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date: 18 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the effect of group dynamics on the 2016 decision within the administration of President Barack Obama to lead the international coalition in a mission to liberate Raqqa, Syria, from the Islamic State. The authors show that whereas the groupthink syndrome characterized the decision-making process of the US-led coalition’s decision to attack Raqqa, it was polythink that characterized the decision-making dynamics both in the US-led coalition and within the inner circle of Obama’s own foreign policy advisors. Through case-study analysis, the authors illustrate that groupthink is more likely in strategic decisions, whereas polythink is more likely in tactical decisions.

Keywords: groupthink, polythink, group decision-making, foreign policy, Raqqa, Syria, ISIS

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