with the decision to pursue Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD), also sends out a strong signal from the US to countries doubting whether or not to break with the NPT requirements that tell them not to develop nuclear arms. The US is signalling that it has lost faith in the NPT and will not keep its end of the bargain. It accepts the existence of nuclear arms and chooses to employ unilateral protection against them rather than pursuing multilateral disarmament freeing the world of the yoke of a nuclear threat. Next to that, despite vigorous debate in the first months after the decision, there has been surprisingly little attention for its full implications. To name a few: BMD will further US overseas presence. Recently, the Czech Republic and Poland (both European Union (EU) member-states) have signed a deal allowing the US to build ground posts supporting BMD (Leixnering 2007). These sites will, when a nuclear war is inevitable, become target points for any opponent of the US. Knowing this, the US will have to base not only technical equipment and support at these sites, but also personnel and equipment to protect them. As will be discussed in this thesis, BMD will further allow the US to ‘tilt’ the deterrence balance with several countries, resulting in greater insecurity for these countries. In accordance with the concept of the security dilemma, it will force countries determined to retain a certain level of deterrence to respond, either by exceeding the capacity of the BMD shield (like China) (Godwin 2002: 3) or by trying to find alternative means of deterrence (terrorism, e.g. the horror scenario of a nuclear suitcase bomb). There are additional moral issues related to the lack of proper public debate on BMD. Europeans should realise that a hypothetical ICBM launched from the Middle East (a popular example these days), may be intercepted above European territory. One hundred and fifty kilometres high may sound very distant, but a nuclear explosion at that altitude would most certainly result in grave damage to the European continent and its inhabitants, even if the destruction of the ICBM does not lead to a full nuclear detonation. Also: People in the US should realise that 200 billion of their (public) tax dollars will flow into the (private) development of this system. All these and many other debates about the necessity and about the consequences of BMD receive little attention both within and outside the US. This thesis hopes to contribute to more in-depth discussion on the broader effects of BMD, going beyond the simple calculation that BMD is a moral imperative because of a government's prime objective of providing for the common defence (e.g. Spring 1998: 1-2).
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
1.3 The debate
The decision by a government to invest two hundred thousand million US$ in a technologically uncertain project is in itself reason enough to look closer at the decision and at the argumentation underlying it, especially when that decision is in direct violation of several international treaties. Yet, a study specifically looking at the decision itself, how it came about and why at that time (and not earlier) has not been undertaken so far. In that sense, this thesis responds to an omission in the existing scholarly discourse. At the same time, there is no lack of written material and commentary on the BMD system itself and on some of the controversies surrounding it. Most documents focus on the threat to which BMD is responding. Brian Kennedy of the conservative think-tank Claremont Institute for example assesses that: the United States has enemies that seek to remove it as the most powerful nation in the world and the defender of freedom. [And] the method by which these nations will seek to marginalise the United States may well be nuclear missile attack or the terror of nuclear black-mail (Kennedy 2002: 1). This emphasis on BMD as a response to new nuclear threats is also apparent in the 2002 book Defending America: The Case for Limited National Missile Defense, by Michael O’Hanlon. O’Hanlon concludes that 5 ‘facts’ lead to the inescapable conclusion that BMD deserves the highest priority: (1) Ballistic missile technology is spreading to more and more countries; (2) The technology required for BMD is available; (3) The end of the Cold War offers the opportunity to rethink the role of BMD; (4) The ICBM is nearly the only type of threat against which the US has absolutely no defence; and (5) Nuclear deterrence may fail in certain types of crises or conflicts. (O’Hanlon 2002: 142-143). The argument O’Hanlon and others make is that while the Cold War is over, the missile threat has not diminished. On the contrary, a growing number of states is developing limited nuclear ICBM capacity. BMD would not aim to counter Russia’s deterrence capacity, but defend against ‘rogue nations’ like Iraq, Iran, North Korea and others. (Cambone, Daalder et al. 2000: 5; Gordon 2001: 17-36; Perry 2001: 31-45; Spring 1998: 1-2; Carter 2004). Stephen Hadley goes even further, emphasising that the end of the Cold War by no means ended the missile threat from Russia, and ultimately, a BMD system should also counter that threat (Hadley 2000: 95-108). An equally large amount of articles refutes the argumentation of O’Hanlon and others. Most challenge the threat assessment itself, claiming either that the ‘rogue states’ do not possess the necessary technology to pose a serious threat and will not do so for a long time (Cirincione 2000: 2-4; Deutch 2000: 91-100; Coates 2001: 13-14) or by claiming
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence that the existing overwhelming deterrence power of the US will keep any country with limited nuclear ICBM capabilities from attacking the US in the first place (Krieger 2001; Lewis 1999: 120-137 e.g.) Many of the critics of BMD express a worry about the choice for BMD as opposed to other methods of threat reduction, such as nuclear non-proliferation (Kursosaki 2004; Hagen 2001) or the more aggressive method of nuclear counterproliferation (Carter 2004). Analysts like George Lewis even go so far as to conclude that BMD contradictorily may increase the likelihood of a nuclear war (Lewis 1999: 120-131). Critics of BMD also question the benefit of BMD, arguing that relatively, BMD is too costly a method to increase security, where cheaper options are available, such as a strengthened multilateral counter-proliferation effort (Deutch 2000: 91-100; Newhouse 2001: 97-109). The discourse on foreign affairs related argumentation for or against BMD is highly politicised. The political ‘colour’ of the analyst often becomes apparent by looking just at the publishing house responsible for dissemination of the text. Studies in favour of BMD are mostly pushed by Military Academies, or policy research institutes with an acclaimed ‘promilitary expenses’ background, often close to the Republican Party: The Brooking Institution, the Heritage Foundation, the Atlantic Council of the US, The Project for The New American Century, etc. Critics are wider spread it seems, including universities and research institutes that are less clearly linked to a certain part of the political spectrum (The Monterey Institute for International Studies, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, e.g.). Others do have a clear link to either the Democratic Party (Deutch et al.), or to progressive think-tanks (Krieger of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Lewis of the Center for Defense Information). Both sides seem to make their own assumptions about (1) how realistic the threat is, (2) how well BMD would counter the threat, and (3) how the Bush administration assessed the threat and the effects of BMD. Outside that debate, there are several less politicised side-debates. One is on the technological feasibility of a BMD system. While disagreeing in their conclusions, analysts seem less driven by a-priori opinions about BMD. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) for example repeatedly concluded in articles and in letters to the government that BMD is technologically impossible (e.g. FAS 2000), while others analyse test results of different specific systems part of BMD (Singer 2003; Watson 2003; Hildreth 2007). Several informative analyses have been made with regard to international treaties and the potential violations of these treaties because of BMD. The violation of the AntiBallistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) is obvious, and led to heated debates in 2000 and 2001 (see for example Lewis 1999; O’Hanlon 2002), until the US withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002. Less obvious violations of the NPT and of international treaties on the
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence weaponisation of space are discussed in the literature by Hitchens (2002b) and by the Acronym Institute (2007). A discourse has emerged in the past decade on the costs of a (working) BMD shield. The dominant view is that development alone would cost some 200 billion US$ in the next 15 to 20 years, which seems a reasonable estimate given that the annual expenses over the past years have hovered around 10 billion US$. More critical analyses estimate that a ‘really working’ shield would cost up to maybe 1,000 billion US$ (Kaufman 2003). Several analysts hint that the discussion on costs (and benefits) may be taken a step further, and that one of the positive consequences of BMD is that the investment will stimulate US industries (Gold 1999; Mc Guire 2002; Kaufman 2003). Finally, analyses by the World Policy Institute contribute to the debate by looking at the decision from an entirely different angle, claiming that the decision in the end may have little to do with the threat or the solution BMD may or may not offer. Instead, the hypothesis is put on the table that the decision is driven by a strong lobby by the defence industry in combination with a clear involvement of leading Bush administration personalities in that lobby (Ciarrocca and Hartung 2002). Contemplating the available analyses on BMD, a student of International Relations will find him or herself presented with a relatively rich technological debate and sufficient information on the actual and probably cost of BMD. Next to that, a clear picture seems to emerge of the consequences of BMD for treaties on proliferation and the weaponisation of space. But while these more factual analyses are pivotal for any thorough understanding of the issue, the disagreement on the need and use for BMD along political dividing lines has moved to the centre of the debate. The divide obscures a clear view on what contributed to the decision itself, and leaves the analyst with a puzzle.
1.4 The puzzle
The dominant argumentation in favour of developing and deploying BMD may be best formulated by members of the Bush administration themselves. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defence, June 21, 2001: There are some important facts which are not debatable: The number of countries that are developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction is growing. The number of ballistic missiles on the face of the earth, and the number of countries possessing them is growing as well. Future adversaries may use these advanced capabilities to deny us access to distant theatres of operation. And, as they gain access to a range of new weapons that allow them to expand the “deadly zone” to include our
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence territory, infrastructure, space assets, population, friends, and allies, we may find future conflicts are no longer restricted to their region of origin. (US Senate 2001a: 5) Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defence, July 12, 2001: If we do not build defences against these weapons now, hostile powers will soon have – or may already have -- the ability to strike U.S. and allied cities with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. They will have the power to hold our people hostage to blackmail and terror. They may secure, in their estimation, the capability to prevent us from forming international coalitions to challenge their acts of aggression and force us into a truly isolationist posture. And they would not even have to use the weapons in their possession to affect our behaviour and achieve their ends. (US Senate 2001b: 2) The most basic formulation, BMD as a response to the growing threat posed by countries obtaining ICBMs with nuclear payload, is the most echoed argumentation in favour of a BMD shield. And instinctively it makes sense. Potential adversaries could develop or may already have offensive ICBM capacity threatening US territory and allies. Furthermore, the possession of nuclear ICBMs is understood by the administration to not only matter on the battlefield, but at the negotiation table as well. Rumsfeld asks: Imagine, for a moment, what might happen if a rogue state demonstrated the capability to attack U.S. or European populations with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction? A policy of intentional vulnerability by the Western nations could give rogue states the power to hold our people hostage to nuclear blackmail – in an effort to prevent us from projecting force to stop aggression (US Senate 2001a: 2). BMD, as formulated by Rumsfeld, is not only to protect against missiles, but also to protect against blackmail by potential adversaries. What is striking in the quotes above, is the emphasis on apparent offensive functions of BMD. Not only will the system defend, it will secure US access to ‘distant theatres of operation’, and grant the US the ability to ‘project force to stop aggression’ as well. This line of argumentation seems at first to be a tight fit with the dominant theoretical approach in the study of International Relations, Neo-realism. Neo-realists argue that states, as primary actors in an international system of states, act primarily in response to a perceived threat (nuclear ICBMs) or opportunity (taking away the blackmailing power of an adversary). States are rational in their choices and as such able to meet the problem (nuclear ICBMs; amenability to blackmail) with the most adequate response (BMD). The double function of BMD, defence and offence, responds to two identifiable ‘flavours’ of realism. Defensive Realism predicts that states are primarily seeking survival of the state (Taliaferro 2000: 152-168) in an international jungle. The US in this case seeks survival in the face of possible annihilation by nuclear attack. Offensive
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence realism predicts that the state is not only interested in survival, but also in expansion of its power and influence (e.g. Mearsheimer 2002). The US sees in BMD the means to expand its ability to conduct military offensive operations in ‘distant theatres’ so as to secure or expand domination over overseas regions of interest. It would seem as if the central question in this thesis “What explains the decision by the US administration to develop and deploy BMD” is easily answered. Empirically: The growing threat explains it, or the imperative of the US to respond to it. Or on a theoretical level: Neo-realism explains it. But looking closer at neo-realism, as will be done in Chapter 4, it raises new empirical questions too. Within the neo-realist approach, it is common usage to not only look at the perception of threat and available solutions of a state as if it were operating in a vacuum. Better yet, the state is understood to act as one actor in a system of actors. Reading the statements above again, it seems obvious that the security dilemma as formulated by Robert Jervis should apply to the concept of BMD. The security dilemma states that the (defensive) action of one state, affects the perceived security situation of another state, thus forcing the other state to respond (Jervis 1978: 209). Realising this, a rational state will consider in its choice of action these responses by adversaries and may even choose an alternative action. As a result, the choice of action of one state is limited by the perceived responses of another state, and vice versa. In the case of BMD, this raises serious questions. Immediately after the US’ decision to deploy BMD, China announced it would expand its nuclear strike capacity, to outmatch the capacity of the BMD shield. In the case of China, the BMD decision did nothing to enhance the national security of the US (Godwin 2002: 5). And consider the position of Iran. Over the past years, the US threatened Iran several times with military intervention.4 Iran has reason to take these threats seriously. Two of its direct neighbours have been occupied by the US since 2001, and the US keeps troops and military facilities in no less than ten countries directly bordering Iran.5 Furthermore, Iran is aware of the expressed policy of the US to push for democratisation and possibly regime change in Iran.6 Realism predicts that Iran would be clearly aware that it needs a method to deter the US from attacking it. Looking at the most recent additions to the nuclear club, Pakistan and India, Iran may well have learned from their experiences: The route towards nuclearisation is paved with dangers, but once the threshold is passed,
See for some more recent examples: Washington Post, June 1, 2006; Independent, January 15, 2007; Jerusalem Post, April 26, 2007, etc. 5 The US currently keeps foreign military facilities and troops in Iran’s neigbours Afghanistan, Bahrein, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi-Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. See for example: van der Zeijden, 2007). 6 On democratisation and regime change, see for example: Vanaik, 2007. Iran’s awareness of the threat, for example: Jerusalem Post, April 26, 2007.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence the US willingly or unwillingly will change its posture. Both Pakistan and India were threatened by the US before, but can count on a more cooperative relationship with the US since they are ‘accepted nuclear powers’ (Mian 2007: 164-174). Iran may have concluded that the easiest way to solve its problem of lack of deterrence is to acquire some nuclear ICBM capability. BMD, at first glance, would take away the incentive for Iran to go that direction, and it may, or may not. The important question is how Iran assesses the chances of success of the US BMD plan. Critical reports about feasibility from US physics and engineers, supported by dubious test results so far, may well lead Iran to assess that the US is bluffing. Next to that, Iran may assess that it needs nuclear arms anyway, to restore the power balance vis-à-vis the growing amount of countries capable of blackmailing Iran at the negotiation table: Pakistan, India, Russia, China and Israel. For indeed, who would come to the defence of Iran if in a crisis any of the mentioned nuclear powers threatened it with a nuclear assault on Tehran? And even if Iran assesses BMD as a probable success and decides to cancel its nuclear programme, that would not – from an Iranian point of view – resolve the imminent threat. Iran would still feel the need for a convincing deterrent, for example bypassing the BMD shield (a nuclear suitcase bomb) or by creating a conventional deterrent against the US (strike capability against US troops in the region, or against Israel, e.g.).7 In the example of Iran, a functioning BMD system would at best force it to search secondary, possibly less favourable deterrents. In the worst case scenario, it would push Iran further into a nuclear deterrence strategy. A similar logic applies to the case of North Korea, and possibly other countries. All in all, the huge risk brought on by the BMD decision is that if the system works, it just pushes adversaries into other means of deterrence, while if it does not work, or until it works, the US may find itself in the dangerous strategic contradiction in which it pushes its acclaimed adversaries into a more aggressive deterrence strategy, while the US only has a fallible BMD shield to try and hide behind. Then why the decision in the first place? Was the US administration not aware of the risks involved? That seems unlikely. But if the decision can be understood as a well informed, rational decision, then how to explain that the Clinton administration, with the same available information, came to a different conclusion? Furthermore, the quotes already show that the Bush administration is well aware of the diplomatic consequences of its decision, and of the readiness of adversaries to respond. Did the US administration make an irrational decision? It may have, but that takes us beyond the explanatory capacity of neo-realism, or any other approach founded on rational choice as Chapter 4 will show.
Iran has hinted at this strategy several times recently. See for example: Haaretz, April 26, 2007.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Were there additional considerations for the US administration leading to the decision, considerations that do not show in a neo-realist analysis?
As argued before, none of the available literature explicitly links its analyses to the neorealist approach, or any other scholarly tradition for that matter, with the notable exception of Julian Palmore’s five page game theoretical paper (Palmore 2001: 211-215). Implicitly, almost all seem to start from basic realist assumptions, with the noted exceptions of Ciarrocca and Hartung (2002), Mc Guire (2002) and Gordon (2001). These three all allow for additional or entirely different (implicit) sets of assumptions. However different in their approach and conclusions, all three look to intra-governmental or national political mechanisms that may have contributed to the BMD decision. Contemplating the obvious doubts about the explanatory competence of the neo-realist approach in this case, their alternative theses become all the more important. Neo-realism, and several other contemporary International Relations approaches, essentially limit their focus to interstate relations, or what Waltz called the systemic level. As Robert Keohane formulates it: […] an international-level analysis […] is neither an alternative to studying domestic politics, nor a mere supplement to it. On the contrary, it is a precondition for effective comparative analysis. Without a conception of the common external problems, pressures, and challenges […] we lack an analytic basis for identifying the role played by domestic interests and pressures. Understanding the constraints imposed by the world political economy allows us to distinguish the effects of common international forces from those of distinctive national ones (Keohane cited in Ikenberry et al. 1988: 4) Over the years, the development of system-level theories and approaches has proven its value, but has also produced a vast amount of reflections on the limitations of its explanatory power caused by the exclusion of possibly relevant domestic policy or politics. According to Ikenberry et al., system-centred explanations of foreign policy treat the policy process as a black box. Such a conception, Ikenberry argues: is most useful when it explains or predicts the pattern of a large number of cases across time or space. However, it becomes less useful when analysis […] focuses more closely on a small number of cases in a single country […]. In that event, we need to understand the policy process, and how domestic and international forces and constraints are transmitted through the black box of government (Ikenberry 1988: 2-3). Following Ikenberry, studying a single government decision, like in this thesis, would then require the opening of ‘the black box of government’ and look what’s inside. Yet, at the
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence same time, it would be pushing too far to say that BMD can only be studied by opening the black box. A study of the reasons for BMD cannot negate or ignore the system level component. So on the one hand system-level analysis cannot provide sufficient answers, but on the other hand no analysis of the BMD decision can do without. A possible way out of this dilemma is offered by what is known within the study of International Relations as Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA). FPA argues that beside rational state behaviour as studied in neo-realism, additional insight can be acquired by studying the human decision makers level (Hudson 2005: 3-4) As Snyder et al. argue: […] if one wishes to probe the “why” question underlying the events, conditions, and interaction patterns which rest upon state action, then decision-making analysis is certainly necessary. We would go so far as to say that the “why” question cannot be answered without analysis of decision making. (Snyder, Bruck and Sapin 1962: 33, emphasis in original). FPA as such provides a method for opening Ikenberry’s Black Box, and looks inside the black box at the individuals, groups and organisations that make the decisions that are recognised in realism as ‘state actions or decisions’. FPA seems especially applicable to the analysis of the BMD decision in this thesis, since it does not negate the works and claims of Realism. Looking inside the box does not necessarily mean that what is outside the box is rendered irrelevant. Rather, as Hudson points out, FPA acknowledges “the “two-level” game that state decision makers must play: the simultaneous play of the game of domestic politics and the game of international politics” (Hudson 2005: 3). A functional method of combining the different levels of analysis in one study is presented by the works of Graham Allison, most notably in his famous book Essence of Decision (Allison 1971). In his attempts to explain the behaviour of the USSR and US governments during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, he too struggled with trying to find ‘the best’ analysis method. As one of the first, he argued that an overall explanation is best served by a multi-level analysis, rather than by solely a system-level, or a sub-system-level one. Allison proposes three ‘models’ in his work that each try to analyse the same question, but using three different sets of assumptions. His first model, the Rational Actor Model, is more or less the systemlevel analysis as we know it from the neo-realist approach. The second and third model open the black box and look at two different things ‘inside’. The second model looks at the domestic institutional level, and the third at the domestic political level. Allison’s work has been much acclaimed but also much criticised over the past three and a half decades since he wrote his book in 1971. New information on the Missile Crisis and new insights acquired over the years through discussion with his critics, led Allison to write a severely revised version of his book in 1999, now together with Philip Zelikow (Allison and Zelikow 1999). The popularity
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence of Allison’s work and the apparent usefulness of the method it offers to solve the puzzle presented in this thesis are the reason for choosing Allison and Zelikow’s models as the framework for this thesis. As will be explained in more detail in the next Chapter, this choice results in a double aim for this thesis. First of all the thesis will seek to answer the empirical research questions formulated in the next Chapter. Secondly, the thesis will test and evaluate the three models provided by Allison and Zelikow.
1.5 A readers guide
The next Chapter (two) will further introduce the framework proposed by Allison and Zelikow. Critiques of the work of Allison will be discussed, and distinctions between Allison 1971 and Allison & Zelikow 1999 will be briefly highlighted. The Chapter will conclude with a set of refined research questions. Chapter Three will take the reader away from both the empirical and theoretical debates for a moment, providing background information on ballistic missiles and the defence against them. It will give a brief history of previous BMD systems, and explains some of the technology involved in the current plans. Based on that, several definitions are formulated to refine understanding of ‘what kind of Missile Defence’ the thesis is about and ’what decision’ is analysed. Chapters Four, Five and Six will each apply one of the Allison and Zelikow models to analyse the BMD decision. Each Chapter starts with an in-depth explanation of the model used, and reviews critiques of the model. Each Chapter further adapts a model where necessary, to make it fit for analysis of the research questions in this thesis. After that, each Chapter will attempt an empirical analysis based on one of the models. Chapter Four studies the BMD decision through the lens of rational actors in the international political field, starting with the question “What did the administration intend to achieve or solve by its decision?”. Chapter Five looks into the organisational processes in play in the decision making process, asking the question “How was the decision made, and by whom?” The third empirical analytical Chapter will ask the question “Who wanted this and who supported the decision – and who did not?”, thus looking at the political bargaining and societal pressure that may have occurred in the run-up to the decision. Chapter Seven finally, will reflect on the combined results of the three separate analyses and conclude from it. The last Chapter will also answer more formally the research questions, and discuss the implications for further research.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: Allison and Zelikow’s three model framework
Trying to find a satisfactory explanation of the US choice for BMD, we find ourselves lacking a perfectly fitting approach. Allison and Zelikow’s book Essence of Decision provides a framework of analysis that tries to combine different – and sometimes differing – approaches, in order to strengthen the total explanatory value. The explicit claim Allison and Zelikow make is that the models they present do not exclude each other, but can be used to complement each other, building towards a more refined explanation of a government’s action or decision. This Chapter is divided into four sections. The first section starts by taking away the confusion caused by two rather different editions of the Essence of Decision book. And it will explain the logic of the three models formulated in the book. The second section will adopt for this thesis the framework proposed by Allison and Zelikow, and a set of empirical research questions will be formulated. In the third section, a review will be given of the main criticism of the three model framework. And finally, a set of theoretical research questions will be formulated in section four.
