CSSInternational Relations-II

Q.5 How do rational theories of foreign policy explain state decision making? Discuss the tenets of the theory in light of the decision made by Pakistan in response to Saudi request of sending troops during Yemen crisis in 2015. 2018

Rational theories of foreign policy are a set of theories that focus on the decision-making processes of states and assume that states act rationally in pursuit of their interests. According to rational theories, states assess the costs and benefits of different policy options and choose the option that maximizes their interests. The following are some of the tenets of rational theories of foreign policy:

  1. States act rationally: Rational theories assume that states act rationally in pursuit of their interests. This means that states weigh the costs and benefits of different policy options and choose the option that is most likely to advance their interests.
  2. Interests are defined narrowly: Rational theories assume that states define their interests narrowly, focusing primarily on economic and security interests.
  3. Information is imperfect: Rational theories assume that states have imperfect information about other states and their capabilities. This means that states may not have a complete understanding of the costs and benefits of different policy options.
  4. Decision-making is centralized: Rational theories assume that decision-making in foreign policy is centralized, with a small group of policymakers making decisions based on their assessment of the costs and benefits of different options.

In light of the decision made by Pakistan in response to Saudi Arabia’s request for troops during the Yemen crisis in 2015, rational theories would suggest that Pakistan’s decision was based on a rational assessment of its interests. Pakistan’s decision not to send troops can be explained by several factors:

  1. Narrow definition of interests: Pakistan has historically focused on its economic and security interests, and may have determined that sending troops to Yemen would not be in its best interests.
  2. Imperfect information: Pakistan may not have had complete information about the situation in Yemen, and may have been unsure about the costs and benefits of sending troops.
  3. Centralized decision-making: Pakistan’s decision-making process is centralized, with a small group of policymakers making decisions based on their assessment of the costs and benefits of different options.
  4. Balancing multiple interests: Pakistan has close ties with Saudi Arabia, but also has close ties with Iran, which was supporting the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Pakistan may have been trying to balance its relationship with Saudi Arabia and its desire to maintain good relations with Iran.

In conclusion, rational theories of foreign policy would suggest that Pakistan’s decision not to send troops to Yemen in response to Saudi Arabia’s request was based on a rational assessment of its interests, including a narrow definition of interests, imperfect information, centralized decision-making, and balancing multiple interests.

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