Political Psychology Essay, Research Paper
1) In Psychological Perspectives on Politics, Carol Barner-Barry and Robert Rosenwein discuss the processes of negotiation and bargaining. Often times, these two can be dealt with as almost the same thing. They both incorporate the same basic principles and are used to achieve a goal. Cases of negotiation and bargaining have some basic characteristics, such as the fact that they both sides are engaged in a decision making over some area of conflict. They are also trying to resolve this conflict through offers and counteroffers. Finally, this process is affected by the interactions between the participants. The authors outline a multi-step, or phase, process through which bargaining and negotiation take place (Barner-Barry & Rosenwein, 1985).
The first phase in bargaining and negotiation is referred to in the book as before the curtain rises. This has to do with why the participants have agreed to meet. It may concern land ownership rights, race relations, or, as is the focus of this writing, coming up with a Federal Budget. Negotiations usually begin when there is at least some from of common ground, something both sides may agree on. Sometimes, it may be as simple as the acknowledgement that a budget is necessary. In the terms of the Federal Budget, both the Democrats and Republicans realized there was a need for a Federal Budget to avoid a potential shutdown of the government. Groups enter into this process due to their preferred outcomes, what they want to come from the meetings (Barner-Barry & Rosenwein, 1985). The Democrats aim for continued funding for social programs and few cuts. Republicans are generally in favor of tax cuts and increased military funding. Once the sides agree to meet, a site must be chosen.
Choosing a site may seem like an easy task, though it can be very difficult. In many negotiations, safety and security are important. If one side feels threatened in a situation, they may be less likely to engage in or cooperate with negotiations. There are also psychological ramifications to the decision as to where to hold the meetings. Some places, such as the White House, hold a sort of home-field advantage. These sites were designed to give the host an advantage. The opposition is meant to be in awe and at a disadvantage meeting here. In order to have successful negotiations, neutrality is necessary. In budget discussions, hearings are held in a hearing room in Capitol Hill. There are also conference rooms where discussions between the Senators take place. These sites are supposed to bring the neutrality necessary to achieve an outcome both sides can agree to (Barner-Barry & Rosenwein, 1985). The next phase is defining the agenda.
Setting the agenda is important because the agenda affects the way the whole negotiations will take place. The agenda will affect everything, even the eventual outcome (Barner-Barry & Rosenwein, 1985). The Senators involved in the budget had to account for the wishes of their individual districts when setting the agenda. Some have threatened to walk out on the discussions if their desires are not met. Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin has threatened to block any votes if diary product pricing legislation is not addressed. He sees this legislation as damaging to his state (Bash, 1999). Next, both sides present their solutions to the conflict.
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The fourth phase, presenting each side’s solutions, is important because it provides a way for each side to see exactly where they differ (Barner-Barry & Rosenwein, 1985). In the budget talks, both the Republicans and Democrats have their own ideas as to how much money should be allocated to each project. On October 26, Republicans told CNN that they were still trying to persuade members that their proposed 1.4 percent budget cuts were appropriate and should be passed. These cuts faced opposition from both the Democrats and from within the Republican Party. Many Senate Republicans wanted the percent of the cuts reduced to 1 percent. Democrats challenged the assertion that these cuts would prevent the government from having to spend Social Security money on federal projects. Even the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton, came out against the tax cuts, saying the ramifications would be disastrous. Republicans had agreed to not include the congressional pay raises in the tax cut bill if the Democrats did not politicize the raises. The Democrats did politicize the raises, taking the Republicans to task for making cuts only to give themselves a pay raise (Franken, 1999). The Democrats, especially President Clinton, presented bills of their own. In one, which was eventually agreed to, 100,000 teachers will be hired and certified. This bill had been the top priority of the White House. Once this bill was agreed to, it cleared the path for more negotiations on other bills to take place (White House, 1999). So, as the negotiations continue on, counteroffers are made. These offers are debated and traded through out the process. Concessions are often made, as well as promises and threats. For example, Senator Robert Byrd has threatened to block the voting on the budget if language is not included to overturn a federal judge s verdict. Sen. Byrd wants to remove the restrictions on coal mining in his state. If the other senators will agree to include this to the bill, he will vote for it (Bash, 1999). Negotiators choose a strategy that best represents what kind of person they are and will accomplish the goals they set out to accomplish. Finally, the negotiators begin to work together.
