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Inhaltsangabe: Michael Oppenheimer's Pivotal Countries, Alternate Futures is both a synthesis of our knowledge on scenario planning and a practical guide for policymakers. One of America's leading scenario planners, Oppenheimer has advised the Department of State, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President's Science Advisor, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Brookings Institution. In this book, he develops a sophisticated and coherent method for foreign policy specialists who necessarily deal with rapidly changing situations involving high levels of uncertainty. As he explains, figuring out possible outcomes and designing and appropriate policy requires an ability to identify the drivers of change, the potential wild card events, and the central policy questions in any given situation. Once policymakers determine these, they must plan a scenario. To do that, planners need to know how to build the best team of experts possible, run a session, and create credible narratives for different scenario alternatives. To illustrate how it all works, Oppenheimer draws from a range of real-life planning scenarios, including China, Syria, and the Iran nuclear crisis. To be sure, new crises will arise that supplant these current ones, but his basic method will aid policymakers in almost every future situation. While nothing ever goes completely to plan-least of all international conflict-preparing with multiple scenarios in mind will always be the least worst approach to global and regional crises. Methodologically rigorous and comprehensive, Pivotal Countries, Alternate Futures will be essential reading for policymakers and policy students trying to determine the best path forward in any given crisis.
Foreign policy strategy requires planning for multiple scenarios, imagining alternative futures, and facing up to risk. It also involves a constant, honest, rigorous assessment of whether existing policies are working - including how to adapt if they're not. Michael Oppenheimer shows how to conduct precisely these kind of assessments in his extremely useful new book, based on years of practical experience. The result is a work that should prove worthwhile to policymakers and analysts - indeed anyone interested in improving the quality of American foreign policy." -Colin Dueck, Associate Professor, George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs.
<"Michael Oppenheimer has written a comprehensive user guide to scenario-based analysis. But Pivotal Countries, Alternate Futures is also much more than that: a thoughtful plea for the systematic application of methods that would help our policymakers lay bare their underlying assumptions, improve their recognition of unfolding trends, and, ultimately, better prepare the United States for even the most unpredictable of world events.>" -Daniel S. Markey, Senior Research Professor in International Relations and Academic Director of the Global Policy Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
<"The only thing certain about the future is that it will surprise us. This seminal work, by one of the pioneers in the field of scenario analysis, offers a creative but disciplined way of thinking about the future. It provides illuminating perspectives on Russia, China, and other pivotal countries, along with a practical guide for developing and applying scenarios to policy-making in a complex world.>" -Robert Hutchings, Dean, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, the University of Texas at Austin
To be secure in a rapidly changing world, America needs a better balance between assertiveness and restraint in its global policies. That balance can best be discovered by constructing careful scenarios of future alternatives. Here is an invaluable guide for using scenarios to test for strategic coherence and tactical agility." -James Hoge, former editor, Foreign Affairs
<"In his latest work, Michael Oppenheimer addresses the crucial weaknesses of American policy-making with a call for 'strategic coherence and tactical agility'. Pivotal Countries, Alternate Futures is a necessary how-to for practitioners operating at the front lines of business and politics.>" -Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group and author of Superpower
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