The logic of Allison’s three model framework
Graham Allison published the original version of Essence of Decision in 1971. The book has been widely appreciated as a classic in the study of foreign policy and international relations, but also far beyond that. Between 1971 and 1991, the book was cited in over 1,100 articles in academic journals listed in the Social Sciences Citation Index, political sciences periodicals, but also for example in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics (Welch 1992: 112). Thousands of copies of the book were sold each year, from 1971 onward, reflecting the widespread use in university curricula. For political scientists, Allison’s ‘Essence’ is more or less a household name. Two reasons led Allison to rewrite his book and publish in 1999 an updated version of Essence of Decision. First and foremost, a host of new available data called for refining of some of the argumentation in the original book, adding new evidence, removing passages that had turned out to be misguided. The most important source of new information and evidence came from the declassification of the ‘Kennedy Tapes’, transcripts of the actual discussions happening in the Oval Office in the White House in the days before and during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The 1999 edition of
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Essence of Decision is as a result much richer in information supporting the claims made in the book. Secondly, the revision of the 1971 book offered Graham Allison, now flanked by Philip Zelikow, to make methodological changes based on the 28 years of discussions on the three model framework Allison devised in 1971. In this thesis, the framework of the 1999 edition is used as the basis for analysis (Allison and Zelikow 1999). Allison and Zelikow argue that, when confronted with a puzzling governmental action or decision, the puzzle can be framed as a ‘why’-question. Why did the Soviet Union place missiles in Cuba? Why did Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait? What one seeks to accomplish when analysing such question, is to find out why one specific state of the world came about rather than another (Allison and Zelikow 1999:2). Most often, the resulting analysis of such a puzzle is done by assuming that governmental behaviour can be most satisfactorily understood by analogy with the purposive acts of an individual. Governments are then treated as if they were centrally coordinated, purposive individuals seeking value maximisation. This provides a useful simplification enabling us to understand policy choices or actions. But Allison and Zelikow point out that – however useful – this simplification also obscures a persistently neglected fact of government: The decision maker of national policy is obviously not a unitary calculating individual, but is rather a conglomerate of large governmental organisations and many political actors (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 3). This is not to say that focussing on organisations and their behaviour or focussing on political actors and their bargaining processes can be done without simplifying reality. On the contrary, Allison and Zelikow argue that each and every study of government behaviour in foreign affairs requires from the analyst he or she simplifies reality by excluding a large part of the puzzle. The reason for Allison and Zelikow to point out the often little realised assumptions underlying all analyses, is that in their attempt to explain the governmental behaviour of the US and the USSR during the Cuban Missile Crisis, they struggled with trying to find ‘the best’ approach, or ‘the best’ theory that would enable them to use all the different types of information and evidence and the different categories of claims. Their search ended in the conclusion that –because of the need to simplify – no approach or theory can have all the explanatory value they needed for their task: to describe in full what ‘really happened’ during the crisis. To improve their analysis, Allison and Zelikow developed three parallel models focussing on tree different sides of the same story or three different ‘lenses’ through which combined, a more complete understanding of governmental behaviour can be generated.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
The three models
The first model formulated by Allison and Zelikow is the Rational Actor Model. This first model is conform the aforementioned logic in which states or governments are described as if they are purposive individuals. The attention of the analysis is on certain concepts: goals and objectives of the nation or governments. The logic of reasoning is that solutions match problems. And in the analysis, the analyst invokes a pattern of inference: If a nation performed an action of this sort, it must have had a goal of this type. The analyst has “explained an event when he can show an action was reasonable given the strategic objectives or preferences of the state” (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 4-5). The first of two models Allison and Zelikow formulate that ‘open the box of national government’ focuses primarily on the role of governmental organisations in decision making processes. This Organisational Behaviour Model focuses the attention on the question: From what organisational context, pressures and procedures did a decision emerge? Concepts like standard operating procedures, programmes and organisational procedures for acquiring information are focussed on. The pattern of inference invoked is: If organisations produced an output of a certain kind at a certain time that behaviour resulted from existing organisational structures, procedures and repertoires. This model ‘explains’ an event when the relevant organisations are identified and patterns of organisational behaviour are laid bare from which an action emerged (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 5-6). In the original edition by Allison (1971), this model was called the Organisational Processes Model. The third and final model proposed by Allison and Zelikow is the Governmental Politics Model (previously the Bureaucratic Politics Model). In this model, the central question is framed as: Which results of what kinds of bargaining among which players yielded the critical decisions and actions? The concepts in focus are the political agents that impacted on the issue, factors that shape these agents’ perceptions and beliefs, the procedures in place for aggregating competing preferences and the performance of the agents. The pattern of inference leads to the reasoning: If a government performed an action, that action was the result of bargaining among players in this game. The explanation is successful when it can be convincingly established who did what to whom that yielded the action analysed (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 6). Allison and Zelikow claim that the three models complement rather than compete with each other. That is not to say that there are no contradictions or tensions when the three are used alongside each other. The Rational Actor Model does indeed intrinsically claim that national politics and institutions hardly matter. The Organisational Behaviour
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence model does really work from the exclusive notion that the choices of politicians are significantly limited by the institutional preconditions set. And the Governmental Politics Model really does discard the idea of a unitary national actor acting in an international field as the central point of reference in studies. The assumptions made are understood as necessary for the specific limited analysis each attempts. Without them, the approaches would lose their foundation and be rendered unusable. Better yet, for the purpose of the explanatory contribution sought in this thesis, the assumptions are understood to be useful to the extent that the lack of explanatory power caused by the assumptions of one, is resolved by the explanatory power of the others. Visualising the three models, Table 1 summarises the three Allison and Zelikow models and their central actors, inference patterns and the basic questions asked. Table I: Allison and Zelikow’s three model framework MODEL Rational Actor Central Actor State, government Inference patterns Goals match actions Basic Question Why did nation X prefer action Y? Why did Rules determine actions organisation X produce action Y? Bargaining produces actions Why did actor X favour action Y?
Organisational Behaviour Governmental Politics
Summary of Allison and Zelikow (1999): 2-11.
Empirical Research Questions
This thesis will adopt the framework provided by Allison and Zelikow for the analysis of the decision by the US government to develop and deploy BMD. Following Allison and Zelikow, this thesis will conduct three separate analyses of the central research question, each analysis based on one of the Allison and Zelikow models. To structure the analysis, a supporting research question is formulated for each model. The full set of empirical research questions is:
What explains the decision by the US government to develop and deploy BMD?
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Support RQ A: To what extent can the decision be explained as a rational response by the state to emerging threats? (Rational Actor Model, Chapter 4) Support RQ B: To what extent can the decision be explained as output of domestic Support RQ C: governmental organisations following predictable
patterns? (Organisational Behaviour Model, Chapter 5) To what extent can the decision be explained as the result of domestic political bargaining between individual ‘players’?
(Governmental Politics Model, Chapter 6) Table I can now be adapted to fit the analysis of BMD. TABLE II: BMD application of the three model framework MODEL Rational Actor Central Actor Bush Jr. administration US Governmental Institutions Inference patterns BMD matches ICBM threat Question Why did the US prefer BMD? Why did CIA/DoD produce BMD advice? Why did selected politicians favour BMD
DoD and CIA SOPs determined BMD decision8
US politicians and entrepreneurs.
Political bargaining produced BMD decision
Critique of the three model framework
The three models described above will be further explained and discussed in Chapters four (the Rational Actor Model), five (the Organisational Behaviour Model) and six (the Governmental Politics Model). Critique of the detailed workings of the models will be discussed in the Chapters. In this section a brief overview of critiques of the whole threemodel structure will be discussed. Over three decades of debate about Allison’s models produced different kinds of criticism. There is criticism on the whole concept of such parallel analyses, there is criticism too on the choice of models. Lastly, there is criticism
DoD = Department of Defence; CIA = Central Intelligence Agency; SOPs = Standard Operating Procedures
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence on the way Allison, and later Allison and Zelikow formulate their models, and the scientific strength of their approach. The discussion of the critiques of Essence of Decision is complicated by the fact that most critique targets the original book by Allison (1971) and not the 1999 revised edition by Allison and Zelikow. Mindful of the changes made in the second edition, much of the original criticism still stands though. Although most scholars took note of Allison’s original claim that too much emphasis was put on the rational choice based view on foreign policy making, many were not convinced that the formulation of two alternative models was the way forward. Scholars such as Milton L. Friedman, Lawrence Freedman and John Oneal have consistently challenged the idea that the two alternative models have anything substantially to offer, and argue that even if rational choice theories do not describe reality per se, they should be kept since they provide accurate predictions. This is in itself not a fair criticism of Allison’s work, since he never claimed that the Rational Actor Model should be excluded from thorough analysis of government decision making. Oneal offers a more profound critique though, when he tries to show that all results from Allison’s analyses could be described in terms that fit an expanded rational choice model (Oneal 1988: 604-611). A much larger crowd of International Relations scholars took a more positive attitude towards Allison’s original work, and the 1999 edition collected many jubilant reviews even from illustrious names like John Ikenberry and Robert Jervis. Immanent critique comes from David Welch, who questions the usefulness of the alternative models Allison formulated. He concludes that “despite the dearth of rigorous tests, there are convincing reasons to believe that neither Model II nor Model III is as useful as, let alone analytically superior to, Model I” (Welch 1992: 114). Again, Allison never claimed the second and third models were superior to the Rational Actor Model (RAM), he just claimed that they provided necessary additional explanatory value, filling in some of the gaps left by the RAM. The more important critique then is that the other two models are ‘not as useful’. This criticism is echoed by others, who argued that the second model especially requires a depth of information so great, the model is applicable in only a very limited amount of situations, and all together not a very practical model to use. Welch continues his review of Allison’s work by discussing his ‘paradigms’, noting Allison works with the conception of a paradigm developed by Robert Merton for sociological analyses: “a systematic statement of the basic assumptions, concepts, and propositions employed by a school of analysis” (Merton 1965: 12-16). Allison’s paradigms are indeed, Welch points out, pretheoretical or metatheoretical. This says something about the explanatory power of the models Allison created. Metatheories are neither testable nor falsifiable, and their performance cannot be judged by empirical test (Welch
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence 1992: 114-115). The explanatory power has to come from theories derived from the metatheoretical paradigms. And subsequently, the successfulness of a paradigm is derived from its ability to generate successful theories. The second and third model, Welch notes in 1992, have produced very few theories in twenty years, which raises questions about their usefulness and successfulness. Bendor and Hammond (1992) conclude that specifically the second model can only be successfully applied in very rare circumstances (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 311). Allison, in return might respond that the continuing dominance of the first model and the relatively more successful paradigm in it, marks his point that analysts and scholars in the field of international relations and foreign policy analysis are too narrowly focused on the RAM, often while knowing that the RAM can only explain part of reality. Allison proposed in 1972 to merge the second and third Model to create a stronger one better equipped to ‘compete with the RAM’ (Allison and Halperin 1972: 43, 54-56). Critics have since argued that Allison should not have said that, because the remark undermined the credibility of the models (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 304; Welch 1992: 118). More important, Welch argues, the idea to merge the two models may have stemmed from errors in the fabrication of the specifications of the two paradigms. Model II and III, Welch convincingly argues, overlap. Model II looks at both the processes and at the perspectives and priorities of governmental organisations. But the latter two belong to Model III, in which the interests of political entities are the subject of analysis (Welch 1992: 118). TABLE III: Bendor and Hammond’s 12 cell Typology of Policymaking
Source: Bendor and Hammond 1992: 303
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Bendor and Hammond take the criticism on the three defined models a step further, asking the question why three and why these three models. They recognise four different kinds of assumptions of importance to the choice of models. Assumptions on the number of actors; assumptions about whether the actors have similar or conflicting goals; assumptions about the degree of rationality attributed to decision makers; and assumptions about the amount of (or completeness of) information available to decision makers (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 302-303). Putting these four assumptions together, a typology of policymaking emerges, and no less than 12 different possible ‘models’, as in Table III. The RAM, with its clear assumptions of rationality and a single unitary actor, clearly belongs in cell 1. As will be discussed in Chapter 4, Allison and Zelikow seem to pay little attention to the concept of complete information, ergo most of their discussions belong in cell 1a rather than 1b. Models II and III are far more difficult to place in any of the cells. Welch’ criticism that they overlap is backed by Bendor and Hammond’s conclusion that Model II by and large fits in cell 4b, but sometimes in cell 6, while Model III claims to belong in cell 5, but often can be classified in cell 6, perhaps even cell 6b. In more straightforward language: by not clarifying in Model II whether or not the ‘players’ have conflicting goals, Model II treads on the terrain of Model III, in which it is obvious that the players have conflicting goals (the process of political bargaining). And because Allison does not explicitly make clear whether or not any of the players in Models II and III are perfectly or boundedly rational and if they have access to full or incomplete information, the boundaries of both are unclear, further obscuring the dissimilarities between them. Bendor and Hammond argue that the framework as a whole would have been more robust if Allison would have clearly confined the Model II analysis to cell 3, enabling examination of pure coordination problems among perfectly rational actors (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 304). Model III, because of the lack of a clear assumption on perfect or bounded rationality, could be split up in two separate Models, as has been argued by Harrison Wagner: “One could presumably construct a theory of bureaucratic bargaining based on the decision theorists’ assumptions and another on Herbert Simon’s” (Wagner 1974: 448). With ‘Herbert Simon’s’ Wagner refers to his theories about bounded rationality. A Model IIIA would end up in cell 5, and a Model IIIB in cell 6. What Bendor and Hammond wish to point out is not that they believe the whole endeavour of having three consecutive models is fundamentally flawed, on the contrary. They argue that the models deserve further examination in order to strengthen them and make them more lucid. In the 1999 edition of the book Allison and Zelikow do thank in the acknowledgements David Welch and Bendor and Hammond for ‘calling attention to
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence weaknesses in the original edition’. Allison and Zelikow assess they are “sure we have learned from them […] while we have surely not satisfied them” (Allison and Zelikow 1999: xv). This seems a fair assessment. Allison and Zelikow do try to strengthen Model I by placing it more clearly in cell 1a, and tried to strengthen Model II by putting more emphasis on the incompleteness of information available to decision makers about organisational outputs and capacities. However, these changes develop the models in the opposite direction of the recommendations made by Bendor and Hammond, who proposed to put more emphasis on bounded rationality in Model I (allowing it into cell 2a), and on complete information in model II (allowing it into cell 3a). Model III did and does receive the most criticism. In his review of the 1999 edition, Jerel Rosati concludes that: the biggest disappointment of all, is that the authors completely fail to review and integrate the extensive and powerful bodies of knowledge that have developed on the role of group and advisory dynamics, personality, and cognition/perceptions—all of which are directly relevant to the dynamics of governmental politics. Ironically, the authors constantly “mention” and refer to such concepts and approaches when they describe the governmental politics paradigm. Yet they never develop, discuss, or review these politicalpsychological concepts and approaches (Rosati 2001: 2).
Theoretical Research Questions
The review of critique in the previous section makes it clear that Allison and Zelikow’s three model framework cannot be taken as an analytical framework without risk. Most important, the critique shows one should be mindful of what exactly is analysed, and using which assumptions. This is not against the wish of Allison and Zelikow in any way. They do not claim that the three models together are (a) perfect or (b) exhaustive. Furthermore, Allison and Zelikow propose their models solo and in combination should be regarded as starting points for further development of analyses of government actions and decisions. It would go beyond the scope and time constraints of a master’s thesis to set out to entirely redefine the Allison and Zelikow methodologies, and to pretend that a limited assignment like this can significantly alter the perception of a decades long tradition in IR. However, some of the aforementioned critique needs to be internalised before proceeding to applying any of the three models. The resulting additions and changes to the models will be explained and discussed in the three Chapters on the models. In short, the critique of the RAM will result in Chapter four in a double analysis – one with and one without the assumption of full information and complete rationality. In applying the Organisational Behaviour Model, the analysis will be limited to trying to establish if the direction of causality assumed in the model is correct or not – thus questioning the pattern of inference
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence used. The resulting application of the model is more limited than Allison and Zelikow propose, mainly because of the lack of data on the internal workings of the organisations – as predicted by Friedman. Finally, the Governmental Politics Model turns out to present a similar problem. The stated pattern of inference seems altogether inappropriate in the case of analysing the BMD decision. Establishing “who did what to whom” presupposes the importance of a political bargaining game. But as Chapter six will show, in the case of the BMD decision a more important question precedes that assumption: Was there a game to play in this case? Or does the analysis of the available data point towards a different kind of decision making process – one that leads away from model III? Adopting the Allison and Zelikow framework, this thesis assumes that three different approaches can be used complementary to each other rather than opposed to each other. This assumption demands a critical assessment of the framework used. To do so, the following set of theoretical research questions is formulated:
To what extent does Allison and Zelikow’s framework provide added value in the analysis of the BMD decision? i. Does their framework sufficiently integrate different theories conceptually into a logical explanatory framework? ii. Does their distinction into different analytical models reflect the reality of decision making in this case?
Special attention needs to be given to the potential conflicts caused by this thesis’s dual objective, for while the decision to develop missile defence is studied, the analytical framework used is itself in question. Former co-student Sebastian Dinjens reflects on a similar problem in his thesis, arguing that “balancing these two objectives is [..] much like examining a cell through a microscope while simultaneously examining the microscope by looking at the cell” (Dinjens 2006: 12). The risk is indeed that this double objective leads to the undesirable result that a satisfactorily explanation is found for the empirical research questions (the cell), while at the same time it needs to be concluded that the method of analysis is terminally flawed (the microscope), which would raise questions about the validity of the results found for the empirical set. Realising this, it is all the more important to establish a clear definition of the variables used and an unambiguous understanding of the framework and the approaches appearing in it. To do so, the next Chapter will provide the necessary definitions of missile defence, and of ‘the decision’, as well as a clear limitation of the reach of the analysis both in time and subject.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
Defining ‘the decision’ to develop and deploy ‘Ballistic Missile Defence’
This Chapter provides the reader with necessary background information on ballistic missiles and the defence against them. It will give a short overview of previous attempts by the US to develop BMD, and shortly explains some of the technology involved in the current plans. Based on that information, this Chapter proceeds to formulate definitions of ‘what kind of Missile Defence’ the thesis is about and ’what decision’ precisely is analysed in the remainder of the thesis.
3.1 What Missile Defence?
There is no one single missile defence system. There are several, and in order to set the boundaries of what is discussed in this thesis, it is necessary to give a short glossary of the different systems and functions of these systems that have all been called Missile Defence (MD). By and large, there are two clearly distinguishable systems. One tries to intercept long range ballistic missiles, and one attempts to intercept shorter range (cruise) missiles. The two systems both qualify as ‘missile defence’ in the sense that their primary function is to defend against missiles. But apart from that, the design specifications, primary functions and technological feasibility differ significantly.
Theatre Missile Defence
Defence systems against shorter range cruise missiles are multiple and mobile. They provide defence for anything from fixed territories on the ground to ships, airspaces and moving troops on a battlefield. Systems contributing to the defence of troops, military equipment and spaces are often called Theatre Missile Defence (TMD) and include diverse systems such as the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC) III rockets used in the various military operations against Iraq over the past decade (Space News 2003), but in essence also include the Dutch developed ‘Goalkeeper’ used to protect ships against incoming missiles and enemy airplanes by firing enormous amounts of bullets at it.9 TMD systems have developed in step with the development of various generations of cruise missiles.
Specifications of the Goalkeeper System: http://www.deagel.com/Ship-Air-DefenseSystems/Goalkeeper_a001499001.aspx
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Some TMD systems are based on the concept of shooting an incoming missile with projectiles shot at a coordinate where the incoming missile is expected to pass. Other systems use ‘smart’ anti-missiles that use infra-red and heat seeking sensors to locate and destroy the incoming missiles. In the broader concept of Theatre Missile Defence, some include systems that locate and destroy enemy missile launch pads. TMD systems are not capable of intercepting longer range ballistic missiles, except when the location of the launch pad of these missiles is known and the launched ballistic missile is destroyed before being launched or in the first few seconds after the launch.
Ballistic Missile Defence
The inability of TMD systems to intercept longer range ballistic missiles sets it apart from the second group of missile defence systems, the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) systems, also called National Missile Defence (NMD). NMD systems are meant to defend the homeland or any allied or strategic part of the globe against ballistic missiles. The systems are static, not mobile, except for the optional employment of launch facilities on ships so as to make it harder for a potential enemy to disrupt the missile launch capability in wartime. The differences between intercepting a cruise missile or a ballistic missile are important. Cruise missiles are propelled throughout their entire journey to the target. As a result, their path can be detected constantly by infra-red, radar or heat seeking instruments. Ballistic missiles, as the word already discloses, follow a ballistic trajectory (or envelope). They are propelled only in the first phase of the trajectory by motor power, into the stratosphere or higher, after which the engine stops and the missile is allowed to fall back to earth. Infra-red, and heat seeking instruments have very little chance from that point onward to locate the incoming missile, with the noted exception of possible heat plumes caused by re-entry of the missile into the atmosphere. The challenge for BMD systems is to be able to calculate the trajectory of the missile (direction, weight and velocity). Next to that, by the time the ICBM is already re-entering the atmosphere, little time is left for detection, calculation, launching the intercept missile and approach. Essentially, location and calculation of the intercept point will have to be completed during the first stages of the trajectory of the ICBM launched: Before the engines are cut. Additionally, there is the possibility that – even when the US is able to master all the mentioned difficulties – the ICBM is able to ‘fool’ the defence system. China, after hearing the US plans for missile defence promptly announced to equip its ICBMs with multiple warheads including dummies, to confuse the defence systems (Godwin 2002: 4-5). Also, literature mentions the possibility of adding devices to the ICBM that make it stray out of
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence the predictable envelope (without using engine bursts that would make detection possible).
There are several other names for several existing or imaginable MD systems. In military literature, there are differentiations used pointing at the layers of the atmosphere the MD system is operating in. The term Ground Based Mid-Course Defence (GMD) is reserved to describe those systems that exclusively rely on ground based detection and intercept abilities, thus excluding space based detection but also space based lasers (Perry 2001). High Tier MD (HTMD) specifies systems that operate in the stratosphere or in outer space (US Congress 1995). Multi Tier MD (MTMD) points at the ability to perform in all required layers of the atmosphere and beyond (US Senate 1999b). BMD (or NMD) includes HTMD and MTMD systems and overlaps with GMD systems. Lastly, to complicate things, the abbreviation GMD is also used for Global Missile Defence. The Bush administration sometimes uses it to imply that they foresee a missile defence system that can intercept enemy missiles (both ballistic and non-ballistic) to defend US territory, troops and interests wherever it may see fit (Bookman 2002: 2). The system proposed by the US government conceptually combines TMD and BMD, arguing that it is expected that during the development phase, the distinctions between the two different functions may blur, and that TMD technology may well benefit the development of BMD capabilities, and vice versa. However, TMD capabilities (being able to intercept mainly cruise missiles) have been in development ever since the development of cruise missiles themselves. And while it may be true that in the future some systems may use similar technology, the functions of TMD and BMD differ profoundly. There is no debate about TMD. TMD systems work – to a certain extent - and no doubt will be improved over time. But improvements can be developed while the systems used are operational. The focus of this thesis is on the decision to pursue a Ballistic Missile Defence system solely, since attempts to develop the function of intercepting ICBMs in the past failed and because any future system can only function satisfactorily if all necessary supporting systems are fully developed and operational (Newhouse 2001). Also, the impact on international relations of the decision to develop ballistic missile defence capability is altogether different from the impact of the existing TMD capabilities. Russia, so to speak, has no beef with the US over its development of PAC III missiles since it does not counter the Russian nuclear deterrent. Ballistic MD however may do just that. In the literature, this distinction is usually acknowledged, and scholars regularly refer to the current project as Ballistic
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Missile Defence Systems (BMDS). This thesis therefore, is only about ballistic missiles and the decision to develop and deploy systems aiming to intercept specifically these missiles: BMD.
