The Umbra Institute is excited to announce the release of two new books by visiting Professor Alex R. Hybel, Professor of Government and International Relations at Connecticut College.
In collaboration with selected Connecticut College students enrolled in his US Foreign Policy Decision-Making class, Hybel set out to apply multiple foreign policy decision-making theories to a series of presidential case studies. The result is an exploration of experiential and intellectual factors, and two volumes, US Foreign Policy Decision-Making from Truman to Kennedy and US Foreign Policy Decision-Making from Kennedy to Obama, published by Palgrave Macmillian.
Hybel starts both works with an introduction to the complexity and interwoven nature of foreign policy decision-making. “Foreign policy decision-making analysts have long argued that the interests of the United States, whether strategic, political, or economic, do not automatically impose themselves as objective data upon foreign policy decision-makers who […] use their rational faculties to design foreign policy” (2014, p.1). Decision-makers disagree on how problems should be defined, how gathered information should be interpreted, and what alternatives should be evaluated, and, ultimately, selected for implementation.
This discussion sets the stage for the multiple objectives that Hybel, along with his Connecticut College collaborators attempt to fulfill: describe foreign policy-decision making processes generated and utilized by various presidents; gauge the explanatory value and theoretical applicability of leading foreign policy decision-making models; incorporate discussed models in relation to the president’s cognitive system and dominate mindsets of the times; and assess the quality of the designed foreign policy decision-making processes. Ultimately, with these works, Hybel aims to “introduce […] readers to core foreign policies that have placed the United States at the forefront of world affairs” (p.2).
The Umbra Institute will be hosting a presentation by Professor Hybel on these manuscripts on Monday, March 24th at 7pm in the Umbra Library (Piazza IV Novembre, 23). An open discussion with the author will follow the presentation.