Towards the end of the negotiations, both sides begin to concede some aspects of their stances. How this situation is dealt with sometimes is directly related to how much time they have to finalize an agreement or other outside factors. Both realize that they are on the verge of an agreement and are willing to give in on some of their lower-priority issues. In this years budget negotiations, one major item that needed funding was the approximately one billion dollars the United States owed in dues to the United Nations. The Republicans had blocked the money from being paid to the UN for fear that it would be used by international family planning organizations, some which may perform abortions. President Clinton and the Republicans came to an agreement that states the tax money will not be used for family planning organizations. However, it does allow Clinton to sign a wavier to allow this money to be spent by these organizations, which he plans to do (Clinton waives, 1999). Here, both sides made concessions to each other to get this important legislation passed. The Republicans will be able to tell their constituents that they were able to slow that money from reaching the organizations and Clinton is the one who allowed it, President Clinton has more of the budget passed, and the UN is starting to receive money for our back dues. Finally, there is usually some sort of formal signing ceremony.
Once all the negotiations are over and the final deal has been agreed to, there may be a formal ceremony to mark the signing. During the signing ceremony, the president usually makes a speech about the bill and may hand out mementos of the signing, such as the pens used to sign the bill, to guests. After each of the 13 budget bills was passed, they were sent on to President Clinton to sign, as is the procedure. On November 29, the president signed the 2000 budget bill in a Rose Garden Ceremony. He made a few remarks about the bill and his hope that it would build a stronger America in the 21st century (Clinton signs, 1999). This process signals the end of the negotiation and bargaining process.
2) Barner-Barry and Rosenwein define political conflict as the pursuing of goals that the (political) parties perceive to be incompatible. Either the goals are incompatible or both sides perceive that their goals are incompatible. They give three types of conflict relationships, fully structured, partially structured, and unstructured conflict relationships (Barner-Barry & Rosenwein, 1985).
In a fully structured conflict relationship, social norms and laws prescribe how both parties will behave. The options and available moves to each side are rights or obligations. In a partially structured conflict relationship, agreements and rules limit the behavior of both sides. The parties have much room in which to maneuver themselves in order to reach their desired outcome. An unstructured conflict relationship is characterized by the lack of restraints on the parties. Only a parties resources restrains them in this type of relationship (Barner-Barry & Rosenwein, 1985).
Parties involved in a conflict often times use force or the threat of force as a means to coerce the other side into agreeing to the threatening side’s demands. There are many theories that try to understand what would cause a person to resort to threats to get their way. One theory, the biological theory, discusses the impact a person s biological makeup has to do with their use of violence. Some believe those with an extra Y chromosome are more inclined to violence. Others may believe in the social-psychological theories that what a person learns from their surroundings they are exposed to most often may lead to how a person reacts in certain situations. There is also a belief that one s acts of political violence may be the result of their psychological make-up. Perhaps these people are more inclined to commit an act of violence because of their attitudes towards things, like perhaps a certain machismo within a male (Barner-Barry & Rosenwein, 1985). Oliver Woshinsky uses the Cold War as a point to show how coercion may prevent a war. Both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. had great amounts of nuclear capabilities, though they were each afraid of the power the other showed they possessed (Woshinsky, 1995). Both sides showed newsreels of the great power they had, though it may not have been quite as powerful as it was projected to be.
