Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2021

Department 1

Political Science


As “the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations,” Presidents have almost exclusively presided over foreign policy. Modern Presidents, spanning from Eisenhower, Kennedy, Ford, Carter, and Reagan, have readily encountered foreign policy crises, with varying degrees of success. Why do some President fail while others triumph? It comes down to an assortment of factors: organizational structure, multiple advocacy, and groupthink. Organizational structure affects how information is disseminated and decisions are made. Multiple advocacy brings out all important interests during deliberations. Groupthink paralyzes deliberations by causing conformity, cohesion, and replaces critical thinking with irrationality. These frameworks provide a reference for past and future cases of foreign policy crises. Therefore, drawing upon these frameworks, I will investigate the decision-making processes of the aforementioned five Presidents and the corresponding crises and conclude how decisions were made. Finally, I will consider contemporary Presidents–Trump and Biden–to install nuance into the discussion about their encounters with foreign policy crises.


Written for POL 324: Executive Policy Making

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.