The United States and North Africa: A Cognitive Approach to Foreign Policy

Synopsis

This work is a study of U.S. foreign policy from a psychological perspective. Using a novel method called cognitive mapping, it analyzes historical and interview data on U.S. policy toward North Africa through the reconstruction of mental images held by members of the U.S. foreign policy elite. Two case studies--arms sales to Morocco in the context of the Western Sahara war, and liquefied natural gas contracts with Algeria--are used to illustrate the usefulness of this perspective. It offers important conclusions about the role played by images and perception in foreign policy.