The war between Russia and Chechnya is a good example of an unstructured conflict. These two nations have been at war since Chechnya tried to split from Russia in the mid-1990s. There had been a cease-fire in place, though earlier this year Russia resumed its attacks on the former state. In 1996, Boris Yeltsin and the leaders of the rebel group signed a peace accord that ended up lasting only until Yeltsin had been re-elected president. This entire year has been marked with violence against Chechnya. The bombings have become more frequent. Thousands have lost their lives in the fighting, many women and children (Chechnya, 1996). The bombings and air raids have been stopped for at least a few weeks. Lately, the Russians have been dropping leaflets on the capital of Grozny in an effort to convince civilians to leave the area. Only around 70 have chosen to leave the area. Many who did left for the sake of their children. Those who stayed are reported to be the elderly and the infirmed. The Russians have accused the rebels of keeping the civilians to use as human shields (Few flee, 1999).
There seem to be no norms or rules governing this war. The usual assumption that women and children will not, if avoidable, be harmed seems to have fallen by the wayside. The highest numbers of casualties have come from these two groups. The rebels have mainly made use of their knowledge of guerilla warfare to continue the war, striking quickly, then retreating into the mountains. Though Russian troops now occupy most of the populated areas, the rebels are still able to roam the mountains and surrounding areas.
This war has been condemned most of the world. The U.S. seems to be in an unusual position. The government has come out against Russia s continued attacks against the rebels. However, the rebels, who are mostly Muslim, are reportedly supported, financially and otherwise, by Osama Bin-Laden, the man believed to be responsible for the bombings of two U.S. embassies. How this will play out remains to be seen.
3) Cultural homogeneity is how alike the people of a society are in relation to each other. Understanding this is vital to gain a deeper knowledge as to why different countries have higher conflict levels than others do. However, a citizenry’s belief systems also play an essential role in analyzing the level of conflict. As Woshinsky point out, the willingness of a people to act on their beliefs affects the political process. A polyarchy is a system in which, as is stated by Dahl in Woshinsky, many participants are allowed to contend publicly for political power (Woshinsky, 1995).
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Every region has its own beliefs in who should lead and how they should do so. These four nations, Switzerland, Croatia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the Congo, from here on), and Cuba each represent a different area of the world. In some instances, they will be complete opposites. In others, they are so similar one might easily mistake one nation for another.
The Swiss have a long history of self-reliance. They recognize the date of August 1, 1291 as their Independence Day. On January 8, 1291, the Swiss Confederation was established. The Swiss military consists of every male capable of fighting, usually between the ages of 18 and 49, making their potential army one of the largest in the world While officially neutral, Switzerland has, in the past, loaned its military out for other nations to use. The most notable occasion was the French Revolution, when the Swiss Guard worked as protectors to the throne (CIA Factbook, 1996). Dahl may classify Switzerland as a polyarchy. There are several political parties through out the country. The leadership of Switzerland is a rotating head, which allows for different people to rule through out the term. There is a high level of participation here, with all memberships and referendums being voted on by the public.
Croatia is a relatively new free state. On May 30, 1990, Croatia declared itself a separate state and celebrates that day as Statehood Day. A constitution was signed on December 22, 1990, and on June 25, 1991, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Croatia has a population of around 4,676,865 people who are mixture of different cultures. The main ethnic group is Croat, though there are also Serbs, Muslims, Hungarians, and Slovenians living within the borders. There is one main language within these borders and it is Serbo-Croatian. In some areas, Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German are also spoken. The major religion in Croatia is Roman Catholic. The military consists of Armed, Naval, Air and Air Defense Forces as well as a Frontier Guard and Home Guard. These forces were relied upon heavily to protect the Croats during the violent civil war. The military is an important part of the political culture. Without its support, the government may not have much strength in enforcing its laws or asserting its authority (CIA Factbook, 1996). Croatia is trying to become a polyarchy. It has begun to open itself to more parties, though there is still one major ruling party. As the nation begins to embrace its freedom, there may also be greater political involvement.