3.2 A Short history of BMD
Right after the Second World War, the US for the first time explores the possibility and necessity of an operational BMD system. In 1946, the Stillwell Board – assigned to map defence needs of the US in the post war years – reports that: Guided missiles, winged or non-winged, travelling at extreme altitudes and at velocities in excess of supersonic speed, are inevitable. Intercontinental ranges of over 3,000 miles and payload[s] sufficient to carry atomic explosive[s] are to be expected. Remotely controlled, and equipped with homing devices designed to be attracted to sound, metal, or heat, such missiles would be incapable of interception with any existing equipment such as fighter aircraft and antiaircraft fire. Guided interceptor missiles, dispatched in accordance with electronically computed data obtained from radar detection stations, will be required (Stillwell Board Report cited in Baucom 2007). And indeed, within 12 years, both the US and the USSR successfully test ICBMs with nuclear payload. The nuclear stand-off between the two superpowers keeps the conflict ‘cold’, but also seemingly impossible to resolve. And with that, developing BMD capabilities becomes a high priority for both. Since 1957, the US undertakes several attempts to develop BMD capability. In response to rumours about Soviet MD capability in 1957, the US launches the Nike-Zeus Project. In 1958, Bell Laboratories, the main contractor for the Project, triumphantly reports that computer simulations show it is indeed possible “to hit a missile with a missile” (Baucom 2007), but Bell never manages to build a system in reality. During the Johnson administration (1963 – 1969), the Nike-Zeus Programme is replaced by the Sentinel Project. The Sentinel Project has a much more humble outlook. It is not meant to defend against an all-out Russian nuclear attack but against a sneak attack with nuclear ICBMs by a so-called “Nth” country, China e.g. (Trenary III 2004: 61-63). Nixon, when he becomes President in 1968, immediately stops the Sentinel Programme, to reassess what kind of defence is needed. The assessment leads to a new and ambitious plan, Project Safeguard. Safeguard, like Nike-Zeus attempts to develop a system that may not stop all Russian ICBMs, but at least so many that a nuclear war will end in a strategic beneficial situation for the US (Claremont Institute, on-line). In seven years, Project Safeguard consumes 25 billion US$. In 1975, prime contractor Raytheon
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence attempts to pull out after having to admit it has not been able to develop several necessary parts of the projected system. Next to that, the necessity of the Project is questioned politically after the US and the USSR sign the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT1) which in turn leads to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty). In 1975, the Congress blocks further investments for Project Safeguard, on the very day on which the first Safeguard Base is opened in North Dakota. The analysis of the Congress is harsh. Safeguard does not work, it is too expensive, serves no purpose, and is in violation with the new ABM Treaty (Moeller 1995: Chapter 4 – on-line). In 1983, BMD is suddenly back on the table. In his March 23 1983 speech on national TV, President Reagan says: I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete (US Senate 1983: 2). Two days later Reagan explains the aims of his Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), stating he […] would like to decrease our reliance on the threat of retaliation by offensive nuclear weapons and to increase the contribution of defensive systems to our security and that of our allies. To begin to move us toward that goal, I have concluded that we should explore the possibility of using defensive capabilities to counter the threat posed by nuclear ballistic missiles (White House 1983: 1). SDI, like the Safeguard Project, aims to provide full protection against ICBMs, using Space Based Lasers, and intercept rockets that not so much hit the incoming ICBM, but destroy it by proxy detonation. SDI costs over 30 Billion US$ in 8 years, until President George W. H. Bush replaces it with a much more limited project to defend against one or a few missiles – the Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS) (DoD 1991). GPALS, like its predecessors, never materialises. In the case of GPALS, one could say history catches up with it. With the fall of the Berlin Wall the World enters an era of renewed hope in a nuclear free, or at least nuclear safe future. The Warsaw Pact disintegrates, and after the break-up of the USSR, Russia is no longer perceived as an imminent threat. And after the Cold War, there is a new confidence that new nonproliferation deals shall be possible with countries such as China, North Korea, India and Iran. BMD is expected to become obsolete. The Clinton administration keeps some of the GPALS research agenda on the Federal Budget, but in his first term the Congress keeps cutting the budgets. It is only after the Republican party regains the majority vote in the Congress in 1995 that the Congress increasingly criticises the Clinton administration for not investing enough in defence capacity and year after year reserves more funds for BMD related research than asked for
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence by the administration. In 1999, the Congress passes the National Missile Defence Act, against the wishes of the administration. Meanwhile, the only continuous investment in BMD, the exo-atmospheric interception rocket (EKV), continues to fail all tests. When at a Congressional hearing in 2000, Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish, head of the newly established Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation is asked how big the chances are of an EKV intercepting an incoming enemy ICBM, his answer is: “Zero” (US Senate 2000).
3.3 What decision?
When in 2001 George W. Bush becomes President of the US, he appoints Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defence, and Paul D. Wolfowitz as his Deputy. Both are acknowledged proponents of high defence expenditures and of BMD. Rumsfeld interprets General Kadish’s assessment of the failure of the EKV not as a sign that BMD is in the end a technological impossibility. On the contrary, he assesses that it shows how far the national defence of the US is lagging behind. Not less, but much more funds must be made available for BMD. The new target set by Rumsfeld is to develop a BMD system in its rudimentary form before 2005, and the Bush administration tries to make 3 Billion US$ available in its first year for this. Even for the Republican majority in the Congress this is a leap too far and on 9 September 2001, it tries to shift 20% of that budget to counter terrorism. Rumsfeld threatens with a Presidential veto if funds are shifted from BMD to counter terrorism (Gellman 2002). Two days later, Al-Qaeda crashes planes into the Pentagon and the WTC. After the 9/11 attacks, there is little political space for a weighed assessment of the needs and costs of BMD in Washington DC. Any criticism of BMD plans unfolded in that period is countered with the line that being against defending the US is unpatriotic and (therefore) irrelevant. Just as important, the argumentation supporting development of BMD changes after 9/11. For the first time, BMD is now openly advocated for its partial offensive function, when the Missile Defence Agency describes BMD as a necessary system to cover US foreign military operations and troops (MDA 2002). BMD becomes a weapon in the Global War On Terrorism. On September 30 2001, the Department of Defence (DoD) phrases it like this in the Quadrennial Defence Review: DoD has refocused and revitalised the missile defence program, shifting from a single-site ‘national’ missile defence approach to a broad-based research, development and testing effort aimed at deployment of layered missile defences. These changes in the missile defence program will permit the exploration of many previously untested technologies and approaches that will produce defences able to intercept missiles of various ranges in various phases of flight. These defences will help to protect US forward-deployed
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence forces. Moreover, they will provide limited defence against missile threats not only for the American people, but for US friends and allies (DoD 2001: 42). The plans of the administration go way beyond what was expected. Not only does it entail a return to Nixon’s and Reagan’s idea of an extensive BMD system, it blurs the distinction between ballistic missile defence and defence against cruise missiles. Next to that, the plans seem to be in violation with the 1972 ABM Treaty, between the US and the USSR. And indeed, on December 13, 2001, the Bush administration notifies the Russian Federation it intends to withdraw from that treaty, underpinning the determination to strive for an unprecedented BMD system (White House 2001b). The decision to develop and deploy an extensive ballistic missile defence system by the US government is not a single decision made at one precise point in time. Different decisions made between 1998 and 2002 together constitute ‘the decision’. The first important moment in this timeline is the publication of The Rumsfeld Report in 1998. After the mid term elections in 1994, the Republican Party regains the majority vote in the Congress, and assigns Donald Rumsfeld to lead a Congressional Commission to re-assess the future missile threats the US might face. The resulting report recommends prioritisation of ballistic missile defence for the future, inherently criticising the Clinton administration for its lack of enthusiasm for enlargement of BMD research and development budgets. The Congress accepts The Rumsfeld Report and the general gist of it as a guide document for restructuring the US army to meet the emerging challenges. Consequentially a second important event occurs in 1999, when the Congress passes – and President Clinton grudgingly signs - the National Missile Defence Act (US Congress 1999). The Act states: It is the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as possible an effective National Missile Defence system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorised, or deliberate) with funding subject to the annual authorisation of appropriations and the annual appropriation of funds for National Missile Defence (US Senate 1999a). The 1999 Act paves the way legislatively for development and deployment of BMD, but it is only when the Bush administration enters the White House that the legislative potential is met with executive decision making in favour of BMD. The Bush administration after that made public its intentions in several steps. The first mentioning is the already mentioned May 1 2001 speech at the National Defence University in Monterey by George W. Bush (White House 2001a). The ‘decision’ is complete only in December 2002, when the Department of Defense for the first time publicly announces its policies and plans regarding BMD. That the decision occurred in several steps underpins the need to study the
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence decision not only as a policy choice, but also as a result of policy making processes and political bargaining. Secondly, it leads to the assumption for this thesis that the boundaries (in time) of the period studied lie between the Rumsfeld Report of 1998 and the Department of Defence Briefing on December 17, 2002 (DoD 2002b). Depending on the model used, different emphasis will be put on different steps in the process that together are ‘the decision’. In the Organisational Behaviour Model for example, the 1998-1999 period is important, since it shaped the behaviour of relevant organisations. In the Governmental Politics Model however, the story focuses more on the 2001-2002 decisions, because in that model, the stands and beliefs of political individual players are studied, players within the George W. Bush administration. What then is actually decided? The January 2, 2002 Secretary of Defence Memorandum provides detailed information on the aims and objectives of the decision. The US has set out: First, to defend the U.S., deployed forces, allies and friends. Second, to employ a Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMDS) that layers defences to intercept missiles in all phases of their flight (i.e., boost, midcourse, and terminal) against all ranges of threats.Third, to enable the Services to field elements of the overall BMDS as soon as practicable. [….] Fourth, to develop and test technologies, use prototype and test assets to provide early capability, if necessary, and improve the effectiveness of deployed capability by inserting new technologies as they become available or when the threat warrants an accelerated capability (DoD 2002a: 3). The document first of all expresses the aim to merge existing TMD and BMD research and development and to aim for a single system against all potential unfriendly missiles. Secondly, it is important to note that in this document as in any other, there is no mentioning of an end date to the plans. Finally, it confirms the determination of the administration to develop BMD capability regardless of the potential consequence of breaching the ABM Treaty, various Weaponisation of Space Treaties and potentially the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).10 In order to effectuate the policy decision, Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld renames the Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation (BMDO) Missile Defence Agency (MDA) in 2002 and provides it with “expanded responsibility and authority” (DoD 2002b: 4), formulated in no less than 17 directives. The directives include the (later) controversial potential to ‘waiver’ testing before deployment. It curiously delegates to the MDA director the authority to “use transactions other than contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements to carry out basic, applied and advanced research” (DoD 2002b: 4). This will
See for full explanation on ballistic missile defence and international treaties: Acronym Institute: “Ballistic Missile Defence and the Weaponisation of Space” and other documents on the Acronym Institute website.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence allow the MDA to negotiate and sign unspecified cooperation deals with private sector partners and illustrates the autonomy granted to the MDA to operate. A budget estimate is not mentioned in this document, but is estimated in commentaries between 175 and 235 Billion US$ for the years 2003 – 2018 (Ghosh 2003: 603, 609-610). In the discussion about relative costs and effectiveness, the ‘Economists Allied for Arms Reduction’ in early 2003 estimate that an effective, functioning BMD system as proposed by the administration would turn out to cost a staggering 800 Billion to 1.2 Trillion US$ (Kaufman 2003: x). After 2002, the budget jumps to around 10 Billion US$ annually, making the projection of 175 to 235 Billion US$ until 2018 not unrealistic.
3.4 Technical specifics of BMD
The current plans of the US government involve the following specific supporting systems11: 1. Early Warning. Space Based InfraRed Systems (SBIRS) with the primary function to detect any launch of a rocket, wherever on the globe; Five satellites (SBIRS –High) and later more (SBIRS-Low) communicate their findings to radar installations on the ground; Early Warning Radars (EWRs). These high frequency radars calculate the trajectory (envelope) of the rocket. All data are interpreted by a second group of radars, first of all to determine whether or not the detected missile is indeed an offensive ICBM. In the case of a multiple launch, these radars should also determine which of the launched rockets is a real ICBM and which are decoys. This has to be established in the first stage of the rockets launched. 2. Interception. After identifying a rocket as hostile ICBM, there is very little time to launch an Intercept Booster, a three stage rocket that will accelerate towards a calculated point (space and time) where the incoming ICBM is expected to pass. Both the launching system and the rocket are called Aegis. Once close to the designated intercept point, the Aegis releases an Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV). Guided by constant feed of updates on the trajectory of the enemy missile, the EKV manoeuvres to the expected intercept point. The combined approach velocity of the EKV and the ICBM is an estimated 24,000 kilometre per hour. The EKV then tries to demolish the ICBM by sheer impact. Another option, the so-called Space Based Laser simply shoots the ICBM with a laser beam. (DeBlois 2004: 73-74).
All information on BMD systems and technology is available on-line, see for example [http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/html/basics.html] or [http://www.cdi.org/program/issue/index.cfm?ProgramID=6&issueid=79]
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence 3. A third set of systems forms the heart of the operation: The Battle Management, Command, Control and Communications (BCM3) Network. BCM3 coordinates communications between all parts; receives all information; calculates all parameters of both the ICBM (speed, direction and weight) and the EKV; predicts the intercept point; reports on success or failure and – if necessary and still possible – repeats all steps with new EKVs. The combined systems are technologically very complex, several systems have not yet been developed. In the end, all systems must function and be able to communicate with each other in real-time to be able to succeed. The necessary detection and radar installations and rocket launch facilities must be located in a variety of locations across the globe and partly in space. It is difficult to assess how successful the quest for an operational BMD system has been up till now, for two reasons. First of all, in 2003 the Congress approved a so-called test waiver, allowing the MDA to cancel further tests of several systems (Acronym Institute 2003), arguing that the development of a system as technologically complex as BMD cannot be a linear development process, in which every stage of the development undergoes the traditional process of planning, developing, testing, redeveloping, testing and deployment. Rather, the MDA assumes BMD development is a case of modern ‘spiral development’ (Hitchens 2002a). Secondly, from 2003 onward, more and more BMD test results become classified, for national security reasons. Rumsfeld did not make the set deadline for a rudimentary operational BMD system by 2005, though. What’s more, leaked test results all show that more than half of attempts to intercept a dummy incoming ICBM fail (Hildreth 2007). And while it is technologically significant that in 50% of cases the incoming ICBM is indeed intercepted, test situations are far from realistic battle situations. In the tests, the launching moment and launching point for the ICBM are known, as well as its weight, velocity and direction. Next to that, it seems that until now, all intercepted rockets carried a homing beacon thus undercutting the major problem of impossibility to detect the falling ‘dead’ weight that a re-entering ICBM essentially is (Watson 2003). Summarising, the thesis will look specifically at the ballistic missile defence plans of the 2001 Bush administration, excluding the more technologically feasible TMD systems. Studying the decision pro-PRO BMD comes with a conceptual problem since there is not one single decision. The legislative decision was taken in 1999, when the US Senate signed the Missile Defence Act, but the executive decision was taken –in steps – in 2001 and 2002 by the Bush administration. This shifting of dates will be a recurring complication throughout the following three chapters, in which the Allison and Zelikow (1999) models are used to try and answer the research questions.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
THE RATIONAL ACTOR MODEL: BMD as attempt to counter emerging threats
Imagine an analyst living on Mars, and without previous familiarity with Earth. She is able to watch CNN, or Al Jazeera and from it, she picks up the basics of international politics on Earth. She soon enough notices that Earth politics is characterised by a system of competing entities called states – large conglomerates of humans sharing a certain territory. These functional conglomerates pursue common goals, both within the territory and in interactions with similar state entities located elsewhere. The analyst will readily grasp the notion that the states are not all equally powerful militarily, economically and politically, and that there is hardly any functioning structure for arbitration between the states. Trying to understand current and historical decisions made by states, the analyst is already able to define several assumptions regarding the behaviour and intent of any and all states. First of all, in their actions and decisions, states seek most prominently survival and relative expansion of their power and influence. Secondly, states (are perceived to) act as one single entity in their engagements with other states. Third, states at least pretend to be acting rationally – meaning: They tend to base their decisions and actions on analyses of available choices, available information on costs and benefits and accordingly choose purposively the option estimated to bring the preferential better outcome, or ‘payoff’. The assumptions made by the Martian analyst are similar to those made by Allison and Zelikow in their first of three models of analysis, the Rational Actor Model (RAM). This Chapter will attempt to find explanation for the decision made by the US government to develop and deploy BMD, using the RAM. It will first explicate the assumptions underlying the model, looking at the concept of ‘rational choice’ and after that at different possibilities for studying an ‘actor’. Using the distinctions Allison and Zelikow make between different levels of information available to the analyst, two consecutive attempts are made to analyse the decision by the US state to develop and deploy BMD. Finally, the Chapter will conclude that the RAM seems to provide only partial explanation of the decision, and a questionable explanation at that. Indeed, the most dominant approach in the study of International Relations is similar to that of the Martian analyst. Sometimes without realising it, scholars but also most politicians, analysts, media, and the general public regard decisions and actions of states by taking into account the mentioned assumptions about the state and its behaviour in international relations. Allison and Zelikow’s Rational Actor Model (RAM) reflects these assumptions. The RAM is build up by assuming that central to the analysis is the action or
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence decision of a state; that states can – for the sake of the analysis – be regarded as unified actors; that states act consistent and purposive; that they act primarily in response to external threats and opportunities; and finally that states are able to rationally calculate outcomes of different optional actions and decision, and will choose the option most favourable to their security and relative position in the international system of states (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 27)
4.1 The origins of the Rational Actor Model
Allison and Zelikow acknowledge (of course) that the set of assumptions simplifies reality, and argue in their book that this is in itself enough reason to formulate the two alternative models that will be discussed and used in Chapters 5 and 6 of this thesis. As do other rational choice models, the RAM on purpose excludes variables in order to allow for focussed analysis of the simplified reality. The RAM is an aggregate set of assumptions shared by several International Relations approaches, most notably Classical Realism and Neo-realism.
The RAM shares two basic characteristics with the Realist approaches. First of all, both limit analyses to include only unitary states as key actors in international affairs. National interest, Classical Realists like Hans Morgenthau argue, may be influenced by political and cultural context, but is ultimately grounded in objective realities of power. Secondly, states are assumed to act rationally, calculating costs and benefits of alternative courses of action and choosing the action that maximises their utility (Gilpin 1984 :292-294). More pronounced than in the RAM, Classical Realism further claims that the international environment is a Hobbesian jungle, where in the absence of any overarching authority aggressive behaviour towards others is normal. Classical Realism tends to emphasise the state’s function of pursuing power (over other states) as a primary means for survival (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 296 ff). Neorealism, the successor of Classical Realism, provides more insight into the interactive nature of inter-state relations. Robert Jervis for example emphasises the aforementioned security dilemma by explaining that: “Many of the means by which a state tries to increase its security decrease the security of others (Jervis 1978: 169) Another leading neorealist thinker, Kenneth Waltz, predicts from this interactive quality “a strong tendency towards balance in the system” (Waltz 1979: 129-131). The
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence prediction central to Waltz’ Balance of Power theorem is not that balance, once it is achieved, will be maintained, but that balance, once it is disrupted, will be restored one way or another. Neorealism shares with Classical Realism the RAM assumptions of the unitary state as principle actor and that its actions are rational in the sense that states are able to calculate costs and benefits and are value maximising in their behaviour. But Neorealism, more than Classical Realism, emphasises the importance of system variables, specifically anarchy and real differences in power. Not all proponents of Neorealism share Waltz’ emphasis on balance of power, and some would even set Waltz apart, identifying him as a Structural Realist. Steven Walt for example insists that analyses must take into account the behaviour of states, not merely their aggregate power. In explaining alliances and their functions, Walt argues that alliances do not form in response to power imbalances in the system, but in response to imbalances in threat. Threat is then operationalised to include states’ intentions and behaviour (Walt 1987). Robert Jervis, seems to depart from the original neorealist school by putting emphasis on perceptions and beliefs of states and their leaderships in order to explain alliances, wars and other interactions (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 33). Following Jervis, Stephen van Evera states: “the perception of offence dominance raises the same […] dangers, even without the reality. If states think the offence is strong, they will act as if it were” (van Evera 1998: 6). Over the past few years, the works of John Mearsheimer sparked a new debate among realists. John Mearsheimer in some ways marks a return to the Classical Realism. Mearsheimer created what he calls Offensive Realism, as opposed to Waltz’ and others’ Defensive Realism. Defensive Realism predicts that states seek survival first and consequently will most often reason that defence produces more certainty of survival than offence. As a result, even many powerful states will support a status quo, unless severely threatened. Mearsheimer’s Offensive Realism predicts that the international system of states “creates powerful incentives for states to look for opportunities at the expense of rivals, and to take advantage of those situations when the benefits outweigh the costs. A state’s ultimate goals is to be the hegemon in the system” (Mearsheimer 2002: 21). Mearsheimer’s works and the resulting debates in International Relations circles came only after the publication of Allison and Zelikow’s 1999 edition of Essence of Decision. While to non-realists the distinction between Defensive and Offensive Realism may seem futile, the two often result in almost opposite outcomes of analyses and as such also generate different policy recommendations for decision makers.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
International Institutionalism and Liberalism
Rational choice assumptions are not limited to Realism, but also found in other International Relations approaches, for example in International Institutionalism and in Liberalism. Institutionalists like Robert Keohane share with the RAM the assumptions that “[…]states are the principle actors in world politics and that they behave on the basis of their concept of their own self-interest” (Keohane cited in Allison and Zelikow 1999: 34). Keohane and his colleagues acknowledge the importance of structural factors dominant in Neorealism, notably anarchy and the (uneven) distribution of power. The main feature setting International Institutionalism apart from preceding Realisms, is its emphasis on institutions (UN, IMF, IAEA, etc.) as an extra layer in the international system of states. The difference in approach between Keohane’s Institutionalism and the different tastes of Realism led to different predictions in the 1990s about the future of the European Union. Where realists saw the EU primarily as a natural alliance of states seeking cooperation in the face of the Soviet threat and predicted that accordingly the drive towards European integration would weaken after the Cold War (Mearsheimer 1994: 5-7), institutionalists like Keohane predicted the opposite arguing that the EU would continue to grow, or deepen, out of a mutual recognition among European States that cooperation was beneficial beyond the threat (Keohane and Martin 1995: 49). Allison and Zelikow argue that depending on the depth and accuracy of information available to the analyst about government perceptions, preferences and system, different levels of analysis are possible (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 21). They describe a spectrum starting with the philosophical concept of ‘the notional state’ – completely stripped of any specific knowledge about the state, relying on minimal behavioural assumptions about the state in general (for example: States seek survival first; or States seek power over survival). Resulting analyses can only be about hypothetical states and consequentially rely on comprehensive rationality only. Adding layers of information, the analysis of state behaviour moves closer and closer to analysis of a specific action or decision. Adding the layer of system type, analyses become possible about the behaviour of certain types of states, or a generic state. This ‘generic state’ level fits the Liberalist approach, which rests on the assumption that internal values of a state or society are recognised also in its external behaviour. The argument is made for example by Andrew Moravcsik: “Societal ideas, interests, and institutions influence state behaviour by shaping state preferences, that is, the fundamental social purposes underlying the strategic calculations of government” (Moravscik 1997: 513).
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Liberalism focuses on the Democratic Peace Thesis’ which claims that “the absence of war between democracies comes as close as anything we have to an empirical law in international relations” (Levy 1988: 18). This assumption is much debated (e.g. Schwartz and Skinner 1999; Bennis 2007: 237-239), but for the purposes of this thesis, it may be of use if only because of George W. Bush’ apparent belief in the Democratic Peace Thesis. Bush, actively pushing for democratisation in the Middle East region, asserts: […] the reason why I’m so strong on democracy is democracies don’t go to war with each other. And the reason why is people of most societies don’t like war, and they understand what war means. […] I’ve got great faith in democracies to promote peace. And that’s why I’m such a strong believer that the way forward in the Middle East, the broader Middle East, is to promote democracy (White House 2004: 10). Bush’ remark about democratisation echoes the Liberal Democratic Peace Thesis. Critics, especially in recent years, find proof of inaccuracy of Liberalism in the many offensive military operations, as well as in the problematic human rights track record of democracies in recent years. If even more information is available, one can proceed to study an identified state, (Pakistan wanted….). Adding still more information, now on the leader’s personal values and views finally brings us to what Allison and Zelikow call the personified state (The Blair government seeks to…). The paradigm Allison and Zelikow formulate does not specify what level of information is required for RAM analysis nor does it specify if and where there may be a limitation to what level of information is allowed when applying the RAM. They do acknowledge that the more information is allowed, the more auxiliary assumptions must be made about the information available to and ability to choose rationally by the state. Allison and Zelikow seem to feel it is a strong quality of their model that it allows the analyst to use all the information he or she has, thus allowing for as ‘thick’ an analysis as possible. Quite rightly, they state that the analyst “must insist on rules of evidence for making assertions about governmental objectives, options, and consequences that permit him to distinguish among various accounts” (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 26). It remains somewhat unclear how the Institutionalist emphasis on international institutions and the Liberalist emphasis on ‘state type’ are operationalised in the RAM. All in all, it seems fair to say that the RAM is modelled after the realist core assumptions, with the other approaches appearing as illustration of the wide acceptance of core realist assumptions in IR.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
4.2 The Rational Actor Paradigm and Critique
Seeking to formalise the concepts and assumptions used in the RAM, Allison and Zelikow produce a paradigm based on the assumptions discussed. The resulting paradigm functions as a ‘roadmap’ for the analyst who wishes to use the RAM. BOX I: The Rational Actor Paradigm.
