Political Decision Making Essay

1611 words - 6 pages

Although Malcolm Gladwell's Blink does not explicitly lead the reader to take his observations and findings in a political context, the content of the book deals entirely with decision-making, a process that could not be more relevant to politics, whether on an individual voter level or the presidential level. The fact that people often make choices that do not align with their pre-supposed inclinations throws into doubt much of what political scientists believe about how and why certain decisions are made, decisions which, in a political environment, have extremely far-reaching implications.
One concept I find interesting, especially in a political context, is habituation. The idea that humans feel more comfortable in familiar settings, whether those settings be physical, emotional, spiritual or intellectual, is not a new one. However, the idea that humans stick to the so-called "beaten path", whether it is beneficial or costly, is worth looking into when considering that this seemingly illogical resistance to change should theoretically manifest itself within any properly functioning democracy. To put this in a political context, the attitude of Pakistanis towards their military comes immediately to mind.
Given the fact that Pakistan is situated between a failed state and a rising economic superpower that has twice attempted to invade Pakistan in the last 30 years, as well as the pathetic state of the country's judicial and executive branches, it would seem understandable that the ordinary Pakistani would view her military as the only functioning branch of government that can provide safety in such unstable conditions. However, as any educated and informed Pakistani will tell you, the military has committed innumerable human rights violations and has effectively operated as a shadow government to achieve national security objectives it deems to be in the best interests of the people.
Despite this, Pakistanis have traditionally refused to blame the military for the country's stunted progress, instead adopting the military's own narrative that India is to blame for every failing of the Pakistani state. If not India, then America, and so on. Since the recent killing of Osama bin Laden and all the implications brought with it for the Pakistani military, the institution's credibility among Pakistanis is as shaky as it has ever been in its history. Despite all this, there remains reluctance in Pakistan to lay the entire blame on the military. That is to say, Pakistanis would rather fleetingly admit that their military was caught out, but concentrate on conspiracy theories such as the idea that bin Laden was never really there and that the entire operation was set up to discredit Pakistan and give the US an excuse to increase unilateral military actions within Pakistan's borders.
To some degree, I feel this draws a parallel with the idea that people habitually hold on to certain prevalent beliefs or points of view, within which they feel...

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