Term paper on The Policymaking Process

There are different views on the policymaking process in public administration and politics in modern literature. There are “broad” and “narrow” approaches to the process. A decision coincides with the management of a specific kind of human activity as a part of the “broad” interpretation of the solution, in general. According to the “narrow” view, the decision is either one of the functions and components of politics, or just one phase of the management process.

The very policymaking process has long been interested in international political science. However, according to Anderson (1997), until the late 1960s, a vast majority of researches in this area were based on the model of rational choice, or on the organizational model. In the first model, the decision was seen as the result of well thought and reasoned choice, implemented by a unitary entity that pursues strategic goals based on a clear understanding of national interests. In the second model, the decision appears as a result of the functioning of governmental organizations operating in accordance with certain routine procedures on the basis of existing programs.

Policymaking process at the international level in the sphere of foreign policy and international relations at least, and perhaps is much more difficult problem than the decision-making in other areas, because policymaking process influences on the lives of millions of people. In such a way, its complexity is also determined by a number of key circumstances.

Firstly, it is the presence of many or several active subjects of international relations of different types, whose interests are facing the same socio-political space. Secondly, it is the existence of different vectors of dominant interests and diplomatic activity of subjects of international politics, pursuing their own geopolitical goals and other measures. Thirdly, it is the historical tradition and commitment, obligations and geographical location in which the dynamics of the foreign policy of each entity develops. Fourthly, it is the credibility of the objective indicators actors in world politics, based on their financial, economic and military power. In addition, it is always necessary to remember that Any foreign policy decision is based not only on the content of the international problems, but also taking into account the many attendant circumstances, which has only indirect relevance to the problem at hand and not having to do with it at the first glance. However, any politician, being involved in policymaking process, is guided by considerations that experts in international affairs are not taken into account usually.

According to Anderson (1997), these considerations also apply various aspects of domestic policy, the factor of public opinion, especially the political situation or the pre-election situation, and others. For instance, exactly the internal factors played a very significant role in the outbreak of war in Iraq along with foreign policy and military motives of the Americans. As a result, many foreign policy decisions that are rightly criticized by experts as non-optimal solutions in terms of specific international problems, seem quite reasonable for politicians for similar reasons, when considering them in the broader political context. Hence, it is important to see the difference between the actual process of political decision-making, which is an integral part of a broader political process, and its expert support, which is specific and displays only one side of the political process. Politicians can ask experts questions, the answers to which are important to them for decision. But the process of asking questions does not mean that the response of the expert will be crucial for the final choice, which the politician would be able to make in the own practice.

Thus, any decision is, above all, a choice. Moreover, firstly it is the choice between action and inaction, and then between two or more options for action. Of course, policymaking process in the international arena is not easy process with the active invasion of emotions and all sorts of contingencies. The development of policymaking process in the sphere of foreign or public policy is a mental process, implying a preliminary sense of purpose and mode of action. Preparation for the decision requires a certain cost, sometimes very significant, to collect and process appropriate information. Hence, people who are responsible of taking foreign or public policy decisions, have a special kind of responsibility. They have high requirements in terms of training and staff selection. In this context, a constant creative work and theoretical understanding of the policymaking process should be always made by politicians. Sometimes decisions are made ”‹”‹with a deficit of information, but this deficit of information can be compensated by the experience of managers, training staff, a strong institutional memory, imagination, based on deep knowledge of the subject, while the experts should ensure that politicians are well informed in general questions. The analyst, figuratively speaking, is designed to stand behind the politician, having in hand a book of facts, opened on the desired page, and attract the attention of executives to those of them that go unnoticed.

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