The Congo has been the one of the most violent regions of Africa since its independence. On June 30, 1960, the Congo declared its independence from Belgium. By June 24, 1967, the Congo had a constitution written and signed. There are over 200 ethnic groups within the Congo, mostly Bantu tribes. The Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and Mangbetu-Azande tribes make up 45% of the nation. This heterogeneity often times is the main sticking point in political and social discussions. All to often, these divisions among tribes are the cause of conflict. The official language, French, dates back to the Belgium colonizers. In addition, areas of the nation speak Kingwana, Kikongo, and Tshiluba. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, though there are sections of Protestant, Kimbanguist, and Muslim religions, as well as many other sects and traditional beliefs. With a literacy rate of 77%, the citizens of the Congo would be able to understand information to form an educated opinion in electoral matters (CIA Factbook, 1996). No matter what President Kabila says, there is no sense of polyarchy in the Congo. One party controls everything. Maybe once he restores the elections, as he has promised to, a polyarchy may emerge.
Cuba has been of great national interest to the United States for many years. Located only 90 miles south of Florida, Cuba gained its independence first from Spain in 1898, then from the U.S. in 1902. There is a simple majority of Mulatto citizens, as well as populations of white, black, and Chinese residents. This heterogeneity allows for a slight mix of representation. The major religion in Cuba is Roman Catholic. However, after Fidel Castro seized power, he outlawed Catholicism and declared the country officially atheist. A change to the Constitution in 1991 officially declared Cuba to be secular, allowing religious people to join the Cuban Communist Party. This recognition of the religion is important to Cuba. In Central America, the church is part of a very powerful oligarchy, along with the military and landowners. Being able to worship again re-emphasizes the connection to the church. Recently, Cuba welcomed the Pope into the nation and allowed him to hold four broadcast masses. Cuba is also home to many Protestants as well as those who practice Santeria. The only major language is Spanish, making communication of the laws easier (CIA Factbook, 1996). Cuba has long been ruled by Fidel Castro as a Communist state. Due to his complete control over every aspect of voting, he is re-elected each year. In Cuba, as in many Central American countries, there is more importance placed on the oligarchy than on the polyarchy.
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4) In the democracy of the United States, voting is an integral part of the democratic process. For some, voting is a way to support their views and the candidates they share them with. Others see it as simply their patriotic duty, something they know they should do, though not for any reason other than it is their duty to do so. Voting has, apparently, been linked to one’s socialization by their parents. If a child was exposed to regular voting as a child, they are more likely to vote than if someone has told them it is the right thing to do (Barner-Barry & Rosenwein, 1985). Woshinsky points to numerous different possible social factors that would determine how someone votes. Early learned norms, like Barner-Barry and Rosenwein’s exposure to voting, often play a key part in developing a pattern. Demographic variables, such as class, religion, region, age, and gender may also affect how a person votes (Woshinsky, 1995). The 1996 Presidential election can be used to show how these affect the outcome of elections.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton defeated challenger former Senator Bob Dole by a convincing margin. A CNN Exit poll broke down how different groups voted and why they may have done so. President Clinton opened the gender gap more than has been ever recorded by an exit poll, gaining the votes of 17% more women than Dole, 54%-37%. When the economic situation of each respondent was analyzed, 67% of those who said they were “better off” now than they were four years ago voted for Clinton, as compared to only 25% voting for Dole. Comparatively, those who said they were worse off than they were four years ago voted by a 2 to 1 margin for Dole. This is understandable. It has been said that Americans vote their pocketbook. When the economy is good and people are happy, they do not like to disrupt things by electing a new president (Clinton benefits, 1996).
Clinton may have faced some problems when his character was called into question. A majority of voters said that they did not feel the Clinton was honest and trustworthy. This belief is often times a key in how someone votes, as it is related to how that person was brought up. However, Clinton was saved by the fact that another majority felt the candidate’s stances on the issues were more important than their character (Clinton benefits, 1996).
