Games Advisors Play
Foreign Policy in the Nixon and Carter Administrations
Presidential Studies - Political Science
6.125 x 9.25, 224 pp.
4 tables., 4 figs.
Pub Date: 01/01/1999
Joseph V. Hughes Jr. and Holly O. Hughes Series on the Presidency and Leadership
  cloth
Price:        $34.95 s

978-0-89096-862-8
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Games Advisors Play

Foreign Policy in the Nixon and Carter Administrations

By Jean A. Garrison

What happens when presidential advisors, in Machiavellian terms, think more of themselves than of the prince and seek their own profit more than the goals of the president or the "good of the realm"? In Games Advisors Play, Jean A. Garrison examines case studies of foreign policy in the Nixon and Carter administrations and addresses how and why advisors manipulate the group process, under what conditions advisors engage in power games, and in what situations they are most effective in influencing presidential policy choices.

Given the high stakes, policy advocates employ various tactics to manipulate the advisory process and decision outcome. Three types of tactics are used: structural maneuvers, procedural maneuvers, and interpersonal maneuvers. Although these tools are important to the success of an advisor, the advisory process is a dynamic group process, and advisors must recognize that others have potential influence as well. The effectiveness of advisors therefore also depends on their power and authority, their manipulative skills, their interpersonal communication skills, and the relationships among members of the inner circle.

Using the internal policy debate over arms control to trace the influence advisors have on specific decisions, Garrison compares the power games in Nixon's hierarchical system Number Three: Joseph V. Hughes, Jr., and Holly O. Hughes Series in the Presidency and Leadership Studies to Carter's more open advisory system. The disparate advisory systems provided advisors with different opportunities to influence the president and overall policy making.

As a contribution to the decision-making literature in foreign policy, Games Advisers Play challenges static conceptions of the advisory process. Foreign-policy scholars, presidential scholars, and political psychologists will find this an exciting and thought-provoking study.

Jean A. Garrison is an assistant professor of social science in the College of General Studies at Boston University. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of South Carolina.

What Readers Are Saying:

“ . . . a fascinating exercise in focused comparison, a book that any student of the presidency can profit from reading.” --Fred I. Greenstein, Princeton University

“ . . . a fascinating exercise in focused comparison, a book that any student of the presidency can profit from reading.” --Fred I. Greenstein, Princeton University


“The author achieves ‘convergence’ by tirelessly scouring the archival record left by each administration and through personal interviews or correspondence with key decision makings. It is remarkable that Garrison was able to glean so much. . . The author’s analytical skills are impressive and bring rigor and purpose to the case-studies. . . . I would recommend this book to anyone interested in foreign policy decision making, arms control policy, small-group dynamics and/or the Nixon and Carter administrations. The interdisciplinary approach of the author and the interesting case studies should appeal to political scientists, political psychologists, social psychologists, and management scientists alike.” --International Politics

“...this book should prove of interest to scholars of US foreign policy, presidential politics, bureaucracy and political psychology.” --International Affairs

“This important and informative book helps us understand the complexity of decision-making and the key role of presidential advisors (and the games they play) in the policy making process.” --Library Journal

“Garrison makes good use of archival material, memoirs, interviews and the public record to analyze how key advisers within each administration used the various manipulative tactics she has described.” --The Royal Institute of International Affairs

“..solid, well-presented study of the complicated and often sordid games advisors played in the Nixon and Carter administrations.” --Southern Historian

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