The Decision Not to Use Force at Dien Bien Phu: A Poliheuristic Perspective

  • Karl DeRouenJr.
Part of the Advances in Foreign Policy Analysis book series (AFPA)


The foreign policy decision-making literature has largely ignored nonevents. However, the study of nonevents can make decision-making theory richer by broadening its explanatory powers. Nonevent emphasis will provide valuable information for, as Holsti (1992, 453) asserts, “[s]olid evidence about contemporary non-events is, to understate the case, rather hard to come by.” One means of probing nonevents is through the case study. The main merit of the crisis case study is that it allows the researcher a more detailed look at cognitive processes and background factors. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of detailed case studies, particularly since they can be used as foundations for formal models (Singer and Hudson 1992, 256). Finally, the case study pays greater attention to detail and complexity than either the statistical or the experimental approaches (Tetlock 1989, 358).


Foreign Policy American Political Science Review Political Dimension Domestic Politics Cybernetic Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Alex Mintz 2003

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  • Karl DeRouenJr.

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