I II Basic Unit of Analysis: Government action as choice. Organising Concepts A. Unified National Actor B. Action is chosen in response to the strategic situation the actor faces C. Action as rational choice 1. Objectives. National Security and national interests 2. Options. Available actions for advancing objectives. 3. Consequences. Options produce costs and benefits 4. Choice. Actors selects the option whose consequences rank highest in terms of strategic objectives. Dominant Inference Pattern If an actor performed a particular action, that action must have been selected as the value-maximising means for achieving the actor’s objectives. General Propositions Action results from a combination of a state’s (1) values and objectives, (2) perceived alternatives, (3) estimates of consequences, and (4) net valuation of each. Evidence Rules of evidence must be obeyed for making assertions about the actors objectives, options and consequences. Summary of Allison and Zelikow (1999): 24-26
Comprehensive vs. bounded rationality
The paradigm presented in Box I above leaves room for discussion on several points. First of all, it does not clearly establish an a priori rule about how hard the assumption of rationality is. Allison and Zelikow discuss literature on bounded rationality, but do not explicitly say to what extent they accept either comprehensive rationality or bounded rationality, and how they operationalise their choice. In the literature, the distinction between the two is clearly illustrated by comparing the following two statements: Comprehensive: Bounded: […] the concept of rationality is important because, if a person acts rationally, his behaviour can be fully explained in terms of goals he is trying to achieve (Harsanyi 1966: 139) [for studying bounded rational choice] we must know the choosing organism’s goals, the information and conceptualisation it has of the
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence situation, and its abilities to draw inferences from the information it processes (Simon 1985: 297) In the Allison and Zelikow paradigm, formulation seems to prefer the assumption of full rationality, but in the general proposition, they mention perceived alternatives, estimates of consequences as well as valuations of consequences. The discussion on bounded rationality is important since it directly affects the pattern of inference. The formulation of the pattern of inference used in Box I is based on comprehensive rationality. The formulation for bounded rationality could be: Dominant Inference Pattern If an actor performed a particular action, that action must have been selected as the expected value-maximising means for achieving the actor’s perceived objectives. The ‘puzzle’ is solved by finding purposes the actor beliefs the action serves. Jonathan Bendor and Thomas Hammond criticised in 1992 the original work of Allison on this point, saying that: the problem [of uncertainty] is completely neglected in Model I. This is a striking omission, since the traditional literature in international relations […] emphasises how a state’s uncertainty about other state’s goals and capabilities shapes its own choices. […] Introducing uncertainty raises the issue of decision makers’ attitudes toward risk. Whether they are risk-averse, risk-neutral, or risk-seeking must be specified in order to complete a rational actor analysis. (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 306). While Bendor and Hammond criticise Allison 1971, and not Allison and Zelikow 1999, a comparison of the two shows that Allison and Zelikow have not adhered to the propositions of Bendor and Hammond. Allison and Zelikow state in a footnote that “the original edition also contained a lengthy discussion of the debate over comprehensive and bounded rationality. […] we reproduce it here” (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 57). Having moved the discussion to the footnotes, Allison and Zelikow do claim in the main body text to concur with Simon’s conclusion that “to understand and predict human behaviour, we have to deal with the realities of human rationality, that is, with bounded rationality. There is nothing obvious about these bounds; there is no way to predict a priori just where they lie”(Ibid 1999: 20). Nevertheless, in their actual model, Allison and Zelikow do not specify to what extent they allow ‘the realities of human bounded rationality’.
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Decision making theory vs. game theory
Allison and Zelikow roughly distinguish two branches of rational choice theory that underlie the RAM: decision theory and game theory. In decision theory, they state, “the […] problem is reduced to a simple matter of selecting among a set of given alternatives, each of which has a given set of consequences. […] Game theory employs the same logic and highlights the ways in which actor A’s best choice depends on B’s best choice.” (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 17). Their application of the RAM is replete with references to consequences of the interactive nature of the decision making processes during the crisis, but in the formulation and operationalisation of the RAM, Allison and Zelikow blur the distinction between interactive game theory and decision theory. Better yet, they seem averse to game theory, when they state that “more formal game theoretic discussions have […] added few new insights or propositions” (Ibid 1999: 41) and “when formal game theory approaches more real-world issues where information is incomplete, the games are not zero-sum, the interactions involve more multiple actors and the theories yield few, if any, determinate conclusions” (Ibid 1999: 45-46). This is debatable. First of all, it is unclear why games should be zero-sum, and especially in analysing the Cuban Missile Crisis it is unclear why formal games cannot be modelled for two actors, or why it would be a problem if the games were necessarily three or more player games. Bendor and Hammond again postulate fair criticism when they argue that “it is […] a surprising and serious omission that Model I does not explicitly examine how other nations might react to a state’s moves” (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 307) and while they criticise Allison (1971) and not the revised Allison and Zelikow (1999), again Allison and Zelikow seem to have done little to reflect their criticism. In the end, while often remarking on interactive behaviour in their empirical RAM analysis, Allison and Zelikow in their framing of the analysis seem to favour decision theory (in which the decision maker acts isolated from all other players) over game theory. Bendor and Hammond rightly conclude that: clearly, most of the important choices in the Cuban missile crisis were made in a strategic setting – outcomes depended on the behaviour of both governments, thus intertwining the fates of the two nations. The relevant branch of rational choice theory for such situations is game theory, not decision theory (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 307).
Preparing the ground for empirical RAM analysis of BMD
The discussions show that the RAM presented by Allison and Zelikow demands so much interpretation from an analyst, that anyone using it is forced to answer on beforehand the following questions:
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence 1 2 3 To what extent is bounded rationality accepted? What information level is used? (notional, generic, identified, personified) To what extent is the notion of interactive reasoning accepted? (decision making theory vs. game theory). On the first question, the need for allowing bounded rationality in the study of BMD is illustrated by the following two quotes. On the necessity of BMD, Donald Rumsfeld acknowledges the lack of necessary information on the likelihood of the threat to which BMD should respond, concluding that: The Congress and the President, in setting national policy, in developing our missile defences, in appropriating the funds to support those programs, should approach this with the understanding that we will have little or no advanced warning, that there is much that we don't know but that we are likely to be facing threats. Therefore, my conclusion is we have got to get on with the development of our missile defences (US Congress 1998: S9523) (emphasis added). President Bush four years later explains the uncertain implications of the BMD decisions, saying: I think the way to think about the missile defence program is that it will be an evolutionary program, it will evolve over a period of time. Any capability with a small "c"; I'm not talking about initial capability, initial IOCs or any of that - but capability with a small "c" will probably, one would hope, improve as you go along. And it will - when we're - when it finishes some day out there in the years ahead, it very likely will look quite different than it begins. And it very likely will have layers. And it very likely will involve a variety of different locations. And it will very likely involve the participation of a number of countries (DoD 2002b: 1). The two quotes show that both in assessing the threat and in choosing the preferable (assumed value-maximising) option, the decision in favour of BMD was made not based on complete and certain information, but on the contrary, based on holes in the intelligence estimates about the need for BMD and based on an uncertain set of consequences of the decision. Following Bendor and Hammond’s remark earlier, this implies it is all the more important to specify in advance the decision maker’s attitude towards risk. On the question of levels of information, the answer is less univocal. To get the picture of the strategic ‘game’ the US is involved in, a notional level can be chosen, with the precise purpose of excluding all assumptions about any kind of personal or institutional influence. On the other hand, to explain this specific decision, by this specific government, more information needs to be added, about assumptions made by the actor. As in all other cases in which such ‘thickening’ of the analysis takes place, the resulting auxiliary assumptions need to be made explicit by the analyst and based on evidence. In practice,
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence this means that this Chapter will make two separate analyses: One aims to demonstrate the notional state game, using only the thinnest layer of information. The second one will use additional evidence based information about the governments appreciation of information on threats and consequences: identified state decisions. In all cases, the analysis will discard what Allison and Zelikow call the level of the ‘generic state’, since neither the Democratic Peace Thesis, nor the liberalist notion that a state’s ‘type’ determines its foreign policy is accepted as relevant for this thesis, or even plausible considering the extensive literature arguing the opposite. Next to that, in this thesis the concept of the ‘personified’ state takes us beyond the limits of the rational choice paradigm. It would include further reaching auxiliary assumptions about personal beliefs and preferences that seem entirely out of place in a rational choice based analysis. In the following Chapters, belief systems and personal preferences not directly connected to foreign policy will reappear in a different context in more appropriate models for such analyses. The third question, on the use of game theory, requires a mixed answer. When studying ‘notional states’, one cannot hardly do without, nor should one wish to do so. When zooming in to the ‘identified state’, the analysis will gain specifics about ‘this’ state and its preferences and deliberations, while at the same time the analysis looses some of its abilities to address the processes on an abstract level. As a result, the ‘identified state’ analysis needs to rely on more ad hoc – but evidence based – auxiliary assumptions, thus limiting the explanatory value added of the interactive character of formal game theory. As a result, the first – notional state – analysis will be entirely within the remits of game theory. The second - identified state - analysis will be largely based on decision theory, but with more informal game theoretical additions.
4.3 RAM analysis 1: Notional State Games
In this first analysis, game theory will be used to look at notional states and their hypothetical stand-offs with or without BMD, to determine if and how BMD as a defence mechanism affects the power balance between two or more states. To do so, it is useful to go back to the Cold War stand-off game often described as “Mutually Assured Destruction” or MAD (e.g. Snyder 1996), and work forward from the traditional understanding of the MAD ‘game’ towards the game that more accurately describes the power divisions and resulting payoff schemes existing in the BMD related strategic situation today.
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Mutual Assured Destruction
In the MAD game, the unbiased analyst would understand that two states on Earth, managed to carve out much of the system of states dividing it in two large alliances, both depending for their ultimate security on one of the two hegemonic states. These two states (and a few of their peers) produced weapons that could annihilate the opponent entirely. But, given that both sides acquired the same ability, using these weapons would ultimately equal self-annihilation, since predictably if one would use the weapon, so would the other in retaliation. The resulting balance of power, Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), is caught by Robert Jervis in his book Psychology and Deterrence (Jervis 1985). MAD is a text-book example of the security dilemma. For both states involved, it is preferential, or perceived vital, to spend prolifically on nuclear armament. Uncertainty about the nuclear strike capacity of the adversary, and uncertainty caused by the immense stakes in the game predict that both states will attempt to gain the upper hand in the stand-off, in order to first of all assure survival, and as a bonus to try and expand power and credibility over possible peers and over the adversary at the negotiation table. The security dilemma predicts new insecurity for the adversary, who will in turn reason that high expenditure is required, and so on. Both states are caught in what is known as a Prisoners Dilemma, a non-cooperative game as visualised in Figure 1 below. Low expenditure is preferential to both players, since it will allow them to spend their tax money on more economically beneficial items. In the case of mutual low expenditure, the nuclear stand-off disappears, and both players are ‘awarded’ +10 ‘points’. In the case of mutual high reliance, the expensive stand-off continues, without either player benefiting. Both gain 0 points. In the case of unequal expenditure, an imbalance occurs in the stand-off relation between the two, and the low expenditure state is in danger of being annihilated by the high expenditure one. The low expenditure state gets -10, and the high expenditure state +10 (a victory bonus). The resulting pay-off matrix (Figure 1) shows that the Pareto optimal outcome is found in the lower right cell. However, Nash’s Equilibrium theorem predicts that for both states, the risk of being the sole low spender (and thus the underlying party in a deadly nuclear conflict) is unacceptable. Low expenditure can give +10, but also -10 if the adversary cannot be trusted. High expenditure could possibly lead to the ‘best’ situation – in which the adversary can be annihilated freely, but since the same logic applies to both, both will choose high expenditure and end up in the top left cell: 0,0. Both states choose the same, prolonging for ever the MAD stand-off (Palmore 2001: 212).
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
Over the years, many scholars have come to accept the MAD game as a relatively stabile standoff, creating paradoxically a relatively secure situation for both sided (and their peers) (Powell 1990: 57-62) Critics note that if the MAD game is accurate in predicting behaviour, the nuclear standoff does not necessarily imply the absence of conventional warfare between the two powers. Indeed, if both are confident that the other will equally reason that launching a nuclear war leads to imminent destruction of both, conventional and limited warfare is still possible. Game theorists like Glenn Snyder even claim that the MAD standoff as it occurred during the Cold War forced both parties to dig in deeper and deeper, relying not only on nuclear deterrence, but adding non-cooperative behaviour expressed in low-intensity or proxy warfare (Snyder 1965: 184-201). Added to that, critics of the idea of bipolar nuclear deterrence stability point out that the uncertainty about the precise strenght of the adversary, and about the expected behaviour of the adversary made MAD a game with an extremely delicate balance (Schelling 1967; Jervis 1991: 20-50).
Asymmetric Assured Destruction
After 1990, a new situation emerged, in which the nuclear standoff between two equally destructive superpowers was less determining in international relations. Rather, from the perspective of several countries, an altogether new situation emerged, in which their perception was that they were threatened by the only remaining (nuclear armed) superpower. While these states had been able to rely for their territorial security on either one of the superpowers, now they found themselves unprotected from diplomatic
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence overwhelming influence or even from military infiltration or invasion by the superpower. Some of these states sought to counter this new insecurity by acquiring their own nuclear arsenal. The remaining superpower, from its perspective, found itself in a new strategic position, in which it felt the need to keep relying on a powerful nuclear arsenal as continuing deterrent against the old second superpower, while using its arsenal to try and scare potential new nuclear players into compliance with the new unipolar realities. In the resulting ‘game’, for which I here coin the term ‘Asymmetric Assured Destruction’ (AAD), both players do not have an equal nuclear strike capability, resulting in asymmetrical payoffs. For the superpower, in this new situation, it is obviously still possible to annihilate the opponent entirely, but not entirely without cost, now that the opponent has a limited capacity to destroy some part of the territory of the superpower (for example one of its metropolises).
With limited nuclear deterrence, the adversary tries to deter the superpower, calculating that the costs of military intervention will be too high for the superpower. There are many studies of the ins and outs of the MAD game, but no game theoretical elaboration of emerging post Cold War asymmetric strategic stand-offs exists. This section and the next propose two game theoretical matrices developed for this thesis. Figure 2 reflects the Post Cold War situation in which one adversary confronts one superpower still without BMD. The logic is the same as in the MAD game, with the exception that the maximum risk and maximum gain of the players is unequal. The maximum benefit of the adversary is +5 when the superpower turns down the expenditure (reliance on deterrence). The risk for the superpower is equally less, -5. The new situation makes it more likely that the superpower will consider a nuclear war, although the price is still probably too high –giving
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence the adversary an effective if uneven realistic means of deterrence. It is important to point out that this “Asymmetric Assured Destruction” (AAD) game does not apply to all interstate stand-offs. In this case, the game only applies to specific sets of one superpower and one adversary with limited nuclear strike capacity. The previous MAD game still applies to the original set of two superpowers, despite the fact that they seem now no longer in constant opposition to each other (Schweller 1996: 90-120).
Single Assured Destruction: BMD
From the superpower’s perspective, the AAD situation is frustrating. It has an overwhelming strategic advantage over the adversary, but it cannot freely attack or make comply the adversary with limited strike capacity. At the same time, the superpower still pays the costs of high reliance on Deterrence. A Defensive Realist state might still choose to seek a new status quo, but a Mearsheimerian superpower will reason that BMD offers an opportunity: The option to pressure the adversary into compliance, or attack it without risk of nuclear retaliation. BMD would have the additional benefit of deterring potential adversaries from developing deterrence. In the new game, here proposed as Single Assured Destruction BMD (SAD-BMD), the given situation is one in which the superpower managed to acquire reliable BMD protection and the adversary is understood to be in possession or perceived able to come into possession of a limited nuclear arsenal. The superpower’s choice is no longer (partly) determined by the choices of the adversary. However, the existence of (now friendly) other great powers with a nuclear arsenal outmatching the expected capacities of the BMD system, presuppose that the superpower cannot opt for low expenditure. The costs of the BMD system itself constitutes a high expenditure on defence and deterrence, that combined with continued reliance on deterrence presets the choice of the superpower on high expenditure. From the perspective of the adversary, its limited deterrence provided by its small nuclear ICBM arsenal fails to provide necessary security, resulting in a constant situation of immediate threat for the adversary. Its fate is now completely in the hands of the superpower. The resulting pay-off scheme is represented in Figure 3. The assured immunity resulting from the BMD shield must be compelling to the superpower. However, playing a notional state game entails more than only a first look. If Table 3 reflects an iterated game, the security dilemma predicts that while the superpower may feel more secure, for the adversary the resulting insecurity is so big and the consequent threat so immediate that it must act. If the adversary were only trying to develop a strategic autonomous nuclear arsenal not specifically directed at any real or
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence perceived threat, the adversary might choose to acquiesce in the face of such overwhelming odds.
But if the adversary perceives the danger as being very real, it will be in constant search of some restoration of deterrence. It could choose (if within its abilities) to expand its nuclear arsenal, in order to outgun the superpowers defences, possibly by forming a deterrence alliance with other limited nuclear powers. Or it could look to more conventional means of deterrence. Either way, it will drive the adversary towards uncooperative behaviour, in which it benefits from any level of obscurity about its intentions, and offensive capabilities. As mentioned earlier, the SAD-BMD game does not apply to the nuclear stand-off between two or more heavily armed superpowers. BMD is not intended to deny a rival superpower the means to strike, since BMD cannot intercept a huge amount of incoming ICBMs. For any state with the possibility to upgrade its arsenal to go over the limited defence threshold of BMD, there is a strong incentive to enter into a new arms race. States already in possession of nuclear arms, but unable or unwilling to outgrow the potential of BMD, may seek cooperation through new alliances to jointly outgun the superpower’s BMD. Concluding, the decision to develop and deploy a BMD system has greatly undermined the security (real or perceived) of any potential adversary if the adversary assesses the BMD system is feasible. When the superpower’s perspective is regarded as if it were operating isolated from other states, it seems to only create more security and a more powerful status in foreign policy. However, taking into account the security dilemma, the superpower too can assess that the consequences of its decision are that it will either drive the adversary towards alternative deterrence tactics and altogether more
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence uncooperative behaviour, or –in the worst case – that it will lead to a temporary growing insecurity until the BMD system is functioning, or even a permanent insecurity if the BMD system development fails altogether. At the same time, the defence offered by BMD is futile in a direct confrontation with the remaining powers possessing large nuclear arsenals. Deterrence theory, as developed during the Cold War, predicts that powers in possession of a nuclear arsenal that is large but not so large it can outgun BMD will aspire to expand their nuclear arsenal to overcome the limitations on their deterrence posed by BMD. In relation to these states, BMD triggers a new arms race. For powers in possession of sufficient nuclear missiles to penetrate the BMD system, the threat posed by BMD is the effect it may have in proxy wars, and potentially at the negotiation table, but this line of thought is not further explored in this thesis. Finally, BMD does not result in a reduction of expenditure on deterrence, but adds to the overall expenditure the development and deployment costs of BMD. Henceforth, a notional state level RAM analysis fails to convincingly explain the decision made by the US government to develop and deploy BMD.
4.4 RAM analysis 2: Identified State Decisions
In comparison to the notional state game above, this second RAM analysis will add more layers of information. This will make it possible to determine not what a hypothetical state might do, but what an identified state might chose to do. Acknowledging that the interactive nature of decisions influencing international relations applies not only to the theoretical level but to the identified state level as well, again the analysis will be framed as a ‘two state game’, albeit less formally defined than in the notional state games. Following Allison and Zelikow’s Rational Actor Paradigm, the states involved will be identified, as well as their perception of BMD related threats and opportunities and an attempt will be made to define the utility function of the identified states. Mindful about earlier remarks about auxiliary assumptions and the importance of evidence, the findings will allow for the sketching of a set of available options for each involved state and an analysis of the value maximising choices available. Finally, as was the case in the notional state analysis, the interaction between the states will be highlighted to determine to what extent conflicting preferences may have influenced the decision of the one identified state - the US - to develop and deploy BMD.
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As is the case in Allison and Zelikow’s analysis of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in this BMD ‘event’ there is more than one actor involved. One actor is in all documents clearly defined: The US. But since the Rumsfeld Report, and more pronounced since 2001, the other (cluster of) actors is known too: ‘Rogue States’. Membership of the category ‘Rogue States’ has gradually shifted over time. At the end of the 1990s, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and North Korea, but also Libya, Syria, Sudan and sometimes Pakistan were listed (Derrida 2005). In 2002, the category was replaced with the morally more resounding ‘Axis of Evil’, including at first North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Libya. Later Libya was taken off the list. Syria and Cuba on the other hand some times pop up in the list of the Axis of Evil. President Bush in his 2002 State of the Union address explains: States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic (White House 2002a: 3). The Joint Vision 2020 had already prepared the ground in 2000 by explaining that : We have superior conventional war fighting capabilities and effective nuclear deterrence today, but this favourable military balance is not static. In the face of such strong capabilities, the appeal of asymmetric approaches and the focus on the development of niche capabilities will increase. By developing and using approaches that avoid US strengths and exploit potential vulnerabilities using significantly different methods of operation, adversaries will attempt to create conditions that effectively delay, deter, or counter the application of US military capabilities. These states may not be deterred by assured nuclear retaliation (Joint Chiefs of Staff 2000: 8). In other words, the US doubts whether or not its nuclear arsenal is a sufficient deterrent against a ‘rogue’ state or sub-state entity in possession of a limited amount of nuclear armed ICBMs. The identified ‘players’ then are the US, and in opposition a group of noncooperative states that in the assessment of the US may not be deterred by Cold-War style nuclear deterrence: Afghanistan (until 2001), Iran, Iraq (until 2003), North Korea, and ‘on the background’ Syria, Libya and maybe even Cuba.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
As has been touched upon before, the US redefined its threat perception prior to the date that Bush managed to become President of the US. Already in 1995, after the Republican Party regained the majority in the Congress after mid-term elections, pressure started to mount against the Clinton Presidency in relation to the US foreign policy posture in general and Clinton’s’ assessment of current and future threats to US national security specifically. In 1995, the National Intelligence Estimate had concluded that “no country, other than the major declared nuclear powers, will develop or otherwise acquire a ballistic missile in the next 15 years that could threaten the contiguous 48 states and Canada” and that “ballistic missile programmes of other countries are focused on regional security concerns and are not expected to evolve into threats to North America during the period of this estimate” (DCI 1995). The Congress after 1996 invoked a special Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which in 1998 reported an altogether different view on the likelihood of new missile threats emerging in the foreseeable future. In the report, the Commission (better known as The Rumsfeld Commission), now stated that Concerted efforts by a number of overtly or potentially hostile nations to acquire ballistic missiles with biological or nuclear payloads pose a growing threat to the United States, its deployed forces and its friends and allies. […] Newer, developing threats in North Korea, Iran and Iraq would be able to inflict major destruction on the U.S. within about five years of a decision to acquire such a capability (10 years in the case of Iraq). The threat to the U.S. posed by these emerging capabilities is broader, more mature and evolving more rapidly than has been reported in estimates and reports by the Intelligence Community. The Intelligence Community's ability to provide timely and accurate estimates of ballistic missile threats to the U.S. is eroding. The warning times the U.S. can expect of new, threatening ballistic missile deployments are being reduced. [… ] The U.S. might well have little or no warning before operational deployment (US Congress 1998: 4-5) The threat reduced to its damaging function, is then the threat to US national security of a possible nuclear strike against its territory. But there is a related threat caused by the mentioned growing number of nuclear capable states in the perception of the US, the earlier mentioned danger of small states being able to deny the US access to ‘distant theatres’. Were the first formulation is a threat to survival, the latter is a threat to the US’s relative position on what Brzezinski (1998) calls the Grand Chessboard.
