IDC Herzliya held a symposium on “Decision Making in the Trump Administration”

JAN 8,2017

Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy and the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at IDC Herzliya held a symposium on the subject of: “Decision Making in the Trump Administration”. The symposium was held in honor of Prof. Alex Mintz’s new book (Stanford University): The Polythink Syndrome: U.S. Foreign Policy Decisions on 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and ISIS.

Prof. Uriel Reichman, President and Founder of IDC Herzliya, commented on Prof. Alex Mintz’s new book: “Prof. Mintz has extraordinary academic achievements and is a leading figure at IDC. Prof. Mintz is head of the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) and former dean at Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at IDC. These two bodies were promoted by Prof. Mintz outstandingly. In addition, he is the chairman of the Israel Political Science Association (ISPSA), and heads the Joint Israeli Initiative alongside the President of Israel. In recent days, when ideological and value based divisions seem rampant in Israeli society, it is of great importance to try and put the country back on its track. There is no one in Israel, in the field of International Relations, who has had such appreciation and recognition as Prof. Mintz.

Prof. Mintz’s Book deals with the fascinating subject of administrative decision making. In essence, Prof. Mintz draws a line between two poles. One pole represents an extreme form of decision making by a homogenous group, and the other pole represents decision making by a polarized group. In any of these extreme cases, one will find negative results. The homogenous group will lean towards stereotypical thinking; will not look for alternatives; there will be an overestimation of the group and its morality; warnings and dangers will be taken lightly if at all; there wouldn’t be much flexibility in the direction the group is taking and sometimes facts might be overlooked. The polarized group, however, will find it hard to make decisions, and would lean towards short term planning. This group will have disagreements, fights, mutual denunciations, incoherent and irregular policy messages to the public”.
Later on, Prof. Reichman addressed the legacy of Mrs. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the guest of honor at the symposium, by saying: “Mrs. Townsend expresses in her life story and her activity the spirit and values of the US, which are greatly valued by all of us. Mrs. Townsend is a scholar, author, professor, statesperson and a political leader who served as the first woman lieutenant governor of the state of Maryland.

Mrs. Townsend serves today as a managing director of a leading, highly respected and global investment and advisory firm. She was and has been chairing several non-profit organizations, and is carrying on her family tradition of standing for the moral values of America; Values of human dignity, freedom and justice for all, and of international commitment to humanism; confronting, even at the cost of waging war, against the tyrannies of the world.”

Mrs. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, author and political activist, spoke at the conference saying: “My father, Robert Kennedy, had a special relation with Israel, his love and respect for Israel was born with the birth of the state. He came here in 1948 as a reporter because he wanted to be where the stakes were the highest and the goals the noblest. Robert Kennedy said about Israel, as he put it: “A truly great modern example of a birth of a nation in dignity and self-respect. He saw people’s determination not only to survive; but to repair a world which they knew, perhaps more intimately than anyone else, was horribly broken.

My father’s visit in 1948 cemented his support for Israel. He was instrumental in building the foundations of friendship during President Kennedy’s administration. As he championed peace he was realistic in the need to build the IDF. As a senator and a candidate for President he spoke for the first major US arms sales to Israel, and do to that stance he lost his life.

At the height of the cold war he saw the value of having a stable friendly democracy in the Middle East. And even with the fall of communism and after all these years it is disappointing that Israel remains one of the only democracies in the Middle East. But it wasn’t just geopolitics that drew my father to Israel. in another article he wrote that he become more and more conscious of the great heritage that we as US citizens adhere to, and that we have a duty to persevere and preserve; and he saw that Israel shares those same values.

As for me, each time I come here I’m struck by the democracy and dedication for individual achievements and exploration that helped make Israel the startup nation”.

Later on, a panel on subject of “The Trump Administration: a glance from Jerusalem, Moscow and Tehran” was conducted, hosting Mr. Amos Harel, Haaretz; Dr. Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky, lecturer and researcher, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, IDC Herzliya; Mr. Meir Javedanfar, lecturer and researcher, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, IDC Herzliya; and moderated by Prof. Alex Mintz, Head of The Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS), IDC Herzliya; Chairman of the Israel Political Science Association (ISPSA).