Simulation in International Relations: Developments for Research and Teaching

By Harold Guetzkow; Chadwick F. Alger et al. | Go to book overview

inter-connections of earlier insights . . . seems to have been considerably fostered by the game . . . ( 1956, p. 36).

The inter-nation simulation, used in conjunction with substantive training in foreign policy, could provide quasi-practical experiences in the exercise of policy judgment. By making explicit that which is often implicit, the simulation would encourage the use of more sophisticated decision-making procedures. Because the simulation could be arranged to provide a constant bombardment of decision-events, practice in decision-making under continuous pressure might be obtained from its use by policy officers preparing for heavy interaction situations. Perhaps the inter-nation simulation can be developed as an adjunct to the case materials being used in the career development programs for foreign service officers in our Foreign Service Institute.Undergraduate senior students were involved along with graduate students in the three initial exploratory runs reported herein. Seniors with an international relations course background seemed to profit from the experience more than those without. They felt they were actually making use of their knowledge, as they came face-to- face with the quasi-realities of foreign policy decisions. This opportunity to behave as responsible decision-makers increased their enthusiasms for further understanding of the nature of international politics. They felt they were plumbing the depth and extent of their knowledge. One of the students reported, "The simulation really brought me down to earth. I finally faced the complexities of international relations. All nations wanted their own ways and it's hard to accomplish what you want." The simulation might be integrated as a series of laboratory exercises in international relations. As Alger suggests for an international organization course, the simulation might be designed to demonstrate progressive stages of international structure, going from bilateral relations to international conferences, to intermittent councils, to continuous-session international bodies with and without secretariats ( Alger).The graduate students found their experiences in the simulation rewarding in many of the same ways as the undergraduates. But in addition, they were most intrigued with its potential as a research tool for building explicit theory.
V. References
Alger C. F., personal communication.
Benson O., "A Simple Diplomatic Game," in J. N. Rosenau (ed.) International Politics and Foreign Policy. New York: Free Press of Glencoe, Inc., 1961, pp. 504-511.

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