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The current US government avowedly proposes aggressive strategies such as pre-emptive strike, forced democratisation, regime change, and upholds for example a global anti-drug regime involving far going control over drug policies of foreign governments. The US regards itself engaged in at least two long term global wars, the war against drugs and the global war on terrorism (White House 2002c). Both are unconventional wars in the sense that they are perceived (by the US) as long term low-intensity strategic wars (Scott Tyson 2006). The vision of a US led world order is apparent in the Joint Vision 2020 document, a US Department of Defence strategic outline for the first two decades of the 21st century: The overarching focus of this vision is full spectrum dominance – the ability of US forces, operating unilaterally or in combination with multinational and interagency partners, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the full range of military operations (Joint Chiefs of Staff 2000: 3). The full range of operations includes maintaining a posture of strategic deterrence. It includes theatre engagement and presence activities. It includes conflict involving employment of strategic forces and weapons of mass destruction, major theatre wars, regional conflicts, and smaller-scale contingencies. It also includes those ambiguous situations residing between peace and war, such as peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, as well as non-combat humanitarian relief operations and support to domestic authorities (Joint Chiefs of Staff 2000: 8). All this leads to the inescapable conclusion that – in the terms of the RAM, the utility function of the US as represented by the George W. Bush administration can best be described as power maximising: A state that regards relative growth of power as the means to ensure survival and security. In comparison, the utility function of the defined adversaries is less easily established. North Korea and Iran for example do not have a similar track record as the US of foreign military intervention in recent decades. Iran fought bitterly in the 1980s against US backed Iraq, but it was Iraq that started the war. The last direct military confrontation between US and Iranian troops dates back to 1953, when the US helped overthrow the Mosaddegh government in favour of the Shah regime. North Korea’s last significant war operation was the Korean War (1950 – 1953), when it fought South Korea and the US, backed by China. Iraq, the third main country identified in the ‘Axis of Evil’ until it was invaded and occupied by the US had shown a more predatory tendency over previous years, with the invasion of Iran and the invasion of Kuwait as cases in point. Yet, after the defeat of Iraq in 1991 by the US led and UN backed coalition, Iraq never regained significant military power. Going back to 2001, Iran and North Korea especially seemed to be most concerned about ensuring survival, and seemed to assess that the development of a
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence nuclear deterrent is a pivotal part of that strategy. North Korea has in recent years threatened the US several times, saying it would retaliate on US territory in case of a US attack, but it has never shown any intent of unleashing a war by itself. Similarly, Iran has repeatedly threatened to strike against US troops present in ten of Iran’s neighbours, or against Israel, in case of a US attack on Iran. But it has never given any hint that it would be contemplating starting a war against the US without being provoked. Iran’s primary concern for power seems to be regional if anything. In 2001, before the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, there was already little reason to believe that any adversary existed that would entice the idea of launching a strike against US territory, even if it could. At the same time, the adversaries have received plenty of signals that the US might want to do just that – launch a military operation against Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran or North Korea or any or all of them.
Given that the US’s utility function prioritises power maximisation over ‘mere’ survival, several policy options were available to the US government to deal with the double threat formulated above. On countering the threat to the relative power position of the US (the ability to access distant theatres), the US looked at and pushed internationally for an aggressive strategy of counter-proliferation. In his June 2002 speech at West Point Military Academy, President Bush formulates this strategy as follows: We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. (Applause.) In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act. (Applause.) (White House 2002b: 2). To implement this activist strategy, what is needed was a military: that must be ready to strike at a moment's notice in any dark corner of the world. And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for pre-emptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives (White House 2002b: 2). The Bush speech outlines the new paradigm outlined in the Department of Defence strategic review document Joint Vision 2020, which is aptly summarised by Rafique and Khan of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad: • • • Removal of governments repugnant to the US. Use of pre-emption against such governments, terrorists and weapons of mass destruction programmes of the ‘rogue’ regimes. When necessary, take unilateral action where allies are not forthcoming. (Rafique and Khan 2002: 1)
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence The doctrine of pre-emptive strike, in the West Point speech and often thereafter is embedded in defence rhetoric, but ultimately a power maximising choice. To counter an imminent threat may be entirely aimed at ensuring survival, countering a threat before it occurs is a tool to keep the upper hand in a power relation, for indeed, the threat is not (yet) there. A somewhat softer form of counter-proliferation was available in the form of economic and diplomatic sanctions, which the US successfully pushed for in the 1990s in the case of Iraq (until the invasion). A week after Bush’ Axis of Evil Speech, the US started pushing for sanctions against North Korea, but a Chinese threat to veto any sanctions resolution thwarted US desires (Beck 2006), until in 2006 the Security Council imposed ‘targeted’ sanctions after Pyongyang’s nuclear testing (UNSC 2006a). Syria was confronted with a unilateral sanctions act, known as the Syria Accountability Act attempting “to halt Syrian support for terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop its development of weapons of mass destruction, cease its illegal importation of Iraqi oil, and hold Syria accountable for its role in the Middle East, and for other purposes” (US Congress 2003: Title page). In the case of Iran, the US already had a unilateral sanctions instrument in place, the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act (US Congress 1996), that was amended in 2006 and again in 2007 to include passages on Iran’s possible nuclear arms programme (US Congress 2007). The US also pushed for UN sanctions against Iran since 2001, only to succeed in December 2006 (UNSC 2006b).Iraq, finally, had been under a severe sanctions regime ever since 1991, and from 2001 until the invasion of Iraq in 2003, sanctions were amended to try and force Iraq to comply to US and UN demands on inspections of its weapons programs. A third available option, was to further rely on non-proliferation regimes in place, the Non-Proliferation Treaty most notably, of which both North Korea and Iran were assignees in 2001. Control mechanisms were available through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). To counter the direct threat to the national security of the US – the nightmarish idea of a nuclear ICBM launched at a US metropolis - a more limited set of options was available. Regardless of the discussion about how real the missile threat was in 2001, to counter the hypothetical threat, only a working missile defence system against ICBMs could in theory counter it completely. Nevertheless, a less mentioned option was available of course. The US could at that point enter into negotiations with the ‘rogue states’ to come to bilateral or multilateral non-aggression pacts. While this may sound strange after all that is said and done since 2001, at that point in time, there was still the window of opportunity to engage with North Korea, Iraq and Iran to come to a mutually beneficial security arrangement, as the US had done before with authoritarian regimes in (for
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence example) Saudi-Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, and would do with Libya and Pakistan after 2001. Flynt Leverett (2006), a former top US National Security official reflects in 2006 that the US since 2000 missed several opportunities to engage in a constructive settlement of disputes with Iran. After the 9/11 attacks, Iran offered to help identify and destroy AlQaeda, and in general tried to engage with the US on a strategic level, until Bush listed Iran as part of the Axis of Evil in 2002. In early 2003, Iran presented the US a package deal in which Iran again offered to help dismantle Al-Qaeda, to recognise the State of Israel and to promise not to develop weapons of mass destruction in return for a promise by the US to not attack, invade or undermine the regime in Iran. The Bush administration chose to ignore this Iranian attempt at reconciliation. For the adversaries, or rogues, there were options available as well. It will take too much space to go into each and every option for each of them, but the example of Iran is worth elaborating further. Iran, confronted with what it perceives as an openly hostile superpower that had been projecting power in the near region for decades, and would soon come to invade two of its neighbours, had two basic options for itself: 1 To comply to demands by the US to not provide itself with a credible deterrent. 2 To try and fool the international community for as long as it would take to develop just such a deterrent. Again, a similar argumentation applied to North Korea. For Iraq, the situation was very different (before 2003). After the destruction of its army in 1991, and the destruction of its economic might in the decade thereafter, Iraq could not realistically entertain the idea of creating a credible deterrent, and the language coming from Washington plus the continuation of the sanctions made compliance a meaningless option. The only available option seems to have been for Iraq in these years to try and maximise the holes in knowledge by other countries about its military potential, hoping that the resulting uncertainty would prevent the US for attacking it – a deterrence built on lack of information and uncertainty. Note that the asymmetric power structure in the given situation already excluded for any of these countries the option of pushing for international control of US offensive capabilities. The threats to the national security of each and every ‘rogue state’ were not only real, but very present as well.
Value maximising choices and interaction.
History shows us what the US must have decided their value maximising options were, since the pattern of inference in the RAM assumes that they chose accordingly. So we know
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence that the US chose aggressive counter-proliferation measures – pre-emptive strike and sanctions - over reliance on non-proliferation mechanisms to further its power maximising intentions. Indeed, the US openly questioned the use of control regimes in the years 2001 and 2002 (IAEA 2002), and did what was already envisioned in the Joint Vision 2020, to undertake pre-emptive action against ‘rogue states’ and do so unilaterally if allies are not forthcoming. In the case of pure defensive reasoning, defending against the treat of a nuclear ICBM attack on US territory, the US pursued a similar path in the sense that it refused to put its faith in multilateral or bilateral security arrangements aimed at diminishing the threat rather than trying to build a defence against it. So we know, in terms of a RAM analysis that the US government valued the option of missile defence higher than the option of relying on peace talks and mutual security agreements. But this is through a pattern of inference. It does not as such ‘explain’ just why the US chose to do so. Part of the explanation seems to be that the US chose as it did because in the end it put more emphasis on power maximisation than on mere survival. Mutual security arrangements with Iran, Iraq and North Korea in combination with non-proliferation deals and control mechanisms would potentially block the US from operating militarily in the Middle East and elsewhere, thus rendering that option incompatible with the Full Spectrum Dominance vision. Yet, looking at the value maximising options of the adversaries, it becomes clear that the posture of the US forced these countries to dig in deep and become more and more uncooperative in their behaviour. Iraq quite clearly had no other option than to try and leave others in the dark about its defensive capabilities. Complete openness, it seems to have assessed in 2001 and 2002, would only have made a US invasion more probable. Iran and North Korea may well play a similar game up to this date. And for Iran especially, it means it may feel itself forced to look to conventional or even ‘terrorist’ means of deterrence to fill the gap it must be feverishly aware of in the asymmetrical power standoff it finds itself in. Non-cooperative behaviour cuts both ways. From the perspective of the ‘Axis of Evil’ countries, it is the US acting non-cooperative, through imposing sanctions, threatening invasion, and through its unwillingness to disarm, to withdraw troops from the region, or even to denounce its nuclear first strike policy. In return, this means that BMD will not counter the potential threat posed by countries that regard the US as the most dangerous phenomenon to their existence, even if Iran and North Korea assess the system is technologically feasible.
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4.5 Conclusions and Implications
Using the RAM analysis, it is assumed that states act purposively and rationally. Having said that, it must be assumed for the time being, that the US is aware of the consequences of its choice for BMD, and is aware of the reciprocal nature of the military standoff relation it helped to create vis-à-vis countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria and North Korea. Realising the ambiguous strategic implications of a working BMD shield, let alone a not (yet) working one, a RAM analysis simply does not convincingly explain the US decision, never mind the fairly rationalist language used in argumentation in favour of BMD. BMD, from a rational actor model point of view still at best aims to counter part of a threat that may or may not exist, and at worst underscores the aggressive posture of the US perceived by potential adversaries, who in return will seek to bypass BMD if they believe it works, or will be pushed in a more aggressive pattern of behaviour towards the US if (or as long as) BMD does not function properly. The intermediate conclusions of the first analysis, looking at a notional state level, are not changed dramatically when adding ‘layers of information’, creating an ‘identified state’ level analysis. To answer the partial research question: “To what extent can the decision (pro BMD) be explained as a rational response by the state to emerging threats?”, the answer is slightly ambiguous. The RAM shows that rational choice can create more insight in the deliberations that preceded the decision, and allowing only Waltzian systemlevel information and variables does help to create a better overview of options, objectives and maximising of value. But at the same time it does not provide us with a convincing answer along the lines of “Action X is the response of state Y to threat Z”. BMD is not a univocal rational response of the US to the threat of a nuclear ballistic missile attack against its territory. The implication of this conclusion is that there is reason to ask the questions “Were there other considerations?”, “Were there considerations that provide additional or even better explanation that take us beyond the limitations of the rational choice paradigm?” The next two Chapters will use the remaining two models proposed by Allison and Zelikow to see if indeed opening the black box of government offers additional insight into the issue of BMD.
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THE ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR MODEL: BMD as output of governmental organisations
Governments are not individuals. This simple statement juxtaposes the very basis of the RAM analysis in the previous Chapter. The RAM, as explained, simplifies the real world by assuming that a state acts as if it were one unitary purposive and rational actor, not unlike an individual in economic relations. This central assumption enables the analyst to focus exclusively on the causal relation between the outside problem or opportunity the government faces and its rational responses to them. This simplification – however useful – prevents the analyst from looking at a whole cluster of possibly important factors, or considerations, that may have contributed to a government’s decision, or behaviour. Allison and Zelikow propose that, when confronted with a puzzling government decision, additional explanatory value can be found when ‘opening the black box of government’. To do so, they propose two further models, one looking at government organisational output, and one analysing the political bargaining games that preceded a decision. The latter model will be applied in the next Chapter. The model used in this Chapter, proposes that government is not an individual, but rather a vast conglomerate of loosely allied organisations, each with a substantial life of its own. Government behaviour in this Organisational Behaviour Model (OBM) can be understood as a consequence of outputs of larger organisations functioning according to standard patterns of behaviour. This Chapter will first discuss the Organisational Behaviour Model as presented by Allison and Zelikow, and some of the critique of the model formulated in the past decades. After that, this Chapter will empirically apply the model trying to find alternative or additional answers to the empirical Research Question this thesis seeks to answer. The supporting Research Question in this Chapter: To what extent can organisational output explain the decision of the US government to develop and deploy a ballistic missile defence system? The core assumption on which the Organisational Behaviour Model (OBM) is built is that bureaucratic organisations generate autonomous outputs that reflect the aims and demands of the organisation, rather than the purposes and goals of the government. Governments are only partly able to guide or coordinate the organisations on which they sit. The OBM allows the analyst to look at questions like: • How did a government’s decision come about as a result of the standard processes in place within the polity?
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence • To what extent can the outcome be explained as the sum of the organisational functions performed by the individual organisations that together make the government? Organisational output, in the OBM, can be analysed by tracing the intraorganisational decision making processes that occurred. To do this, the model works from the central proposition that decisions by individuals within organisations are guided by standard operating procedures (SOPs), simple decision rules. Organisational behaviour consequentially becomes predictable, when the decision rules are understood, and organisational behaviour is understood as an aggregate of the SOPs. In this, the OBM follows the works of Herbert Simon, who states that: Actions are chosen by recognising a situation as being of a familiar, frequently encountered type, and matching the recognised situation to a set of rules. This logic of appropriateness is linked to conceptions of experience, roles, intuition and expert knowledge (March and Simon 1993: 8). The OBM further stresses that in standing organisations, an autonomous culture emerges that shapes the behaviour of individuals. Individuals will predictably be more concerned with performing according to organisational norms and expectations than according to national policy preferences. Again aggregating the individual behaviour to the organisational level, the OBM analyses government decision following the logic of applying organisational norms and rules to situations, where the RAM used the logic of causes and consequences. Although originally developed by sociologists and political scientists studying domestic politics and bureaucracy, the importance of organisational behaviour has not gone unnoticed in the study of International Relations. Allison and Zelikow discuss Robert Keohane, Jack Levy and Elizabeth Kier, all three of whom referred in their work to above mentioned organisational behavioural aspects. As Robert Keohane put it: Institutions do not merely reflect the preferences and power of the units constituting them; the institutions themselves shape those preferences and that power (Keohane 1988: 382)
The origins of the Organisational Behaviour Model
Allison and Zelikow base their OBM on two approaches in the study of organisational behaviour developed in the 20th century: functionalism and new institutionalism. Functionalism, historically, focuses on the capacity building function of public organisations, and highlights the processes that define organisations and how these
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence processes in return may affect government behaviour. Functionalism predicts that organisations, once they are established, will not only try to produce what is asked of them by government leaders, but will over time develop their own organisational agenda. In the words of Niskanen (1971), organisations will tend to produce more of ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ may be. In other words, organisations will seek expansion of their jurisdiction, resources and autonomy. Furthermore, the logic of appropriateness guiding individuals within the organisations, makes organisations slow in responding to changing environments and new political demands. When confronted with a new situation, organisations will first try to respond by using existing sets of decision rules - together called programmes. Only when these do not deliver acceptable outputs, programmes may evolve to new ones. Functionalism stresses that the SOPs and programmes have both positive and negative effects. A positive effect is that SOPs enable organisations to efficiently deal with existing and recurring situations, and at the same time allow individuals a certain amount of freedom of operation. A negative effect is that this freedom predictably makes individuals protective and inflexible. And the organisation as a whole becomes inflexible as well. New institutionalism emphasises the more autonomous processes within organisations – their organisational culture specifically – and studies the possibilities and limitations posed to government leaders to direct or change organisations and their outputs. New institutionalists like James March, Johan Olson and Richard Cyert point out that the functionalist approach in many cases fails to explain organisational behaviour, and argue that organisations and bureaucrats are able to manoeuvre more autonomous than acknowledged by functionalism. Public action, according to many new institutionalists is shaped centrally by the autonomous behaviour of the organisations and their needs. Organisations over time create their own purposes, and their own culture and subsequently bureaucrats within these organisations tend to chose actions that are appropriate according to the rules determined by the organisational culture rather than by the logic of finding an appropriate solution to a problem or situation arising outside the organisation, and to which the organisation is entitled to respond. Decision making provides the organisation with an occasion: for executing SOPs and fulfilling role expectations, duties or earlier commitments; an occasion for defining virtue and truth, during which the organisation discovers or interprets what has happened to it, what it has been doing and what it is doing; an occasion for glory or blame; for discovering self and group interests; and a good time (March and Olson 1976: 11).
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The Organisational Behaviour Paradigm and Critique
In general terms, the study of organisational behaviour – in relation to government behaviour in foreign policy – is less thoroughly developed than the approaches underlying the RAM in the previous Chapter. Still, Allison and Zelikow manage to distil from the existing discourses a research paradigm, of which a brief summary is included in Box II below. Box II: The Organisational Behaviour Paradigm
I II Basic Unit of Analysis: Government action as organisational output. Organising Concepts Actor: Loosely allied organisations Organisations are guided by explicit missions. Objectives and Culture. Standing organisations develop their own interpretation of core tasks and over time develop their own culture d. Action as organisational output. Action is shaped by the programmatic character of tasks. Activities of organisations are characterised by (a) decision making according to Standing Operating Procedures (SOPS); (b) Fixed programmes constituted of SOPs; (c) Avoidance of uncertainty; (d) Seeking solutions closest to exiting SOPs; and (d) organisations can only learn and change if forced by dramatic chance, for example because of ‘budgetary feast’, ‘budgetary famine’ or severe performance failure. e. Selection. Government leaders can influence output by selecting which organisation or what programmes/routines within an organisation. Dominant Inference Pattern If a nation performs an action of a certain type today, its organisational components must yesterday have been performing an action only marginally different. a. b. c. d. e. V General Propositions Existing organisational capabilities influence government choice Organisational priorities shape organisational implementation Implementation reflects previously established routines Organisations are only able of limited flexibility and incremental change Organisations seek growth of their autonomy: personnel, budget and jurisdiction Evidence Evidence is found in information about the characteristics of the organisations involved. Summary of Allison and Zelikow (1999): 163-185
a. b. c.
Much of the criticism on Allison and Zelikow’s OBM centres around the implicit assumption that decision makers are ‘only’ boundedly rational. From it flows a second assumption: that the use of SOPs as simple decision rules by the boundedly rational individual cannot result in un-predictable or complex behaviour on the organisational level (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 309). Bendor and Hammond argue, with March and Simon, that complex processes can be aggregated from simple elements (March and Simon 1958: 178). A full
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence overview of the argument presented by Bendor and Hammond would be too large for this thesis, but to summarise, they look into several game theoretical constructs to analyse the use of simple rule decision making and the resulting aggregate behaviour on an organisational level and conclude that the OBM’s central premise that because of the SOPs organisations only show incremental change and thus behave highly predictable, may be flawed. It may be the case, Bendor and Hammond conclude, but only if a large number of conditions is exactly right (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 311). And modern organisations are aware of these potential problems and are equally aware of potential measures to counter or overcome these problems. Modern bureaucratic organisations are made up of different kinds of professionals with entirely different mindset and not the “sluggish entities dominated by a single way of thinking” (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 313). David Welch (1992) provides a critique focussing more on the explanatory value of the paradigm as a whole. He directly challenges Allison’s claim that “Governmental behaviour can […] be understood […] less as deliberate choices and more as outputs of large organisations functioning according to standard patterns of behaviour” (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 143). The OBM, Welch argues, does not explain a decision, it can only explain deviations from ideal rationality at the moment of a decision or deviations from perfect instrumentality after decisions are made. The OBM, he concludes “has nothing to say about the decisions themselves” (Welch 1992: 117). Despite Welch’s carefulness to formulate his criticism as an attempt to give positive feedback on Allison’s original model formulated in 1971, his criticism challenges the 1999 version of the OBM too, since in the revised version nothing substantially has changed. If Welch is right, the OBM is an obsolete instrument for the study of government decision making, and as such for the study central to this thesis. For according to him, the OBM cannot give any significant explanation as to what contributed to a governmental decision. It can only say something about how a decision came about, and at best point out some deviations from rationality.