For many people, the economy is a big factor in how they vote. Of those who said the economy was a major issue, 58 percent of Floridians chose Clinton as compared to 27 percent voting for Dole. Voters did support Dole on a few issues. Seventy six percent of the voters surveyed supported Dole’s 15 percent tax cut, as compared to only 16 percent favoring Clinton’s plan. People also thought of Dole as the person to reduce the federal deficit by a 53 to 29 percent margin (Clinton Benefits, 1996). The belief systems of those who favored a tax cut lead them to prefer Dole’s plan, though in reality, not the same percentage of people voted for Dole. This would suggest that the other factors mentioned earlier, race, class, and religion, have a great impact on who someone supports.
5) Decision-making and justice often times go hand in hand. In times of civil and/or political unrest, the decisions made be those in charge often deal with the limiting of rights and enforcement of justice as the leaders see it. If that means the use of tanks on civilian protestors, so be it. Other nations have beaten protestors and some nations tear-gas their demonstrators. There is even one nation that has both tear-gassed and killed protestors. That nation: the United States of America. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, riots over the Vietnam War were prevalent across the U.S. This particular extreme use of force took place in Kent, Ohio. An anti-war protest turned violent and the National Guard was called in. By the end of the day, the soldiers had killed four students and tear-gassed hundreds more. There are several forms of justice. Procedural justice is based on the way the legal decision was made. Distributive justice deals with the substance of the justice. Procedural justice is easier to establish than distributive, since how justice was handed down is dealt with in procedural justice. Microjustice is the fairness by which public resources are distributed to people within the political system. Macrojustice deals with the aggregate fairness by which the resources are distributed. The big difference between the two is macrojustice ignores the attributes of the recipients and specifies a priority for certain funds to be distributed. Equity based justice works only as long as there is an agreement on what counts as an investment and the relationships between investments to outcomes (Barner-Barry & Rosenwein, 1985).
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The annual World Trade Organization s meeting was held in Seattle, Washington as a chance to showcase the city. Unfortunately, what the world got was a look at how the U.S. has taken to handling protests. Protestors say that the city had plenty of notice that there were going to be hundreds of protestors at the rally, protesting the presumed unfair trade practices of the WTO. The peaceful protestors had been joined by a few dozen anarchists, who have been accused by the protestors as being the ones who committed most of the vandalism and looting through out the downtown (Hearing, 1999). By November 30, the mayor of Seattle had imposed a curfew and had called in the National Guard to help maintain order. The police force had spent much of the previous days using pepper spray to keep the protestors back and away from the delegates (Seattle Mayor, 1999). The mayor had decided on using a distributive form of justice, authorizing the police department to use force to keep the protestors at bay and calling in the National Guard. He thought that these steps would allow the meetings to continue in peace, though they did not. By the end of the conference, over 500 people had been arrested by the Seattle police. The police chief hastened his resignation, taking full responsibility for how things were handled during the riots (Seattle police, 1999).
The Bay of Pigs Invasion shows how one government may try to force its ideas on another nation through the use of force. On April 15, 1961, U.S. bombers disguised as Cuban aircraft took off and attacked airstrips, though they only caused minimal damage. The next day, 1500 guerillas trained by the CIA landed at the Bay of Pigs, south of Havana. President Kennedy, facing condemnation for the bombings, cut off air support to the fighters. The Cuban air force was able to destroy ships carrying ammunition and other necessities to the guerillas. Within 72 hours, all 1500 of the rebels were either captured or dead (Cuba, 1998). President Kennedy had only been president a matter of months before he cleared the invasion to take place. He had been briefed by out-going President Eisenhower and his staff on the plan. The CIA had devised the plan based on a number of perceptions. Those perceptions turned out to be false. The threat of the spread of Communism was so real that Kennedy had authorized the use of force to prevent the spread. He felt personally responsible for what happened (Interviews 1998). Kennedy had chosen to use a distributive justice stance in allowing the attacks to go on. He saw the microjustice system in Cuba and was afraid that it would spill into the United States.