Presidential operational codes and foreign policy conflicts in the post-cold war world

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The authors investigate the linkage between presidential operational codes and the management of foreign policy conflicts during the period of strategic adjustment in American foreign policy following the cold war. Beliefs expressed in public speeches by Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton are coded for self and other attributions that represent different forms of the exercise of political power. Bush's beliefs reveal a less cooperative, relatively inflexible approach to conflict management in the foreign policy domain, whereas Clinton's beliefs indicate a more flexible and cooperative approach. Their orientations interacted with contextual variables and the opponents' behavior to shape the selection of U.S. behavior in four post-cold war conflicts: Panama, Haiti, the Persian Gulf, and Bosnia. A favorable power position and the absence of vital or strategic U.S. interests enhanced the effect of presidential operational codes.

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Journal of Conflict Resolution

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