5.3 Adapting the OBM for BMD analysis.
The OBM mixes several interesting ideas about how the RAM can be improved or how additional explanatory value can be created by looking into the black-box of a national government’s workings. By and large, I would argue that the OBM combines two distinctive sets of concepts that do not entirely mix. In the first set, assumptions and core concepts of the model focus on the internal workings of governmental organisations: the predomination of action by programmes and their SOPs; the limited ability of
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence organisations to adapt to new circumstances; and the drive of organisations towards preserving or better yet expanding autonomy and subsequent resources and jurisdiction. A second set looks into the way a government leader’s choices are limited by the available organisations and their specific capacities: the tendency by government leaders to choose the ‘easy’ solution – rather giving an assignment to an existing organisation than setting up an entirely new one; and the limited grasp of government leaders of what the real capacities are of each organisation in play. In fact, the second set contradicts the ‘Basic unit of analysis’ Allison and Zelikow formulate for their paradigm in Box II. In the second set, it is not governmental action as organisational output that is analysed, but government action as resultant of availability of organisational tools. The second set however, leads well into the terrain of the third model presented by Allison and Zelikow, where the role and behaviour of individual politicians is analysed. The criticism of Bendor and Hammond and of David Welch further complicates the analysis in this Chapter. Serious doubt about the assumption that organisations operate in predictable and standard ways, with limited ability to change or deviate raises the question how reliable any analysis can be. Welch’s point that any analysis will de facto be unable to really say something about a governments decision makes it all the more important to be critical of assumptions of causality in place in the model. The central premise states that government output explains government action, but the critiques of Bendor and Hammond (1992) and Welch (1992) all essentially argue that the presupposed causality in reality is directed the opposite way. From their critique it follows that organisational behaviour does not explain government action, but government decision explains organisational behaviour. In analysing organisational behaviour in relation to the BMD decision, the biggest challenge is the limited availability of information about the actual internal working of relevant organisations and - more importantly – the actual effect of any organisation’s output on the decision making process. Where Allison’s original amount of available information – already impressive in scope – was further strengthened by the release of declassified documentation in the 1990s and most crucial the taped discussions in the White House, the analysis in this Chapter has to do with extremely limited available information. This leads to the following limitations in the analysis: 1 2 Lack of proper information about organisational cultures necessitates exclusion of that discussion Lack of information about many SOPs implies that the actual effects of SOPs and their constraints cannot be tested empirically. The role of SOPs and the programmes they form can only – for the time being – be assumed.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence 3 Similarly, the organisational drives towards preserving and enlarging autonomy, avoidance of uncertainty and limited potential for change need to be assumed. The resulting analysis below will seek to answer the question: To what extent can the OBM’s ‘logic of appropriateness’ guiding outputs of organisations explain the governments decision to develop and deploy BMD systems? To answer this question first the most relevant organisations will be identified whose output can realistically be said to be able to have had any effect on the government leaderships contemplations leading to the decision. The missions of each organisation will be looked at, as well as documented preferences, visions and choices related to BMD over the years preceding the BMD decision. Key statements linking the organisational output and the governments decision will be discussed. In that discussion, a credible sense of the direction of causality will be established, by looking at the relationship between the organisations and their leaders, both in terms of procedural initiative and in terms of time-path.
OBM analysis: BMD as organisational output.
Looking at available information on the decision making processes in the US government concerning BMD, two core organisations can be identified: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Department of Defence (DoD). The CIA is relevant because it provides the government with crucial information about existing and emerging foreign policy related threats. Following the logic of the OBM, the threat assessment of the CIA (its output) would affect the US government’s responses to threats. The DoD’s output is relevant, obviously, since its primary function is to provide the US with capable and effective defence. Within the DoD, two organisations seem to matter especially. First of all, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) because of its role in translating the information of the CIA into practical policy and implementation. The Joint Chiefs are the primary advisors to the President on restructuring and redevelopment of US defence policy. Secondly, the Missile Defence Agency (MDA) is included, because of its role as executioner of policies regarding BMD. Following the OBM logic, its output would influence decision making on BMD itself.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
We are the nation’s first line of defence. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go. We carry out our mission by: • Collecting information that reveals the plans, intentions and capabilities of our adversaries and provides the basis for decision and action.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence • Producing timely analysis that provides insight, warning and opportunity to the President and decision makers charged with protecting and advancing America’s interests. Conducting covert action at the direction of the President to pre-empt threats or achieve US policy objectives. (CIA Mission Statement, on-line)
The first two of three ‘critical tasks’ described in the CIA mission statements are relevant to the story of BMD. In more general terms, the CIA is responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers; for acquiring information on, and assess the seriousness of threats to the national security of the US. The CIA produces an immense amount of periodic intelligence reports on a wide variety of issues: countries; organisations; individuals, technologies, etc. The CIA also produces the National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs); overviews of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and on occasion special reports on countries, such as the reports on Iraq in recent years. In the words of the CIA, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is: the most authoritative written judgment concerning a national security issue prepared by the Director of Central Intelligence. […] NIEs forecast future developments and many address their implications for the United States. NIEs cover a wide range of issue-from military to technological to economic to political trends. […] NIEs are addressed to the highest level of policymakersup to and including the President. They are often drafted in response to a specific request from a policymaker. Estimates are designed not just to provide information but to help policymakers think through issues (CIA Declassified National Intelligence Estimates, on-line). In the terminology of the OBM, the NIEs are the output of the CIA. Acquiring information on nuclear arms proliferation may be called a ‘programme’, which would then consist of multiple SOPs, for example rules about how to assess a certain bit of information on acquisition of chemicals or technology by a third country. In the words of the CIA above, the output is not solely the information in reports itself, but includes the advice on policies. The NIEs aim to inform government leaders in order to help them come to informed decisions on current and future national security related policies. Because of the close link between BMD and the proliferation of ICBMs and nuclear technology, the NIEs assessments of proliferation and subsequent threats to the national security are important in the discussions on BMD. The assessment of (future) threats by the NIEs has radically changed between 1995 and 2003, and has been the subject of heated political debates, especially in the period 1996-2001. In 1995, the NIE reported that: No country, other than the major declared nuclear powers, will develop or otherwise acquire a ballistic missile in the next 15 years that could threaten the contiguous 48 states and Canada.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Ballistic missile programs of other countries are focused on regional security concerns and are not expected to evolve into threats to North America during the period of this estimate. We are likely to detect any indigenous long-range ballistic missile program many years before deployment. We expect countries that currently have ICBMs will not sell them (DCI 1995: 1-2; Defense Daily 1997: 2). From 1998 onward, the CIA quite suddenly changed its assessments though. Apparently this change in view was prompted by North Korea’s first test of a (not functioning) midrange ballistic missile; reports about Iranian attempts to develop nuclear technology; and rumours about Russian runaway nuclear experts offering their expertise on the international market (Dobbs 2002: A01). There is evidence though, that the turnaround was the result not so much of changes in assessment of external threat, but the result of political pressure from a changing political environment in these years. The 1995 NIE led to a fierce battle in the Congress between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party who had regained the majority vote in the Congress in November 1994. The Republican Party claimed that the NIE was biased and flawed in its methodology. The Congress formed in the years 1996-1998 several commissions to investigate these accusations. A commission investigating the political bias of the NIE concluded not only that there was no evidence for any bias, but also that the bias was on the part of the Republican dominated Congress (CIA 1996: 2).12 A second Commission – the Rumsfeld Commission – did nevertheless conclude that the method of analysis was flawed, and on top of that produced in 1998 an alternative analysis that contradicted all of the 1995 NIE conclusions (US Congress 1998). After that, the CIA – using much of the same information and methodology – changed its tone and unlike in the 1995 NIE reported mainly on possible worst case scenarios in stead of assessing likely threats. The shift in judgement caused Republican Senator Curt Weldon – an outspoken proponent of BMD - to state in 2001: It was the largest turnaround ever in the history of the [intelligence] agency, and I was part of making it happen. The intelligence shift was a necessary corrective to a politically skewed intelligence forecasts during the Clinton years (In Dobbs 2002: A01). The Missile Defence Agency in its document National Missile Defense: An Overview (19932000) acknowledges the importance of the change in the political climate in Washington, reporting it: emerged in November 1994 when the American electorate gave the Republican party control of both houses of Congress for the first time in decades. Given previous Republican positions on ballistic missile defence, it was apparent to Pentagon officials that the new Republican majorities in the
For further information on the importance of this political struggle, see e.g. Graham 2001
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence House and Senate were likely to require higher [Fiscal Year 1996] funding levels for the missile defence program, especially those elements of the program related to national missile defence (MDA Historian’s Office, on-line). Democrats and for example Joseph Cirincione, director of the Non-proliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, assessed that “the 1995 intelligence estimate holds up pretty well in hindsight", and accused Weldon and other Republicans of mounting a conscious political strategy to attack the intelligence assessment because "it stood in the way of a passionate belief in missile defence" (In Dobbs 2002: A01). In Cirincione’s opinion, "intelligence analysts have learned to give the Congress what they want, while preserving the integrity of the analysis. What happens is that you get assessments that include all possible worst cases." And “the intelligence process has become politicised” (Dobbs 2002: AO1). Instead of the OBM’s idea that organisations determine government behaviour, this case seems to show exactly the opposite. CIA officials argued after 1998 that their new and radically different estimates were the result of improved methods of analysis. Following the publication of the Rumsfeld Commission the CIA began consulting a range of experts from industry and academia. But within academia, industry and within the intelligence community, the overriding idea is that the CIA changed its assessment in order not to render their services obsolete. The Dobbs article reflects: Some consumers of intelligence within the government say the shifting forecasts of the ballistic missile threat are a case study of how an ostensibly objective intelligence process can be buffeted by conflicting political pressures, from home and abroad. ‘Nobody believes the CIA estimates’, said a long-time counter-proliferation expert from another government department. (Dobbs 2002, A02). The CIA’s output does not include a specific recommendation either in favour or against BMD. However, their threat assessments do resonate in the political discussions about the need for BMD. During the first years of the Clinton administration, the CIA’s assessments of the low likelihood of a nuclear ICBM attack by a ‘small’ country was indeed feeding the low enthusiasm in the administration for developing an extensive BMD system. Clinton effectively delayed a decision on deployment of (any form of) BMD, and made the decision conditional. The technology would have to be proven; Allies would have to approve; A compromise with Russia would have to be found. And the administration repeatedly questioned whether the prophesised system would enhance the US’s security enough to justify the cost (Hartung and Ciarrocca 2000). Only after the political landscape changed in the Congress, and after political pressure on the CIA grew did the CIA change its method of assessing threats, now producing documents that are replete with mentioning
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence ‘not impossible’ nightmare scenarios where up till 1995 the assessments were built on information combining the likeliness and severity of a threat. In any case it cannot be said that the CIA output explains the government’s decision. If anything, any causal relation would seem to point in another direction: Political pressure explains the output of the CIA.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, as the name predicts, is a body consisting of all the Chiefs of military departments of the US army, navy and air force, and is attributed a non-military capacity as strategic advisor. Although organisationally a part of the Department of Defence (DoD), the JCS stands apart in that it does not need answer to any internal DoD hierarchy, except the Secretary of Defence, and can be asked to by-pass the Secretary and answer to the President directly. The JCS started during the Second World War as an adhoc advisory team, an action channel in OBM jargon rather than an organisation in its own right. Over the years, the JCS has acquired a central role though, in advising the President on strategic and tactical matters and on Defence restructuring, and can now be regarded as an organisation “distinct from and competing with other Pentagon organisations, including the armed services from which the Joint Staff is drawn” (Smith 1993: 213). The mission statement of the JCS in all fairness does not clearly define its primary role, but instead reads more like a defensive statement answering critique of their potential double hat as army chiefs and strategic advisors. The closest to a mission statement, the following quote explains the workings of the JCS: The collective body of the JCS is headed by the Chairman […], who sets the agenda and presides over JCS meetings. Responsibilities as members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff take precedence over duties as the Chiefs of Military Services. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defence, and the National Security Council (NSC), however, all JCS members are by law military advisers, and they may respond to a request or voluntarily submit, through the Chairman, advice or opinions to the President, the Secretary of Defence, or NSC (JCS Mission Statement, on-line). The JCS’s output is the advice they give, some of which is put down in writing. In the BMD story, the most important tangible output of the JCS is the 2000 document Joint Vision 2020, a strategy document aiming to guide government decision making on the direction of military reorganisation and US military posture for the period 2000 – 2020. In the document (earlier discussed in this thesis), the JSC directly addresses the issue of proliferation of
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence ballistic missile and nuclear arms technology and the possibility of building defences against it. The document starts with a mission statement of sorts: Joint Vision 2020 builds upon and extends the conceptual template established by Joint Vision 2010 to guide the continuing transformation of America’s Armed Forces. The primary purpose of those forces has been and will be to fight and win the Nation’s wars. The overall goal of the transformation described in this document is the creation of a force that is dominant across the full spectrum of military operations – persuasive in peace, decisive in war, pre-eminent in any form of conflict (JCS 2000: 1). The vision itself, the JCS describes as: The overarching focus of this vision is full spectrum dominance – achieved through the interdependent application of dominant manoeuvre, precision engagement, focused logistics, and full dimensional protection (JCS 2000: 2) The document assesses that by 2020, adversaries are likely to have access to much of the same technology as the US military, making technologic superiority not a given in all areas (JCS 2000: 5). The document then continues to warn that: By developing and using approaches that avoid US strengths and exploit potential vulnerabilities using significantly different methods of operation, adversaries will attempt to create conditions that effectively delay, deter, or counter the application of US military capabilities. The potential of such asymmetric approaches is perhaps the most serious danger the United States faces in the immediate future – and this danger includes long-range ballistic missiles and other direct threats to US citizens and territory (JCS 2000: 6). The JCS advises to opt for ‘full spectrum dominance’, explaining that: The label full spectrum dominance implies that US forces are able to conduct prompt, sustained, and synchronised operations with combinations of forces tailored to specific situations and with access to and freedom to operate in all domains – space, sea, land, air, and information. Additionally, given the global nature of our interests and obligations, the United States must maintain its overseas presence forces and the ability to rapidly project power worldwide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance (JCS 2000: 8). The idea of full spectrum dominance includes ‘full dimensional protection’, which: […] Will be based upon active and passive defensive measures, including theatre missile defences and limited missile defence of the United States (JCS 2000: 33). Clearly, the JCS assesses that BMD is a necessary precondition for meeting the security challenges of the coming decades, and for securing a dominant position in all possible theatres of war, including space. The JCS equally clearly calls for more rather than less investment in US military capacity. Two questions come up. First of all, the question if the JCS is just showing what in the theoretical part of this Chapter was called the tendency to
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence produce more of ‘it’. Is the call for radical investment in full spectrum dominance attributable to the fact that the Chiefs of Staff jointly have an interest in preserving or enlarging their ‘share of the pie’? This is difficult to prove without additional information, information not available at this time. The behaviour of the JCS does seem congruent with the OBM paradigm though. Their critical task being to advise the government on military reorganisation and investment would drive them according to the logic of appropriateness to stay close to their established routines and interpret possible and real ‘shocks’ in the environment accordingly. If the Rumsfeld Report predicts new threats, it is the JCS’s natural role to advise on how to counter them. At the same time, the responsibility of each of the Chiefs, to care for the healthiness and autonomy of their organisations would predict that they tend to advise on more rather than less of ‘it’. It being investment in military capacity. The second question is whether or not the JCS can convincingly be shown to have had an effect on the decision making on BMD. The Vision 2020 is a popular reference point for critics of BMD (Coates 2001; Ciarrocca and Hartung 2002), and is often implicitly viewed as a threshold moment in the process towards the Bush administration’s decision in favour of BMD. Recent documentation on the troubled relationship between the then Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, and the JCS sheds serious doubt about that assessment though. The JCS even refused to come to a meeting Rumsfeld called for in December 2006, out of long standing frustration with the lack of cooperation on Rumsfeld’s part. By law, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the president's principal military advisor. But for much of the Rumsfeld tenure, the Joint Chiefs […] were kept out of planning, according to some senior officers critical of that arrangement. Some top military voices have argued that had the Joint Chiefs been consulted more regularly, some key mistakes — such as the troop shortage early on [in Iraq]— could have been avoided. […] The service chiefs are part of the solution", said retired Gen. James L. Jones, a former Marine commandant who served as a member of the Joint Chiefs until 2003. "Some of the difficulty we are in now I think an honest man could say was due to that particular system … where the Joint Chiefs were left out. You can circumvent the legitimate opinions that should be developed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I think there is evidence that has happened on a number of occasions” (Barnes 2007: 1). Although in this story the Iraq War planning seems to be the centre of the deteriorated relationship, it makes clear at least that the influence of the JCS is dependent on the Secretary of Defence it is supposed to advise. It furthermore shows that the Secretary of Defence is well able – in OBM terms – to trigger one program rather than another, thus directing the output of the organisations on top of which he sits. And it is therefore impossible to claim that the BMD decision was in any way the result of organisational
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence output from the JCS. Furthermore, in 2000 the 1999 Missile Defence Act was already signed, and in their organisational drive towards more of ‘it’, the inclusion of BMD in the Vision 2020 document may as well have been caused by the fact that BMD seemed to offer potential for expanded funding, a tempting prospect for the JCS no doubt.
The Missile Defence Agency (BMDO & MDA)
The Missile Defence Agency (MDA) was created in January 2002. But it was not entirely a newly created organisation, rather the continuation of the Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation (BMDO). The 2001/2002 decision expanded the autonomy, budget and role of the BMDO significantly though, moving it up the ladder as it were in the hierarchy within the DoD. Its mission: Develop and field an integrated BMD [System] capable of providing a layered defence for the homeland, deployed forces, friends, and allies against ballistic missiles of all ranges in all phases of flight. The Missile Defence Agency's mission is to develop, test and prepare for deployment a missile defence system. Using complementary interceptors, land-, sea-, air- and space-based sensors, and battle management command and control systems, the planned missile defence system will be able to engage all classes and ranges of ballistic missile threats. Our programmatic strategy is to develop, rigorously test, and continuously evaluate production, deployment and operational alternatives for the ballistic missile defence system (MDA About Us, on-line). Before 2002 most research and development of BMD related technology was the realm of the Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation (BMDO), but some research and development was done by the air force and some by the army (Trenary III 2004). Theatre missile defence development was placed mostly outside the BMDO. Since 2002, the MDA enjoys a relatively high autonomy, answering directly to the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld. The role and autonomy of the MDA is put to paper in the 2002 Secretary of Defence Memorandum, Subject: Missile Defence Program Direction (US DoD 2002a). In the memorandum, Rumsfeld stipulates the MDA is operationally accountable directly to him. Since 2002, the MDA appears on the DoD annual budgets that have to be approved by the Congress, with the establishment of the budget as the only direct check on the decision making power of the Secretary. The orientation of the MDA is largely technological. In contrast with the CIA and the JCS before, the relevant output of the MDA is not advice or the production of strategic visions, but planning, testing and the preparation for deployment of missile defence systems. Immediately after its inception in 2002, the BMDO/MDA was blessed with what in
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence OBM terminology is called a ‘budgetary feast’ (see Box II), with an annual budget jumping from about 2 billion US$ in 1999 to 10 billion US$ since 2003. The MDA’s output is not solely technological. The organisation puts high emphasis first of all on transferring new technology coming from BMD system development to the private sector, claiming that – although BMD is paid for by public money – the resulting technology spawns technological development on the private market – thus “developing superior technology to defend the United States and its allies, promoting the economic growth of the Nation, and enhancing the quality of life in the United States” all at once (MDA Transfer, on-line). The MDA annually participates in a Congressional Hearing, in which the MDA publicly reports on progress made and on the need for future funding. Invariably, the MDA reports a list of successful tests, and in relation advises the Congress to continue the current level of funding or to expand it. There is always more ‘it’ the MDA can produce. The MDA has no direct power over the decision making though, and while it does have a clear output, the troubling delays and test failures in all MDA’s areas of work entirely focussing on the development of BMD (rather than TMD) technology should, the OBM paradigm predicts, lead to negative attitudes from decision makers, or at least limit the influence of the MDA in bringing about a positive attitude among government decision making bodies. In 2001 and 2002 however, belief in the technologic feasibility of BMD was still riding high, at least among Republicans. So did the output of the MDA/BMDO in any definable way affect the decision making process pro MD? To say so seems – again – to be reasoning the wrong way around. It was a political change of view that brought the MDA about, and although it no doubt continuously and to its maximum capacity pushes for extension or even growth of its resources and accompanying autonomy, it can now do so only because of the changed political view in the first place.
Conclusions and Implications
It would be presumptuous to claim that the limited analysis possible in this Chapter ‘proves’ that Allison and Zelikow’s OBM is of very limited value, but it can be concluded that at least in this case the model does not work, or does not apply. There is nothing to support the idea that organisational output caused the BMD decision, or even significantly influenced it. In fact, all the evidence suggests the causality exists the other way around. In the case of the CIA, where the output significantly changed in favour of BMD in the years preceding the decision, there is sufficient reason to question whether it was the
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence output supporting the decision or rather political pressure from the Republican led Congress that caused the changing output. In the case of the JCS, the tendency to emphasise the need for additional spending and priority for defence related projects like BMD, predicted in the model itself, cannot convincingly be said to have affected the government leader’s decision. The other way around seems at least just as plausible: The JCS’s inclusion of BMD in their Joint Vision 2020 is explained by the JCS’s realisation that supporting the political call for BMD would entail additional funding, personnel, jurisdiction and therefore more autonomy. Reports on the troubled relation between the JCS and the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, further question the relevance of the outputs of the JCS in this case. In the case of the MDA finally, the reversed causality is most prominent. It is not the MDA’s output that led the administration to favour BMD, it is the administration’s decision to prioritise BMD that threw the MDA into a ‘budgetary feast’ and granted it more autonomy ever since. It may well be the case that today the output of the MDA affects the decision making on budgetary allocations for BMD. But in the period of the original decision, the logic worked the other way around. To come to this conclusion, it was necessary to reinterpret what ‘the decision’ studied exactly is, and when it happened. The DoD, JCS and MDA outputs no doubt strongly supported the Bush administrations decision to grant the BMD project the highest priority, making it seem as if the OBM is right. But when the preceding political decision making process is allowed into the analysis, a different story emerges. The legislative decision to develop and deploy BMD was taken already in 1999, when the Senate signed the Missile Defence Act. And it is the Act and the accompanying political campaign that triggered the change in organisational output of the CIA, and the new output of the MDA. Limiting the analysis to include only the 2001 - 2002 policy decisions by the administrations would have obscured that fact. At the same time, the reluctance of the Democratic Clinton administration to prioritise on BMD development and deployment, makes clear that neither the political pressure, nor the organisational output could fully determine an administrations policy on BMD. In his last Presidential period, Clinton did not prioritise on BMD, and only after the Republican Party regained the Presidency in 2001, it was the Bush administration that interpreted the Missile Defence Act as being a directive for prioritising on BMD the way it is prioritised on until today. It seems fair to say that the OBM’s prediction that government leaders are directed in their choice by outputs of the organisations on which they sit is flawed. Furthermore, the ‘second set’ predicting that government leaders are limited in their choice by the availability of organisations and resources and by the limited ability of leaders to push for radical change in the outputs of organisations seems equally flawed. Action by the
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Congress in the period 1995 to 1999 quite well managed to change the assessment methods of the CIA, As a result, government leaders seem to have successfully pushed the JCS out of the central debate, and unleashed on the BMDO a budgetary feast that all but remade it into a new organisation. In this case, the power of politics overshadowed any of Allison and Zelikows government leader’s limited ability to activate some programmes here rather than there, or call into action several programmes simultaneously in several organisations. In fact it was the Congress that blocked some programmes, changed the very working of others, and allowed the administration to start up an entirely new menu of programmes, the MDA. The empirical research question for this Chapter specifically: “To what extent can the US governments pro-BMD decision be explained by organisational output determining government choice”, leads to the answer that it cannot. And with that, the analysis contributes very little to answering the central research question “What explains the US government’s decision to develop and deploy BMD”. This conclusion points in the direction of the next chapters central premise that political bargaining rather than organisational output explains the pro-BMD decision. Is it all politics then? The following Chapter will take a closer look at the political stands and beliefs of central political players in order to see if indeed politics provides us with answers to the central empirical research question.
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THE GOVERNMENTAL POLITICS MODEL: BMD as result of political bargaining
The OBM in the previous Chapter attempted to offer a closer look into the workings and relevance of organisational output of government institutions involved in the decision pro BMD. The organisations involved are led by leaders who are both bureaucratic leaders and political players. This third and last empirical Chapter will seek explanation of the BMD decision by looking at these personalities, their positions and their political stands and beliefs, in an attempt to strengthen the explanation of the BMD decision. Like in the other empirical Chapters, one of the models presented by Allison and Zelikow will be the guideline, this one called the Governmental Politics Model (GPM), previously the Bureaucratic Politics Model. The Chapter will set out to discuss the GPM as presented in Essence of Decision (1999), reviews some of the relevant literature, and summarises the paradigm as formulated by Allison and Zelikow. Relevant critique of the model will be discussed, as well as implications of that critique for the analysis done in this Chapter. After that, the GPM will be applied to the BMD decision in two sections. One section will identify ‘the players’ and their political stands. The second analytical section will take a closer look at the beliefs of these players, arguing that the Bush administration’s preference for BMD stems from political conviction rather than rational calculation or organisational behaviour. The Chapter will end with a brief discussion on the outcomes and implications for the thesis.
