Monday, March 24, 2014

The Difference Between Decision Making Model and Multisectoral Model

I have no real idea if it is true, but I have heard it suggested that:

  • The Russian Government led by President Putin made an opportunistic decision to absorb Crimea into Russia, needing a perceived victory to counterbalance the failure of the government it supported in Ukraine, the related failure of the negotiations to incorporate Ukraine into a customs union led by Russia, and the preference of the ethnic Russian Crimean majority.
  • Very competent Russian special forces were able to move relatively unobserved into Russian military bases in Crimea and from there implement a program to take control of Crimea with the support of existing Russian forces and with the support of local factions.
I think this scenario illustrates, whether or not it is in fact true, illustrates something that may well be true in a larger sense. Governments are complex things. It is quite possible for the military to have very competent units with detailed contingency plans and relevant training and practice, while at the same time central policy makers are acting without much planning and making decisions that may or may not be good or even well thought out. In such situations, a bad decision may be effectively implemented.

This is my scenario for the Iraq war.
  • The Bush administration to invade Iraq was made on the basis of poor intelligence and poor understanding by the decision makers of Iraq and the Iraqis.
  • The U.S. military conducted a brilliant campaign to quickly destroy the Iraqi defenses and conquer the country.
  • State Department contingency planning for post conquest U.S. policy in Iraq was ignored, and fatally bad decisions were made in the early stages of the occupation that led to a long term insurgency.

Whether this scenario is true or not, it illustrates the possibility that a complex government may act very effectively in some aspects of implementing a policy and very ineffectively in other aspects. This is true whether or not the policy is a good one.

No comments: