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Decision Makers' Use of False Analogies Causing Miscalculation and War
Unformatted Document Text:  Horan 17 reaffirm the assertions and interests of the policy maker. 30 These two types of analogies lead to both types of miscalculation. Informational Analogies Decision makers use informational analogies differently when optimistic offensive miscalculation occurs than with pessimistic offensive miscalculation (Figure 7, 46). In optimistic offensive miscalculation, the base analog is a successful past event, in this situation, a war. With this past success and the visible similarities between the base analog and the target analog, similar decisions are made in the present. 31 This hypothesis states that when a decision maker sees similarities between a current situation and a past successful war, there is optimistic offensive miscalculation. The policy maker optimistically infers that applying the policies of the previous war to the present will yield success. In contrast, three problems arise when decision makers use analogies in this way; first, leaders ignore the differences between the situations, second, leaders falsely believe past policies will work in the present, and thirdly, leaders ignore other available analogies. Decision makers use the analogy at the policy formation stage in this case. H 1 : Success Base Analog  Similar policies from previous war  1) Ignore differences, 2) Believe past factors applicable, 3) Ignore other analogies  Optimistic Offensive Miscalculation The following example shows how to this works in practice. 30 Lindley, 8. 31 Jervis, 277-279.

Authors: Horan, Elizabeth.
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Horan 17
reaffirm the assertions and interests of the policy maker.
These two types of analogies lead to
both types of miscalculation.
Informational Analogies
Decision makers use informational analogies differently when optimistic offensive
miscalculation occurs than with pessimistic offensive miscalculation (Figure 7, 46). In
optimistic offensive miscalculation, the base analog is a successful past event, in this situation, a
war. With this past success and the visible similarities between the base analog and the target
analog, similar decisions are made in the present.
This hypothesis states that when a decision
maker sees similarities between a current situation and a past successful war, there is optimistic
offensive miscalculation. The policy maker optimistically infers that applying the policies of the
previous war to the present will yield success. In contrast, three problems arise when decision
makers use analogies in this way; first, leaders ignore the differences between the situations,
second, leaders falsely believe past policies will work in the present, and thirdly, leaders ignore
other available analogies. Decision makers use the analogy at the policy formation stage in this
case.
H
1
: Success Base Analog Similar policies from previous war
1) Ignore differences, 2) Believe past factors applicable, 3) Ignore other analogies
Optimistic Offensive Miscalculation
The following example shows how to this works in practice.
30
Lindley, 8.
31
Jervis, 277-279.


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