6.1 The origins of the Governmental Politics Model
In the logic of the GPM, governmental behaviour is understood to be the result of bargaining games played between key political and bureaucratic individuals. The outcomes of the games are formed by the interaction of competing preferences. Government is made up of a number of political leaders who are joined by top officials of major governmental organisations to form a circle of central players. Some players are mandatory, others may be invited in for the special occasion or elbow their way in. Beyond this circle, successive concentric circles may encompass lower level officials in the executive branch, the press, and NGOs (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 255). The GPM’s origin can be traced back to the works of Richard E. Neustadt, both a political scientist and experienced politician. Allison and Zelikow, generalising Neustadt’s
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence work, build up the GPM by exploring the group processes in play and their effects on decisions and actions on a governmental level. Posing the question “What particular characteristics of multi-person decision processes have consequences for the content of the decisions and actions that emerge?” (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 263), Allison and Zelikow discuss several such characteristics. 1 Decision making processes. Following Alexander George, Allison and Zelikow argue that to study foreign policy, one should focus primarily on the actual decision making processes, not on the formal organisational charts. Or: Focus on the action channels, not the boxes (George and Stern 1998: 200). Action channels are tailormade, not preset. 2 The Agency Problem. Increasing numbers of participants make it less likely that information is unknown or unavailable to the decision maker. But with a growing number of participants, the influence of personal beliefs and politics within the group grows exponentially. Following Kenneth Shepsle and Kenneth Arrow’s ‘Impossibility Theorem’, Allison and Zelikow argue that while individuals are rational, a group is not, since it may not even have transitively ordered preferences (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 271). Participants are in practice more than just agents. They are players in an interactive game as well, and as such entertain influence over the outcome of a decision or action. 3 Player selection. From the above follows that the selection of players can be crucial to forging a decision. Although Allison and Zelikow do not conclude explicitly that individual political beliefs should be central in the GPM, they do acknowledge the work on group decision making processes developed in the 1990s by for example Peter M. Haas and Ernst Haas, and argue that “individuals can be affected not only by their organisational background but also by long-standing association with a community of likeminded professionals sharing distinctive outlooks on the world” (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 277). 4 5 Agenda setting and issue framing. Part of the game is to push priorities on the agenda, and to frame the issue so that more support is expected. Groupthink. Allison and Zelikow refer to the social psychological studies done by Irving Janis, who derived from his work the propositions that (a) policy decisions are most regularly made in groups of 6 to 12 persons; (b) the cohesion in such small groups (especially when the members are sharing overall responsibility over a longer period of time) causes a psychological drive for consensus; (c) stress within a group can cause individuals to avoid subjects defensively, or to exaggerate favourable consequences; (d) under certain circumstances, this collective stress
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence and cohesion can cause ‘groupthink’: “sequences of decisions that reach extremes well beyond the initial inclinations of any of the participants” (Janis cited in Allison and Zelikow 1999: 284). 6 Complexities of joint action. Finally, Allison and Zelikow point out that the settings in which separate institutions share power over decisions, makes the process of coming to joint decisions extremely complex. This is in current politics more and more often an important realisation since – as Allison and Zelikow argue – for example the role of the Congress has grown over the past decades in the US. Relevant for the analysis of BMD later in this Chapter is the claim that “Congress’s role is especially big in dealing with allocation of resources, including procurement, organisation, and deployment of military personnel and material” (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 289). The third Allison and Zelikow model is the most altered of the three in comparison to the original version by Allison (1971). In the 1971 version, the “Bureaucratic Politics Model” focussed almost exclusively on the explanatory power of bargaining games in which the stands and demands of the individuals involved were determined by their position in politics. I.e. the Secretary of State will have a different opinion or agenda than the Secretary of Defence, because of the different organisations, responsibilities and outcome projections they represent. “Where you stand depends on where you sit”, as Arnold Miles originally formulated it (Welch 1992: 120). This perspective is not lost in the 1999 version, but the model is refurbished to include political beliefs that are not directly explained by bureaucratic position.
6.2 The Governmental Politics Paradigm and Critique
The third and last paradigm (see Box III below) has been the one receiving the most criticism since 1971. Then called the Bureaucratic Politics Model, criticism focussed on the apparent feeble proof of causality between individual position in a bureaucracy and resulting political priority. Allison’s proposition that “where you stand depends on where you sit” contradicts several other theories, propositions and findings in the model (Ball 1974; Caldwell 1977). Allison allows some leeway for implementing in the model concepts such as individual beliefs, and ‘longstanding relations with likeminded professionals’, which seems to contradict the proposition that position explains preferences and priorities. Moreover, as Bendor and Hammond point out, not all involved players necessarily ‘sit’ somewhere (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 317). Indeed, including in the analysis players
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence who ‘elbowed their way in’ as well as political players, means that not all players have a clear bureaucratic position to begin with. Box III: The Governmental Politics Paradigm
I Basic unit of Analysis. Government action as political resultant. What happens is not chosen as a solution to a problem but rather results from a compromise, conflict and confusion. Organising concepts. A. Players. A governmental decision is made by the collection of a number of individual players. B. Positions. Players each have their own position. Each players position determines to a large extent what he can or cannot do. C. Factors shaping players’ perceptions, preferences and stands. 1. Parochial priorities. Priorities determined by position 2. Goals and interests. Priorities determined by personal interest, domestic political interests etc. 3. Stakes and stands. Overlapping interests constitute the stakes D. Power and influence. Power is measured by the ability to influence the outcome. E. The game. (a) An action channel is a regularised means of taking governmental decisions. They structure the game by preselecting players and by attributing different levels of decision power to players. (b) Rules of the game establish the positions, power of each position and the action channels.(c) Action as political resultant. Players will manoeuvre to get the decisions made in the action channels they believe offers the best prospect for a desired result. Dominant inference pattern. If a nation performed an action, that action was the resultant of bargaining among individuals and groups within the government. General Propositions. A. Political resultants: Resultants are affected by (a) individual preferences and stands; (b) chosen action channel. B. Action and intention: Governmental action does not presuppose intention. C. Where you stand depends on where you sit: Diverse demands upon players influence their priorities, perceptions and stands. D. The 49-51 principle: Being burdened with many decisions and games to play, players will prioritise those games they expect the most of. Evidence. Direct access to the bargaining procedures is uncommon. Interviews, documentation and news background items may all amount to evidence in the GPM. Summary of Allison and Zelikow (1999): 294-313
The 1999 edition acknowledges the critique, and stipulates that the proposition has been misread. With ‘depends on’ Allison had not meant ‘is always determined by’ but rather ‘is substantially affected by’ (Allison and Zelikow 1999: 307). That does not take away the relevance of the critique though. Even when the claim is now that individual stands are ‘substantially affected by” bureaucratic position, that proposition is in contrast with propositions about the role of individual beliefs and political and societal pressures affecting the same individual stands in the 1999 edition, see box III.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Summarising much of the widespread criticism, it can be concluded that the GPM is ambiguous and just too complex (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 318; Welch 1992: 136). The Governmental Politics Model has become a catch-all in which bureaucrats, politicians and ad-hoc players are understood to engage in complex multi-player games in which they each prioritise within and among games, and are in their stands affected by their bureaucratic position, their beliefs, their perceptions of priority, time constraints…. etc. What’s more, the model does not (clearly) define any hierarchical relation between any or all of the many variables. Would – for example –the effect of ‘the agency problem’ weigh in more heavy than the effect of ‘groupthink’? Or the other way around? Bendor and Hammond conclude that, in their opinion, “it would have been advisable to pay closer theoretical attention to a smaller number of variables. […] In general, a model that includes everything explains nothing. If it does not simplify, it cannot explain” (Bendor and Hammond 1992: 318). The 1999 version has done nothing to simplify the now called Governmental Politics Model. In fact, the further expansion of the model leads to a problem similar to that of the OBM in Chapter 5. The direction of causality is again in question. The original model mainly focuses on bureaucratic position determining political stands. But by emphasising political beliefs in the 1999 edition, the opposite causal relation is included now too: Political beliefs determining a players bureaucratic position, through players selection. Concluding, the GPM fails to chose between position and belief, or between bureaucracy and politics for that matter. It allows the analyst to pick and chose from a whole bag of possible explanatory variables, just so it suits an explanation. While it has been accepted in this thesis that Allison and Zelikow’s models rely on inference patterns strongly, the use of this model specifically threatens to lead to a non-falsifiable analysis – allowing some variables to explain one choice or preference, while using another variable to explain another one.
Adapting the GPM for BMD analysis
In response to the problem of double causal relations included in the GPM paradigm, this Chapter will split the analysis into two separate sections. The first section analyses players and their political stands with regard to BMD as explained by their bureaucratic positions. The analysis will find that there is a remarkable convergence in political stands, a convergence so big that it undermines the hypothesis that stands are explained primarily by bureaucratic positions. This leads to the conclusion that there is reason to analyse if the
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence opposite causal relation between stands and positions may result in a better explanation. The second section will look at exactly that, and will argue that the overwhelming majority of players have profiled themselves over the past one or more decades as belonging to an ideological movement: The neoconservatives. The first analysis is close to the original 1971 paradigm developed by Allison. The second analysis does not take us outside the GPM paradigm as proposed in the 1999 edition, but it does curtail the GPM to a limited outlook more than would likely be welcomed by Allison and Zelikow, since in that second analysis, bureaucratic position is no longer the explaining variable. Political stands will be linked to political beliefs preceding the 2001 elections. The hypothesis for the second analysis is that many of the players gained their bureaucratic positions because of their political stands.
GPM analysis 1: Bureaucratic positions
In the story of the decision in favour of BMD, the relevant governmental players are understood to be first and foremost the members of the Bush 2001 cabinet. Besides the President, the cabinet includes the Vice President, the Attorney General and the Secretaries of the 15 executive departments (White House, on-line). Because of the specific nature of the issue, the political stands of only those Secretaries that because of their position had a say in the decision on BMD will be looked at: the Secretaries of Defence, of Homeland Security and of State. The issue of BMD belonging to the jurisdiction of the DoD, top officials from the DoD in 2001 are assumed to have been in a relevant bureaucratic position as well, most notably the Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries of Defence for Intelligence, for international Security, for Policy; the Chairman of the crucial Policy Advisory Board Commission and the Chairman of the Defence Science Board. Outside the DoD, one could argue that the National Security Advisor and her Deputy might play a significant role, due to expanded notion of National Security in US foreign policy, as well as the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control.
Table IV: Players and their bureaucratic positions in 2001 Players Positions in 2001 George W. Bush Dick Cheney Donald Rumsfeld President Vice-President Secretary of Defence
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Colin Powell Tom Ridge Condoleezza Rice Paul Wolfowitz Stephen Cambone Douglas Feith Jack Dyer-Crouch Peter W. Rodman Richard Perle William Schneider John R. Bolton Secretary of State Secretary of Homeland Security National Security Advisor Deputy Secretary of Defence Undersecretary of Defence for Intelligence Undersecretary of Defence on Policy Assistant Secretary of Defence for international Security Policy Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs Chairman DoD Policy Advisory Board Commission Chairman DoD Defence Science Board Undersecretary of State for Arms Control Assembled from various sources13
Players and their stands
Most of the individuals listed in Table IV are on record supporting BMD in 2001. Moreover, most had been openly calling for BMD for years before being assigned to their positions in 2001. Rumsfeld and Cheney had been involved in attempts by earlier administrations to build BMD, both serving under Nixon and Reagan. Cheney, in his function as Secretary of Defence serving under George W.H. Bush in 1992 enthusiastically advocated BMD at a NATO meeting stating that: we badly need to get on with the business of developing defences against ballistic missiles. Ballistic missile defence, […] is one of our most important and urgent military requirements as an alliance (DoD 1992). The statement was remarkable at the time, just after the final end of the Cold War in a period when most people were expecting the two superpowers to be willing to negotiate nuclear disarmament. Cheney, Dyer-Crouch, Feith, Perle and Schneider in the mid 1990s all served on the Center for Policy Studies’ Policy National Security Advisory Council. The centre, according to Hartung and Ciarrocca(2000) became in the 1990s the nerve centre of the missile defence lobby, bringing contractors, sympathetic members of Congress, retired military officials and representatives of conservative think-tanks together to strategise about how best to promote
Sources include White House and DoD websites and Wikipedia.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence missile defence to the public and on Capitol Hill (Ciarrocca and Hartung 2000: 6). Donald Rumsfeld made several financial contributions to the Center for Security Policy (CSP) in the 1990s, and was awarded the CSP Keeper of the Flame Award, for his important advocacy work in support of BMD in 1998, the same year in which he lead the aforementioned Rumsfeld Commission which brought about a dramatic change in political climate re BMD. Paul Wolfowitz won the Award in 2003. The CSP was founded in 1993 by staunch BMD supporter Frank Gaffney, who was during the Reagan administration almost appointed Deputy Secretary of Defence, but his assignation got blocked by the Democratic led Senate. The CSP produced numerous reports and briefings between 1993 and 2001 attacking the Clinton administration for what it called “the Clinton effort to garrotte what remains of U.S. options to defend against missile attack” (CSP 1994: 5). According to a World Policy Institute study, no less than 22 former advisory board members or close associates of the CSP, were appointed to key policymaking posts in the Bush administration (Ciarrocca and Hartung 2000: 8). Rumsfeld was throughout the 1990s arguably the most visible proponent of BMD in the list because of his role in the 1998 Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States – or Rumsfeld Commission –as discussed in Chapters 4 and 5. Around the time the Rumsfeld Commission was undertaking its investigations, the CSP ran an aggressive ad campaign promoting BMD by instigating the fear of a ‘rogue state’ destroying a US city. The Rumsfeld Commission relied heavily on CSP Board members, - from the list above - Schneider, Wolfowitz and Cambone, but also CSP Board Members William Graham; Charles Horner and Malcolm Wallop and CSP National Security Advisory Council member and acting member of the Congress Kurt Weldon (Rep), already mentioned in Chapter 5 because of his triumphant remarks about ‘making necessary political corrections’. Many of the same names, but more, appear as founders of the neoconservative think-tank The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), or as co-signers of the PNAC’s 1998 and 2000 documents calling for an increase in defence spending and more specifically for a boost to the budget of BMD. The PNAC’s stated goal is “to promote American global leadership”.14 From the list of players, directly affiliated to the PNAC are Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Rodman, Perle, Schneider and Wolfowitz. All signed the public statement connected to the publication of the document Rebuilding America’s Defences (PNAC 2000). The document in its introduction formulates about half a dozen prime objectives for US defence policy. One is to increase defence spending annually up to 3.8%
From the webpage About PNAC: http://www.newamericancentury.org/aboutpnac.htm (July 8, 2007).
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence of GDP, which was done by the Bush administration in its first Fiscal Year, 2002 (George 2007: 69). Another prime objective was to “develop and deploy global missile defences to defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide a secure basis for US power projection around the world” (PNAC 2000: v). Out of fourteen, ten in the list of relevant players were thus actively involved in the CSP, The Rumsfeld Commission or the PNAC and as such openly advocated BMD. Four in the list are not linked to any of these organisations: Bush, Rice, Powell and Ridge. George W. Bush, during the election campaign spoke out frequently in favour of BMD, and even criticised his opponent, Al Gore, for “politicising the debate” on BMD after statements by Gore about BMD potentially causing a renewed arms race (CNN 2000). The political stand of Ridge is less well documented. Prior to his assignment as Secretary of Homeland Security, Ridge was the Governor of Pennsylvania. The website of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission interestingly reports that “in 2000 Ridge was rumoured to be a potential vice presidential running mate with George W. Bush. Ridge’s more moderate views, such as support of the right-to-choose with regard to abortion and opposition to some proposed national missile defence programs, caused conservative Republicans to successfully oppose his selection (PHMC 2007). There are no public statements on record from Ridge about BMD though. Condoleezza Rice never publicly spoke out on BMD prior to becoming National Security Advisor in 2001. Rice worked for Chevron the moment she was asked in 2000 to aide George W. Bush during his election campaign as his foreign policy advisor. In this capacity, she came to lead the advisory grouping dubbed ‘The Vulcans’. The group was largely made up out of advisors who had served under George W. H. Bush, and included Richard Armitage, Robert Blackwill, Stephen Hadley, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Dov Zakheim, Robert Zoellick, and Dick Cheney, most of whom we already encountered as CSP or PNAC affiliates. A second Vulcans group was formed around Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Hadley, Perle and George Schultz, all of them connected to the PNAC or the CSP – except for Rice herself. This second group was formed to deal specifically with the subject of BMD (Mann 2004: 253). The group advised Bush that – if elected – his administration should not limit BMD to land-based systems, but include sea-based systems and perhaps space based lasers and rockets (Hartung 2003). On 9 September 2001, two days before the 9/11 attacks, was one of the rare occasions in which Rice said on NBC that the administration was ready "to get serious about the business of dealing with this emergent threat. Ballistic missiles are ubiquitous now" (Wright 2004: A1). And allegedly, she was supposed to give a speech on 9/11 largely about BMD (Wright 2004: A1).
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Colin Powell, finally, seems to be the odd-one-out really. The political distances between him and most of his cabinet colleagues apparently even led him to call them “these fucking crazies” in a conversation with British Foreign Minister Jack Straw (Blumenthal 2004: 4). In July 2001, Powell seemed to run into a fight with other Bush cabinet members over BMD, when he publicly stated at a press conference in Beijing that: I told [the Chinese] that our plans with respect to missile defence are for a limited missile defence that will be clearly -- when you see it come into being, when you see the kind of systems that our development put in place would not threaten, not intended to threat(en), and I also don't think they would see it actually threatening the strategic deterrents of either Russia or China (US Embassy in China 2001: 5). In response, Brookings Institution’s Michael O’Hanlon, author of the book Defending America: The Case for Limited National Missile Defence (2002) observed in response that: Powell may himself prefer that any future U.S. and allied missile defence be limited, in order to preserve good relations and security cooperation among the great powers while dealing with the rogue-state threat. But all available evidence suggests that he is losing the debate within the administration on the subject (O’Hanlon 2001: 1). Colin Powell’s reluctance is the only indication that there is any validity to the GPM’s claim that where you stand depends on where you sit. Being the Secretary of State, Powell’s role as broker of diplomatic deals with allies and adversaries would predict a political stand less focussed on technological defence capabilities and more focussed on international negotiation and cooperation. Publicly, Powell did speak out no further on the subject of BMD though, and history shows that his apparent reluctance had little effect. This may well be explained by the fact that as the Secretary of State, he was confronted with overwhelming support for BMD among his cabinet colleagues. And he faced similar pressure within his State Department. Both of his Deputy Secretaries, Robert Zoellick and Richard Armitage were PNAC affiliates, as well as two of his Undersecretaries, Paula Dobriansky and John Bolton. Lacking the depth of information available to Allison and Zalikow in their use of the GPM, it is impossible to know how the discussions went within the cabinet and the DoD in 2001. What is clear though, is that of the most relevant individuals, most were in support of BMD, not only in 2001 but long before that. The case of Tom Ridge even seems to show that he was blocked from being the running mate of George W. Bush because of his scepticism about BMD. Powell, admittedly, is at best the exception confirming the rule that to be part of the Bush cabinet meant being in favour of BMD. Taken together, these findings do not at all support the GPM’s logic that where you stand depends on where you
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence sit. The convergence in stands indicates that the GPM’s basic notion that government action is the resultant of a political bargaining game does not apply in this case. It seems that no game needed to be played, or – looking at the case of Ridge – that the game had been played well before he could get to his bureaucratic position. The next section goes deeper into the apparent beliefs of the cabinet members and others, looking at the political and ideological foundations of the CSP, the PNAC and their members, in an attempt to illustrate the findings of this section that not 2001 bureaucratic positions but pre-2001 political beliefs explain the pro-BMD decision of the 2001 Bush administration.
GPM analysis 2: Political beliefs
The previous section linked many of the ‘players’ to the CSP and the PNAC. As the World Policy Institute found, no less than 22 CSP affiliates entered the White House and the Pentagon in 2001. Table V below shows a similarly impressive overlap between the neoconservative think-tank PNAC and the George W. Bush 2001 administration.
Table V: PNAC Members and signatories and their Bush Jr 2001 positions Name Department Title Elliott Abrams Richard Armitage John R. Bolton Richard Cheney Eliot A. Cohen Seth Cropsey Paula Dobriansky Francis Fukuyama Zalmay Khalilzad National Security Council Department of State (2001-2005) Department of State (2001-2006) Bush administration Department of State (2007-)
Representative for Middle Eastern Affairs Deputy Secretary of State U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations(2005-2006) Vice President Counselor of the US Dept of State Director Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Council Member U.S. Ambassador to the UN Chief of Staff for the Vice President Chairman of the Board, Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Secretary of Defense Member Chair of Defence Science Board
International Broadcasting Bureau Department of State President's Council on Bioethics Department of State
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Bush administration (2001-2005) Richard Perle Peter W. Rodman Donald Rumsfeld Randy Scheunemann William Schneider Department of Defense (2001-2003) Department of Defense Department of Defense (2001-2006) U.S. Committee on NATO Department of Defense (2001-)
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Department of Defense (2001-2005) Department of Defense Deputy Secretary of Defense Comptroller
Paul Wolfowitz Dov S. Zakheim
Robert B. Zoellick Department of State Deputy Secretary of State Source: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century] (June 3, 2007)
Several of the names in Table V overlap with the list of CSP members. Elliot, Cheney, Perle, Roche, Rumsfeld, Schneider, Wolfowitz and Woolsey all were affiliated to both organisations, as were a handful others that did not make it to the White House or the Pentagon in 2001. Many are also affiliated to one or more other think-tanks or policy advocacy institutes that are traditionally sympathetic to high expenditure on defence in general and high expenditure on BMD specifically: The Heritage Foundation, The Brookings Institute, Empower America, American Enterprise Institute, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) among others (De Graaff 2006). Together, they form a large galaxy of institutes and individuals that over the past decades grew strong economic and political ties. Economically, the ties often lead towards the private sector, and the military industrial sector specifically. A study by Naná de Graaff (2006) concludes that “The network does display a substantial overlap between the public, the private institutions and the private corporate level” and “[…] there are stong connections to powerful [private sector] players in for example the defence industry” (De Graaff 2006: 51). Donald Rumsfeld for example during the 1990s worked for defence contractors mostly: Carlyle Group, ABB Systems Ltd, Gilead Sciences, General Systems and the technology company FCC. Rumsfeld was also on the Board of ABB, the company that sold light-water reactors to North Korea. Cheney made a fortune as the chairman of the Board of Halliburton, originally an energy sector company that branched out to include military infrastructure, construction and even military training activities (Gitell 2000: 1).15 Some of the PNAC/CSP affiliates even ran into trouble after their assignations to their positions from 2001 onward, Dick Cheney for example. Richard Perle resigned in 2003 from his position as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board after official complaint about conflict of interest due to his affiliation with the Global Crossings Ltc (BBC 2003). On an institutional level, CSP received throughout the 1990s about a quarter of its funding from the top four defence contractors, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and TRW. And corporate officials of these companies were members of its Advisory Board. The close ties between the arms industry and the PNAC/CSP grouping was also expressed in PAC and soft money donations during the 2000 Presidential campaigns and the
See for more information about Halliburton’s defence contracts [http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=275]
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence 2001/2002 Congressional election campaigns. The Big Four missile defence contractors made a total of $7.5 million in PAC and soft money donations, while spending $74 million on lobbying during that same time span. Contractors favoured Bush over Gore by a 5 to 1 margin, and Republican congressional candidates over Democrats by almost 2 to 1 (65% to 35%) over the two cycles. The World Policy Institute reports that “Major Congressional beneficiaries of contractor largesse include Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA), Sen. John Warner (RVA), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)” (Hartung and Ciarrocca 2002: 2).
