Decision-making is the starting point if we wish to understand the dilemmas of acting in the international system. Agency means individ ual human beings taking decisions and implementing them on behalf of entities which possess varying degrees of coherence, organization and power. Any analysis of this activity needs to focus first on the political dimension, then on the associated bureaucracies, which provide so much of the continuity and expertise which make action meaningful, and third on the problem of ration ality - or the capacity to pursue objectives in a logical man ner in the particularly inchoate environment of international relations. Finally, foreign policy actions cannot be understood without an appreciation of the phase of implementation, given that outcomes are so often markedly different from original intentions. This chapter and the three which follow tackle these aspects of agency in sequence, beginning with the most visible level, that of political leadership. At the level of the international system, states or other entities can perfectly well be treated as unified actors.
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- The Actors: Taking Responsibility
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- Chapter 3