Politically, the pro-BMD grouping seen in the affiliations with the PNAC and the CSP has become known as the neoconservatives, or neocons.16 Reports and analyses on the sometimes diffuse grouping that is called the neocons all agree on several points. The neocons are influenced by the writings of Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, who since the 1960s have been known as neoconservatives, and who founded the PNAC. The neocons do subscribe to a certain extent to the Hayekian economic philosophy that the state should not interfere with private enterprise, while cutting taxes to allow the market to regulate economic growth unhampered (George 2007: 54-60). Yet, other than Hayekians or Thatcherites for example, neocons would in the words of Kristol: prefer not to have large budget deficits, but it is in the nature of democracy-because it seems to be in the nature of human nature--that political demagogy will frequently result in economic recklessness, so that one sometimes must shoulder budgetary deficits as the cost (temporary, one hopes) of pursuing economic growth. It is a basic assumption of neoconservatism that, as a consequence of the spread of affluence among all classes, a property-owning and tax-paying population will, in time, become less vulnerable to egalitarian illusions and demagogic appeals and more sensible about the fundamentals of economic reckoning (Kristol 2003: 2). The result is a peculiar neocon mix of on the one hand a more Hayekian emphasis on free enterprise, low taxes, deregulation of the market and as little limitations to corporate profit as possible, and on the other hand the Keynesian notion of state interference to boost a stagnating economy through deficit spending – notably defence spending. The link between budget deficit spending and military industry is partly explained by the growing inability of national governments to regulate their markets or support their domestic industries due to the wave of privatisation and deregulation that swept over the globe in
For a discussion on the ins and outs of neoconservatism I refer to extensive literature on its origins and ideology. See for example Ehrman 2005 (origins of - ); Kristol 2003 (sympathetic to - ); George 2007 (critical of - ).
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence the past decades – the age of globalisation. Realising that loss of control over domestic markets could ultimately mean the loss of defence capacity and as such jeopardise national security, all free trade treaties and agreements come with a special exception for security related investments, for example article XXI of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) of the WTO (Docena 2003; Feffer 2002: 1). It led Walter Russell Meade, senior fellow of the non-partisan think-tank Council on Foreign Relations to assess “we’re already on a path of military Keynesianism. We don’t let a budget deficit get in the way of a defence build-up, and that’s likely to be stimulative to the economy” (Farell 2002: 2).17 The high cost of an uncertain BMD is from this perspective not necessarily a problem, since BMD investments can then be regarded as a transfer of public money to the private sector boosting employment and competitiveness of the defence industry on the international market. Added to that, much of the technology developed is what is called ‘dual use technology’, used for military and civilian productions. Technological developments for BMD would benefit the civilian technological base of the same industries, a spill-over effect, as is pointed out by the MDA itself on their Technology Transfer page on-line (MDA Transfer, on-line). When it comes to domestic policies, neocons overlap fairly clearly with more traditional conservatisms. They emphasise what Isaiah Berlin (1969) called negative liberty – freedom from state intervention – but mainly when it applies to private economic enterprise. At the same time, neocons more than traditional conservatives believe in a strong state enforcing strong policing and security measures, high emphasis on morals and values and a strong role for (Judeo-Christian) morality in the public sphere. On the apparent friction between minimal state interference in economic life and strong state interference in the personal life, neo-conservatism responds that capitalism, having no values of its own, requires some form of moral background to sustain it, a moral background that is to be found in religion. If a public is infused with religious morality, it will influence consumer demand, meaning that all participants in the economy, if they are to thrive, must acknowledge this morality. Therefore, economics cannot pollute culture, but a corrupt culture can be propagated by the ruthlessly efficient market. Therefore, neoconservatives do not fret over the likes of selfishness and greed--they are moral failures that religion, not socialism or government regulation of the market, will cure (Rovinsky 1997: 4).18
Further discussion on the relation between trade agreements and domestic military expenditures as well as on specific theories about Military Keynesianism falls outside the scope of this thesis, but are mentioned to emphasise a) that the economic philosophies of neoconservatism are often misinterpreted and b) that neoconservatives disagree with more traditional conservatisms and about the use and effect of economic interference in domestic industrial markets. For more on military spending and neocon economics, see for example Treddenick 1985; Andolfatto 2001; Bello 2007: 2142. 18 For analyses on the influence of Christian-Judaic religion, see for example: Mearsheimer and Walt 2006.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence In short, neocons believe in a small state in relation to economic policies, but at the same time prefer a strong state in domestic policies dealing with education, law enforcement and generally reserve for the state an important role in setting the tone in public debates on morality and religion. The idea that cultural values preset economic behaviour is also reflected in the foreign policy ideas of the neo-conservatives. It results in the idea that democracies throughout the world should be defended against non-democratic regimes and that nondemocratic regimes should be approached aggressively if necessary to push for democratisation. This idea reverberates the liberalist notion of the Democratic Peace Thesis. The aggressiveness of the approach further seems to match the previously mentioned offensive realist idea that not just defence, but expansion of influence and power over others is the objective of the state, which would explain better than the Liberalist Peace Thesis why the US is supportive of authoritarian regimes in Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan for example. The neocons – more so than traditional conservatives – believe in a strong state externally. To secure US global dominance, the US needs to be willing to aggressively pursue national security as well as preservation of US political, strategic and economic interests globally. At first glance this is an exemplary offensive realist vision. But as Kristol explains, for neocons: the "national interest" is not a geographical term. […] Large nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns. Barring extraordinary events, the United States will always feel obliged to defend, if possible, a democratic nation under attack from non-democratic forces, external or internal. That is why it was in our national interest to come to the defence of France and Britain in World War II. That is why we feel it necessary to defend Israel today, when its survival is threatened. No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary (Kristol 2003: 2). Furthermore, the recent unilateral behaviour and American-centric vision of US foreign policy seem to be drawn directly from Kristol’s ideology. Kristol summarises that First, patriotism is a natural and healthy sentiment and should be encouraged by both private and public institutions. Precisely because we are a nation of immigrants, this is a powerful American sentiment. Second, world government is a terrible idea since it can lead to world tyranny. International institutions that point to an ultimate world government should be regarded with the deepest suspicion. Third, statesmen should, above all, have the ability to distinguish friends from enemies. This is not as easy as it sounds, as the history of the Cold War revealed (Kristol 2003: 2). Kristols quotes make clear at least that neoconservatives are not entirely Realist, and cannot convincingly be said to be Liberal, but either way the quotes equally make clear that neocons feel they live in a dangerous world, where a superpower cannot rely on
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence international treaties, nor on ‘complicated geopolitical calculations’, which makes the hope for a functioning BMD more understandable. In general, neoconservatives emphasise strong defence, with the concept of defence appreciated in the most encompassing way – including a pro-active and preemptive approach in foreign affairs. Titles of publications like the PNAC’s Rebuilding America’s Defences and of neocon institutions with names like ‘Defend America’ reflect the sentiment of neocons during the Clinton era that the US is losing the race against seen and unseen enemies and that only a steep increase of defence spending and an altogether more proactive or even pre-emptive posture in international affairs can redeem US dominance in the international system of states. BMD is an integral part of the neocon ideology in many ways. It strengthens the ties with important private sector players; it fits the emphasis on threats (for internal use); it provides the government with a means of supporting the stagnating national economy in 2001; and finally, a functioning BMD would – almost as a bonus - both protect the US from unseen dangers and secure its ability to intervene militarily in economically and geopolitically important regions. As shown, the influence of neo-conservatism on the Bush 2001 administration is extraordinary. Perle, Abrams, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Schneider, Zakheim, Zoellick and many others are normally regarded neocons. Rumsfeld is usually counted as belonging to a more traditional ‘real-politik’ conservatism, but his involvement with the CSP and the PNAC seems to lead to a different conclusion. Similarly, Cheney is often not listed as a key neocon figure, despite his longstanding involvement with the CSP and despite co-founding the PNAC. Either way, Cheney clearly was in favour of BMD previous to his assignment as Vice President in 2001, as were his ideological peers connected to the PNAC who followed him into the White House (and Rumsfeld into the Pentagon). Knowing this, and knowing that the large majority of key individuals in the 2001 Bush administration are at least to a certain degree connected to neoconservatism, we return to the question whether it may have been political conviction that brought them together – if it was their political stand that delivered them their bureaucratic positions. It seems, at the end of this thesis the strongest explanation of the pro-BMD decision.
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Conclusions and Implications
The GPM, assuming that bureaucratic position determines to a certain extent the political stand of players, puts emphasis on a number of concepts connected to political bargaining. As the section on players and their stands shows, there is little reason to believe that in the case of the BMD decision there was a political bargaining game to be played at all. Where the original GPM talks about player selection as a method for politicians to set the stage for the game, in the case of BMD the selection of players was done at the moment of entering the White House, or really even before that. The agency problem in that sense also does not really occur, since most players seem to have been selected for their positive attitudes towards neoconservative objectives, one of which is BMD. Agenda setting and decision rules become less important in that light. The problem of groupthink did occur in the Bush administration, if the Congressional Committee investigating the Iraq War is to be believed, but there is no direct evidence of groupthink in the case of BMD. As with the OBM in the previous Chapter, the GPM has – at least in the case of BMD – a problem with the causality assumed in the paradigm. In this case, it is not the position of the individuals that determined in any way their stand on the issue. Rather, it was their stand that brought them together as a group and – after winning the elections - brought them their positions. “Where you sit determines where you stand” in the case of BMD seems to be more like “Where you sit depends on where you stand”. Or: It seems plausible that powerful politicians like Cheney and Rumsfeld managed to select many of the people fulfilling important positions in the Bush cabinet and in the DoD on grounds of their positive approach to BMD (and other neocon priorities). Colin Powell is the only obvious ‘odd one out’ in a group of people that is entirely in agreement prior to 2001 already on the preference of BMD development and deployment. The assumed conflict of interest that is key to understanding the GPM did not occur. This may be explained by the fact that – unlike the Cuban Missile Crisis – the BMD decision was not in any way a crisis management decision, but much more a policy decision. Nevertheless, Allison and Zelikow do make the claim in their work that occurrences like the BMD decision can be studied and explained by the GPM. On the supporting empirical research question formulated for this Chapter: “To what extent can the BMD decision be explained as the outcome of a political bargaining process”, the undesirable answer would be that it cannot. However, from the analysis results an alternative conclusion, namely that: To a certain extent the BMD decision can be explained as the result of a political/ideological grouping and its successful throw at the Presidency in 2001.
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The last pages of this thesis will bring together the conclusions of Chapters 4, 5 and 6 and discuss the overall outcomes of the analyses done. Both the empirical and the theoretical research questions, formulated in chapter 2, will be answered. The chapter ends with some suggestions for future research.
7.1 Empirical findings
The thesis sought to answer the empirical research question: “What explains the decision by the US government to develop and deploy BMD?”, and proceeded to try and answer the question using three parallel models for analysis. For each of the three analyses, a supporting research question was formulated: A: B: C: To what extent can the decision be explained as a rational response by the state to emerging threats? To what extent can the decision be explained as output of domestic governmental organisations following predictable patterns? To what extent can the decision be explained as the result of domestic political bargaining between individual players? With regard to the first supporting research question, the answer found was somewhat ambiguous. On the one hand, the analysis laid bare the logic of the decision: The US perception after 1998 was that proliferation of nuclear and long-range ballistic missile technologies would pose a growing threat to the security of the US. Next to that, the US reasoned that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a new world order saw the coming about of potential adversaries that were not so much rivals for the position of world leader, but potential threats nevertheless – if not threats to the national security of the US, then to the ability of the US to operate militarily abroad. BMD would in one sweep do away with the potential threat of a limited nuclear strike by an unaccountable adversary and secure access to ‘distant theatres’. On the other hand, when looking deeper into the consequences of a pro-BMD decision, the conclusion is that BMD predictably sets off a renewed arms race with China and Russia. Also, the BMD decision will further aggravate the sense of immediate danger for potential adversaries, like North Korea, Iran and in 2001 still Iraq. The Security
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence Dilemma, Chapter 4 argues, predicts that adversaries are left with no other option but to dig in deep and try to create alternative means of deterrence, possibly by seeking alliances, or by creating a minimum of conventional deterrence by threatening to target US allies and troops. Rational choice theory assumes that the US is aware of these effects, which raises the question why the US did not seek alternative strategies with less negative effects. On this question the analysis found no convincing answer, thus concluding that the rational actor model used could not convincingly explain the US administration’s pro-BMD choice. The second supporting empirical research question - “To what extent can the decision be explained as output of domestic governmental organisations following predictable patterns?” - found in Chapter 5 a much stronger answer: “It cannot”. The relevant outputs of the CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Missile Defence Agency (MDA) were analysed. For all three organisations, it could not be established that their outputs had significantly influenced the policy making process with regard to BMD in 2001. Moreover, the analysis showed that the relationship between output and decision was the other way around. The political decision enabling BMD, legislatively taken already in 1999, influenced the outputs of the organisations, not the other way around. In the case of the CIA this was most clear, in the sense that the CIA’s threat assessments throughout the 90s did not call for BMD, which enraged the Republican led Congress in the mid-90s. The Congress then bypassed the CIA and asked Donald Rumsfeld to reassess the missile threats. His conclusions criticised the CIA’s findings, altered the political climate in favour of BMD, and in effect changed the method of assessment of the CIA. This change was not so much a methodological correction as it was a political correction, as Republican Curt Weldon adequately assessed. In the case of the MDA (then still BMDO), the 1999 Missile Defence Act caused it to experience a budgetary feast. Again: The output of the BMDO/MDA neither explains the Act, nor the later 2001 policy decision by the Bush administration. In fact, the Act explains the output of the MDA. The JCS’s case is more complex. It did call for BMD, in 2000, but in the sequence of events, this may have been in response to the 1998 Rumsfeld Report and the 1999 Missile Defence Act, more than it may have been the result of an autonomous organisational process. Next to that, reports on the troubled relationship between the JCS and the Secretary of Defence, Rumsfeld from 2001 onward, shed doubt on the ability of the JCS to influence the policy decision on BMD in 2001. All in all, the outcomes show that the causal relation assumed in the research question is the wrong way around. The organisational outputs cannot explain the pro-BMD decision; the pro BMD decision explains the organisational outputs.
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence The third supporting research question: “To what extent can the decision be explained as the result of domestic political bargaining between individual players?” already half way through the analysis resulted in a negative answer, because the available data show there was no political bargaining game to play in the case of BMD. Players stands show a remarkable convergence, seemingly because the players were preselected on grounds of their political stands with regard to (among other things) BMD. The example of Tom Ridge, who’s candidacy for the vice-presidency was blocked because of his critical stand with regard to BMD exemplifies that – by the time the players were on their bureaucratic positions, the battle for BMD had already been fought, and won. The same chapter looked beyond the political bargaining games too, assessing to what extent the BMD decision can be explained as a consequence of the rise of a political/ideological grouping to power: the neoconservatives. The chapter concluded that there is evidence that BMD can, in terms of domestic political processes, be ascribed indeed to what neocon godfather Kristol (2003) cheekily calls “the neoconservative persuasion”. The combined results of the supporting research questions bring us back to the original main research question: “What explains the decision by the US government to develop and deploy BMD?”. First and foremost, the findings indicate that the choice for BMD cannot be fully explained by rational choice based analysis. Rational choice explains very well what were the Bush administrations arguments in favour of BMD, but in the end cannot explain why this argumentation prevailed over other lines of argumentation leading to altogether different policies. Bureaucratic organisational output, this thesis found, contributes very little to the answering of the central research question, although a negative answer is of course a valid finding too: Organisational output does not explain the US governments decision in favour of BMD. The third model leads to the conclusion that political stands do explain the pro-BMD decision of the Bush administration in 2001. Furthermore the analysis of political stands showed that in the case of BMD these political stands are not dependent on bureaucratic position of the players, but rather dependent on their ideological-political background. The rise to power of the neoconservative grouping explains the decision proBMD. From a realist perspective, it could still be argued that the outside threats and the position of the US in the system of states explain the rise of an ideological grouping like the neocons. Following that line of reasoning, the political opportunity for a neoconservative approach to foreign affairs and defence arose because of the objective need for a stronger, more aggressive posture in defence and offence. But this line of reasoning fails to explain why the Clinton administration – confronted with the same objective realities – did not pursue BMD. Neither the strategic situation nor the interests of
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence the US changed overnight in 2001, but the ideological background of the majority of pivotal individuals in the cabinet and the DoD did. Neoconservatives believe they live in a world where the US needs to make sure that it can at any time and in any place dominate in international affairs, because whatever use there is for bilateral and multilateral security arrangements, at the end of the day a superpower can only be truly secure if it can a) defend itself at all times and against anything and b) strike against any actor that tries to undermine its dominant position. One of the consequences of this world view is that neoconservatives believe in high military expenditure, high reliance on nuclear deterrence, and subsequent high expenditure on the technologically challenging BMD.
7.2 Theoretical findings
This thesis used the three model framework offered by Allison and Zelikow (1999) as a means of doing a multi-level analysis of a single event, the decision to develop and deploy BMD. The theoretical findings of this thesis are that, of the three models presented, two did not perform as was anticipated at the beginning. The Rational Actor Model, or RAM could quite aptly be amended and used to study the relationship between outside threats perceived by the US and policy making in the White House. Allison and Zelikow manage to integrate several approaches in IR that are based on rational choice into one paradigm. The paradigm was quite clear in its set-up but also in setting the boundaries for what can and what cannot be used as evidence in the resulting analysis. The Organisational Behavioural Model (OBM) failed altogether. Not because the empirical findings produced a negative answer to the research question for that model, but because the model –as was predicted by critics – can only apply to very specific circumstances, and furthermore can only be used if extremely detailed information on organisational behaviour and functioning is available. It is of course not the fault of Allison and Zelikow that in the case of BMD this level of information cannot be acquired, but at the same time it is important to notice that this lack of information occurred despite the fact that BMD is not a particularly obscure policy area. If you cannot use the OBM to adequately study a phenomenon like BMD about which so much is written, then what use is there for such a model? In the case of the BMD decision studied, the model predicted a causal relation between organisational output and decision making by government leaders that turned out to be entirely opposite to the causal relation existing in reality. The Governmental Politics Model (GPM) has its own flaws – severe flaws. Especially in the revised 1999 edition, Allison and Zelikow fail to make explicit what exactly the
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence model analyses – or what it allows as evidence in the analysis. “Where you stand depends on where you sit” seems at first to be a strict guide for the analysis, but the model allows other relations too, up to the point where it includes the opposite assumption that “Where you sit depends on where you stand”. In the case of this thesis, the GPM turned out to both pose the biggest conceptual problem, and offer the biggest conceptual opportunity. Zooming in on the hypothesis that bureaucratic positions determine political stands, the findings contradicted the hypothesis. Positions of players could not at all explain their political stands – better yet, the assumption that decisions are the consequence of political bargaining games turned out to be non-applicable in the case of the BMD decision, since there were no games to be played. But the leeway offered by the inclusiveness of the model did allow for an altogether different analysis, one that looked at the ideological background of the players as a grouping. The findings of that section show a convincing overlap between the affiliates of neoconservative think-tanks and the Bush administration on an individual level. I maintain that this analysis fits within the Governmental Politics Model of Allison and Zelikow, but at the same time it needs to be said that an alternative model specifically construed to study the influence of ideological groupings on policy outcomes would have allowed for a more concise analysis of the causal relation. To conclude, I answer the theoretical research questions posed at the beginning of this thesis one by one:
Theoretical RQ: To what extent does Allison and Zelikow’s framework provide added value in the analysis of the BMD decision? Added value of the framework offered by Allison and Zelikow is found in the fact that the thesis shows that indeed additional explanatory value is derived from using more than one analytical model. As argued by Allison and Zelikow, using three models did highlight the parallel processes that determine a foreign policy decision. The three model analysis increased understanding of the sequence of events, of the intricacies of the precise decision, and exemplified how both external and internal arguments and processes may have added to the decision. At the same time, it needs to be concluded that while the RAM provided a good opportunity to do a more or less neo-realist analysis, the other two models are not well enough developed and have internal flaws that complicate the analysis. By combining the three models into one framework, Allison and Zelikow hoped to produce a means of generating better understanding of government actions and decisions than can be acquired by only using rational choice based analyses. Their Essence of Decision shows that they are right in their claim that rational choice alone can often not explain a decision
The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence satisfactorily. But this thesis shows that the two additional models they created cannot be transposed easily to analyses of other decisions than the ones they studied. And as such, my judgement on their framework is close to that of Bendor and Hammond (1992) and of Welch (1992), who also conclude that to work with a framework consisting of different models studying the same decision is a valid and promising idea, but that the models presented in the Allison and Zelikow framework are in need of a thorough revision. This is in itself an important finding of this thesis.
Does their framework sufficiently integrate different theories conceptually into a logical explanatory framework? It does not. To offer models that ‘open the black box of government’ is a useful contribution of Allison and Zelikow, but the two resulting models are so weakly construed that taken together, the logic of the entire framework is lost. Bendor and Hammond (1992) are right once more, when they discuss the 12-cell template of models (Table III, in chapter 2). Allison and Zelikow fail to define precisely what assumptions are in place in which model, and as a result the three models do not constructively complement each other. Rather the RAM operates unrelated to the other two. And the OBM and GPM overlap at points.
Does their distinction into different analytical models reflect the reality of decision making in this case? To a certain extent it does. Despite the problems encountered in this thesis with the second and third model, the original claim made by Allison that more than one model is needed to explain a governments actions or decisions still stands. The thesis shows that the RAM analysis cannot satisfactorily explain the behaviour of the Bush administration, and that the reality of decision making does require the analyst to look at the domestic political and bureaucratic processes leading to the decision. The claim that the black box of government needs to be opened to understand the Bush administration’s decision in favour of BMD is found valid. At the same time, the findings of the OBM especially, do show that more discussion is needed on what models can best explain domestic political and bureaucratic behaviour. A recommendation resulting from this thesis is that a new model specifically designed to study the influence of ideology and beliefs on politics and policy making would be most valuable.
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7.3 Future research
In Chapter 4, two new game theoretical constructs were proposed to explore the consequences of the changed and changing relations between adversaries and a superpower with or without BMD. Considering the huge amount of similar work developed during the Cold War – in order to explain and understand the workings of the nuclear stand-off – it is remarkable how little study is done on post-Cold War stand-offs. It is as if nuclear deterrence theory fell apart together with the Soviet Union. Yet, as Chapter 4 tried to show, new stand-off relations occur in different forms in the case of asymmetric power relations. Studying these new stand-off relations using game theory should generate valuable new insights into the consequences of the current nuclear posture of the US. Next to that, game theory, in my opinion, provides the best tools of unbiased and nonAmerican-centric analysis, of which there is a need now more than ever. This thesis shows that, if the black box of government is opened, you have to be pretty sure to know what it is you want to look at inside. The results of Chapter six indicate that ideology is an important explanatory variable in the study of current US governmental behaviour. It also shows that the models proposed by Allison and Zelikow could not adequately address this influence. Linking BMD to the bigger neocon agenda seems to deliver a powerful explanation of the BMD decision. Future research on BMD and other policy decisions should look deeper into this relation between ideology and US policies. A method of analysing the way an ideological grouping rises to power may be found in the ideas and theories of Antionio Gramsci. The Neo-Gramscian concept of hegemonic culture especially seems to offer a promising method. Gramsci’s ‘long march through the institutions’ (Gramsci 1971: 10) may well provide the best opportunity yet to explain decisions and actions of the George W. Bush administration. Work along this line has been done already, by Susan George (2007: 53-88) and for example in the masters thesis by Naná de Graaff (2006). Future research may build on their work.
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The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
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The Essence Of Ballistic Missile Defence
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